Hillary Clinton attacked Barack Obama on trade and national security in a last-minute burst of campaigning ahead of crucial primaries in delegate-rich Ohio and Texas. Clinton trails Obama in the delegate count, and faces calls from Democrats to drop out of the race for the party’s presidential nomination if she doesn’t gain ground in the Tuesday voting. Obama’s campaign said Clinton was “throwing the kitchen sink” at him in a last-ditch effort to revive her campaign after losses in 11 straight states. Clinton said she was “just getting warmed up.” (The New York Times, free registration)
What the commentators said
It’s time for Clinton to bow out gracefully, said Jonathan Chait in the Los Angeles Times (free registration), no matter how well she does in Ohio and Texas. At best, she’ll erode Obama’s lead by a couple dozen delegates. “But her best chances to gain ground will all be behind her,” so she’ll go into the convention trailing in the delegate count by triple digits, and the party’s elite superdelegates “won’t dare overturn that.”
“This is a remarkable endgame,” said E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post (free registration), and it’s certainly not the one Clinton anticipated. Obama’s surge took her—and just about everyone—by surprise as he built “an alliance between African Americans and upscale reform voters,” and changed the party math by luring hundreds of thousands of under-30 voters into the process. She’s only now managing to “move to offense,” which makes “you wonder what would have happened if she had adjusted earlier.”
Democrats should be thrilled to have Clinton around, said David Sparks in The Boston Globe (free registration). Conservatives "revel" in her "fracas" with Obama, but the Democrats' “exciting" contest—pitting a candidate who would be the first African American nominee against one who would be the first woman—has pumped tremendous energy into the party's voters and donors. “It may take the Republicans years to recover from what the Democrats have reaped from their nominating process in 2008.”
With so many reporters predicting Clinton’s demise, said Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris in Politico, there’s “good reason to believe” she’s headed for a “game-changing comeback in Ohio and Texas.” Also, her timing has suddenly improved -- she muzzled her husband just in time, and her campaign’s constant “hectoring” about the media’s “soft Obama coverage” is finally working.