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Clinton aides and donors concede that March 4th is make-or-break for Hillary.


Ramen
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Looks like Obama sweeps the three states tomorrow and also the primaries the following week. He has pulled within a statistical dead heat with Clinton in the national polls:

http://www.pollster.com/08-US-Dem-Pres-Primary.php

And two more weeks of positive coverage resulting from his primary wins might finally put him ahead. Meantime, Clinton aides acknowledge that if she doesn't win Ohio and Texas with comfortable leads then she's out of the race:

February 12, 2008

For Clinton, Bid Hinges on Texas and Ohio

By PATRICK HEALY

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and her advisers increasingly believe that, after a series of losses, she has been boxed into a must-win position in the Ohio and Texas primaries on March 4, and she has begun reassuring anxious donors and superdelegates that the nomination is not slipping away from her, aides said on Monday.

Mrs. Clinton held a buck-up-the-troops conference call on Monday with donors, superdelegates and other supporters; several said afterward that she had sounded tired and a little down, but determined about Ohio and Texas.

They also said that they had not been especially soothed, and that they believed she might be on a losing streak that could jeopardize her competitiveness in those states.

She has to win both Ohio and Texas comfortably, or she s out, said one superdelegate who has endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment. The campaign is starting to come to terms with that. Campaign advisers, also speaking privately in order to speak plainly, confirmed this view.

Several Clinton superdelegates, whose votes could help decide the nomination, said Monday that they were wavering in the face of Mr. Obama s momentum after victories in Washington State, Nebraska, Louisiana and Maine last weekend.

Some said that they, like the hundreds of uncommitted superdelegates still at stake, might ultimately go with the flow, in the words of one, and support the candidate who appears to show the most strength in the primaries to come.

The Clinton team moved on Monday to shift the spotlight off the candidate s short-term challenges and focus instead on the long run, in the words of her senior strategist, Mark Penn.

She has consistently shown an electoral resiliency in difficult situations that have made her a winner, Mr. Penn said. Senator Obama has in fact never had a serious Republican challenger.

Clinton advisers have said that superdelegates should support the candidate who they believe would be the best nominee and the best president, while Obama advisers have argued that superdelegates should reflect the will of the voters and also take into account who they believe would be the best nominee. Superdelegates are Democratic party leaders and elected officials, and their votes could decide the nomination if neither candidate wins enough delegates to clinch a victory after the nominating contests end.

With primaries on Tuesday in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, Clinton advisers were pessimistic about her chances, though some held out hope for a surprise performance in Virginia.

And as polls show Mr. Obama gaining strength in Wisconsin and his native state, Hawaii, which vote next Tuesday, advisers, donors and superdelegates said they were resigned to a possible Obama sweep of the rest of February s contests.

Some donors also expressed concern about a widening money imbalance between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton: Obama fund-raisers say he is taking in roughly $1 million a day, while Clinton fund-raisers say she is taking in about half of that, mostly online. Mrs. Clinton s aides say that the campaign was virtually broke as of the Feb. 5 primaries, but that finances have stabilized.

Mr. Obama s financial edge allowed him to begin running television advertisements in Ohio and Texas on Monday, while the Clinton campaign plans to begin advertising on Tuesday. Clinton advisers say that she will have advertisements running statewide in both Ohio and Texas, and that she will have advertisements in English and Spanish in Texas.

I think that clearly things have not been going as great as they were with her victories on Super Tuesday, and we can t wait to get to March 4, said Alan Patricof, one of Mrs. Clinton s national finance chairmen.

Mrs. Clinton will have a major ad buy through the next week in Wisconsin, a senior adviser said Monday, and spend a few days campaigning there. But this adviser and others said the bulk of her time would be devoted to campaigning in Ohio, Texas and a bit in Rhode Island. In a sign of Texas s importance, she plans to fly there Tuesday, even though Wisconsin votes next week.

While Mrs. Clinton s advisers and allies emphasize that she has the time and the financial resources to regroup, they say she will have to take more significant steps to shore up her candidacy beyond the staff shakeup she engineered on Sunday, when she replaced her campaign manager and longtime aide, Patti Solis Doyle, with another veteran adviser, Maggie Williams.

Campaign advisers said they expected Ms. Williams to bring new energy to both the campaign team and Mrs. Clinton, after a long year of campaigning, and to encourage her to show more spunk and determination on the campaign trail. They say they do not expect the candidate s political message to change appreciably; she will increasingly focus on the concerns of working-class voters, a key demographic in Ohio, as well as of Hispanics, a significant population in Texas.

As she seeks to erect a fire wall for her candidacy in Ohio and Texas, Mrs. Clinton will deploy her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to campaign in both states, particularly in Ohio, where her advisers believe his popularity will help her with working-class voters, labor union members and black voters.

In a conference call with reporters on Monday, Mr. Penn, who is also Mrs. Clinton s pollster, played down some polls that showed strength for Mr. Obama and highlighted Mrs. Clinton s abilities to beat the leading Republican candidate, Senator John McCain of Arizona.

We believe that Hillary Clinton in the long run is better positioned to take on John McCain, Mr. Penn said.

Yet some Clinton donors and superdelegates worry that the focus on Mr. McCain is premature, and that other strategic decisions by the campaign like counting on Michigan and Florida delegates to be seated at the convention even though their status is in limbo show faulty thinking that suggests the Clinton campaign does not have a short-term game plan against Mr. Obama.

They are looking way too much at Florida, Michigan and McCain, because all three won t matter if she doesn t blow Obama away in Texas and Ohio, said a Democrat who is both a Clinton superdelegate and major donor, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment of campaign strategy. Obama has momentum that has to be stopped by March 4.

Clinton advisers took issue with the notion that Mr. Obama s momentum was significant, noting that his victory in the Iowa caucuses did not translate into winning the New Hampshire primary five days later, and his South Carolina victory did not prevent Mrs. Clinton from winning the biggest states on Feb. 5.

There is no evidence that voters are voting based on momentum in fact the evidence is to the contrary, said Howard Wolfson, Mrs. Clinton s communications director.

Hassan Nemazee, another national finance chairman for Mrs. Clinton, said he was also telling his network of allies not to get caught up in the headlines about Obama

I m telling donors and supporters: Don t be overly concerned about what goes on in the remainder of the month of February because these are not states teed up well for us, Mr. Nemazee said.

Asked if that message was sinking in, he pointed to the campaign s announcement that Mrs. Clinton had raised $10 million online so far this month, and was on pace to raise more than $25 million in February.

I predict for you we will have our best single fund-raising month in February, and that s significant, he said.

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Suppo81 (2/12/2008)
She's going to have a hard time with Ohio. She might do okay in Texas because of the heavy Latino population, but if she doesn't stop the momentum, Obama will win Ohio. If he could win Missouri, then he can win Ohio.

I was AMAZED that she was in El Paso tonight while Obama was in Wisconsin. Giuiliani has proven how effective that kind of thinking is. Those guys have got to be you know whatting bricks right now. Not just because of the margin of victory in EACH of the seven contests (eight actually) Obama has won since SDT, but the how he is chipping at her base of latinos, women, and older voters.

He's already ahead in Wisconsin, if he wins by ten points there, how does she stop the momentum? The ironic thing is that his huge landslides will work against him: If he wins Wisconsin by less then 10, then she's "slowed him down" and can claim momentum for Texas and Iowa.

I presume that the dearth of polling is over and we will start to see some regular numbers for Ohio and Texas. They already show Clinton's previously huge leads are eroding. She's still up substantially, but it will be fun to watch them and see what happens.

The other potential down side is that a desperate Clinton is a dangerous Clinton. Sure, going negative bit her in her big ##### last time, but what other choice does she have? This could get ugly.

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I think she's stupid to skip Wisconsin. You know she's one blowout away from having virtually no chance to pass him in delegates. If Obama blows her out next Tuesday like he did tonight, she may need over 60% of the remaining votes to pass him in delegates. Winning Texas, Pa. and Ohio may not be enough. She's very close to going into the convention trailing him in delegates. She's in a huge hole right now and I don't think she can dig out of this one.

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Suppo81 (2/13/2008)
I think she's stupid to skip Wisconsin. You know she's one blowout away from having virtually no chance to pass him in delegates. If Obama blows her out next Tuesday like he did tonight, she may need over 60% of the remaining votes to pass him in delegates. Winning Texas, Pa. and Ohio may not be enough. She's very close to going into the convention trailing him in delegates. She's in a huge hole right now and I don't think she can dig out of this one.

Obama is making a run at the delegate win, but I think the Hillary camp has written off a delegate majority and are thinking long-term about the media coverage. They're swapping two weeks of negative coverage for more time and money into Ohio/Texas, with the payoff being blowouts in those states and her making another comeback. I believe her strategy is to keep the race a dead heat and pick off the superdelegates leading to the convention.

If Hillary wins huge in Texas and Ohio, I think both candidates switch strategies from trying to win delegates to trying to win media coverage. At that point it becomes the equivalent of two boxers who just slugged it out for 12 rounds bouncing and holding their hands in the air trying to convince the judges that they came out better in the fight.

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The Great American (2/13/2008)
Help me understand her strategy. Why is she even in El Paso, TX if she has the latino vote wrapped up? Wouldn't she be better served by campaining in other sections of Texas like Houston or Dallas? Or perhaps moving on to PA or Wis,?

Because Texas has the most delegates, and because she's losing white voters by the truckload lately, and Texas is about 50/50 whites to latinos.

Keep in mind, the primaries don't happen for another 3 weeks. She has plenty of time to cover all that ground.

And don't be surprised if Bill has chest pains, or another crazy guy wearing a boomvest wanders into the Clinton offices sometime in the next 20 days or so. ;)

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octoslash (2/13/2008)
The Great American (2/13/2008)
Help me understand her strategy. Why is she even in El Paso, TX if she has the latino vote wrapped up? Wouldn't she be better served by campaining in other sections of Texas like Houston or Dallas? Or perhaps moving on to PA or Wis,?

Because Texas has the most delegates, and because she's losing white voters by the truckload lately, and Texas is about 50/50 whites to latinos.

Maybe I missed something, but I thought Texas had about 30% hispanics and about 45-50% whites, with 11-12% blacks.

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Ramen (2/13/2008)
Suppo81 (2/13/2008)
I think she's stupid to skip Wisconsin. You know she's one blowout away from having virtually no chance to pass him in delegates. If Obama blows her out next Tuesday like he did tonight, she may need over 60% of the remaining votes to pass him in delegates. Winning Texas, Pa. and Ohio may not be enough. She's very close to going into the convention trailing him in delegates. She's in a huge hole right now and I don't think she can dig out of this one.

Obama is making a run at the delegate win, but I think the Hillary camp has written off a delegate majority and are thinking long-term about the media coverage. They're swapping two weeks of negative coverage for more time and money into Ohio/Texas, with the payoff being blowouts in those states and her making another comeback. I believe her strategy is to keep the race a dead heat and pick off the superdelegates leading to the convention.

If Hillary wins huge in Texas and Ohio, I think both candidates switch strategies from trying to win delegates to trying to win media coverage. At that point it becomes the equivalent of two boxers who just slugged it out for 12 rounds bouncing and holding their hands in the air trying to convince the judges that they came out better in the fight.

Excellent analogy on the boxer thing! Kicker would love it! BUt I think you meant that Hillary is banking on a "hung jury" rather than a "dead heat". She may be behind at the end, but Obama still won't have enough to get the nomination, (so superdelegates will decide).

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Ramen (2/13/2008)
Suppo81 (2/13/2008)
I think she's stupid to skip Wisconsin. You know she's one blowout away from having virtually no chance to pass him in delegates. If Obama blows her out next Tuesday like he did tonight, she may need over 60% of the remaining votes to pass him in delegates. Winning Texas, Pa. and Ohio may not be enough. She's very close to going into the convention trailing him in delegates. She's in a huge hole right now and I don't think she can dig out of this one.

Obama is making a run at the delegate win, but I think the Hillary camp has written off a delegate majority and are thinking long-term about the media coverage. They're swapping two weeks of negative coverage for more time and money into Ohio/Texas, with the payoff being blowouts in those states and her making another comeback. I believe her strategy is to keep the race a dead heat and pick off the superdelegates leading to the convention.

If Hillary wins huge in Texas and Ohio, I think both candidates switch strategies from trying to win delegates to trying to win media coverage. At that point it becomes the equivalent of two boxers who just slugged it out for 12 rounds bouncing and holding their hands in the air trying to convince the judges that they came out better in the fight.

Problem with Texas is he may lose the popular vote, but end with more delegates there because he wins the bigger cities. He'll take her in Dallas, Houston and Austin. There's 40% of the delegates in the state right there.

Right now, she's got so much turmoil going on in her campaign with two campaign managers quitting (or rather being fired). She's getting blown out in every contest. She's getting blown out in fundraising. She's now losing in nationwide polls, and Virginia hispanics just voted for Obama. It's like one big tidal wave, and if he wins the delegate count, I think superdelegates will support him in the end. She may try and woo them, but I don't think it will work if she loses in the delegate count. If it does, it's only going to create chaos in the democratic party and they might as well just hand the election to McCain.

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Suppo81 (2/13/2008)
Problem with Texas is he may lose the popular vote, but end with more delegates there because he wins the bigger cities. He'll take her in Dallas, Houston and Austin. There's 40% of the delegates in the state right there.

Right now, she's got so much turmoil going on in her campaign with two campaign managers quitting (or rather being fired). She's getting blown out in every contest. She's getting blown out in fundraising. She's now losing in nationwide polls, and Virginia hispanics just voted for Obama. It's like one big tidal wave, and if he wins the delegate count, I think superdelegates will support him in the end. She may try and woo them, but I don't think it will work if she loses in the delegate count. If it does, it's only going to create chaos in the democratic party and they might as well just hand the election to McCain.

I'll have to check into this, but I believe Hillary was doing better in the large cities. At least that was the case in California.

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Ramen (2/13/2008)
Suppo81 (2/13/2008)
Problem with Texas is he may lose the popular vote, but end with more delegates there because he wins the bigger cities. He'll take her in Dallas, Houston and Austin. There's 40% of the delegates in the state right there.

Right now, she's got so much turmoil going on in her campaign with two campaign managers quitting (or rather being fired). She's getting blown out in every contest. She's getting blown out in fundraising. She's now losing in nationwide polls, and Virginia hispanics just voted for Obama. It's like one big tidal wave, and if he wins the delegate count, I think superdelegates will support him in the end. She may try and woo them, but I don't think it will work if she loses in the delegate count. If it does, it's only going to create chaos in the democratic party and they might as well just hand the election to McCain.

I'll have to check into this, but I believe Hillary was doing better in the large cities. At least that was the case in California.

They said on tv last night that Austin would go for Obama because of the youth vote. Dallas and Houston have less Hispanics and more African-Americans. Right now, though, she's struggling with almost every demographic. She's losing white men, black men, purple men, black women, young voters, independents. The Latino vote is shifting some, and I think it will continue to shift. She needs to do something. The Rasmussen poll which just had her ahead consistently by double digits 10 days ago, now has Obama leading by 5 points and every day he's gained.

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Suppo81 (2/13/2008)
They said on tv last night that Austin would go for Obama because of the youth vote. Dallas and Houston have less Hispanics and more African-Americans. Right now, though, she's struggling with almost every demographic. She's losing white men, black men, purple men, black women, young voters, independents. The Latino vote is shifting some, and I think it will continue to shift. She needs to do something. The Rasmussen poll which just had her ahead consistently by double digits 10 days ago, now has Obama leading by 5 points and every day he's gained.

Careful on the Rasmussen poll. A 7% swing overnight is hard to swallow. Obama is definitely gaining in the national polls, and may be tied with Hillary by now. But I don't think he's got a definitive lead nationwide.

On the rest of it, I'm still a little cautious about Texas and Ohio. I would LOVE to see Obama make a close race of both states, but I'm not sure he'll narrow the margin to even 15%.

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Ramen (2/13/2008)
Suppo81 (2/13/2008)
They said on tv last night that Austin would go for Obama because of the youth vote. Dallas and Houston have less Hispanics and more African-Americans. Right now, though, she's struggling with almost every demographic. She's losing white men, black men, purple men, black women, young voters, independents. The Latino vote is shifting some, and I think it will continue to shift. She needs to do something. The Rasmussen poll which just had her ahead consistently by double digits 10 days ago, now has Obama leading by 5 points and every day he's gained.

Careful on the Rasmussen poll. A 7% swing overnight is hard to swallow. Obama is definitely gaining in the national polls, and may be tied with Hillary by now. But I don't think he's got a definitive lead nationwide.

On the rest of it, I'm still a little cautious about Texas and Ohio. I would LOVE to see Obama make a close race of both states, but I'm not sure he'll narrow the margin to even 15%.

I think he'll be well within 15%. I actually think he'll win one or both of those states. Now my opinion may change as time goes forward, but she's playing a "Giuliani-like" game here. Her latino support is wilting. Even her female support is wilting. The momentum is so strong right now that if she can't find a way to stop it, then she's done. And I'm a big proponent of momentum in elections, that if you get it, it's hard to stop it. Everyone thought Giulani was unbeatable in Florida 2 weeks out, since he was camping out there, but he got shallacked even in demographics many thought was a slam dunk for him.

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snake (2/13/2008)
Ramen, you were wrong abt the black voters sticking with Hillary. You and I went round and round on that 1 and now the case is clear. As I was wrong with conservatives moving in to help Romney, I can now state that conservatives are actually sitting this out. McCain is not breaking into the conservative camps with any strong push, and Hillary is NOW loosing the women voters, hispanic voters and she thinks bringing Maggie back is gonna rescue her? No way. I think she's toast although the Clintons are harder to Kill then Micheal Myers.

I was spoofing you when I said that Hillary would win 80% of the black vote in South Carolina. It was an attempt to get you to acknowledge you were relying on polls, which you always call "biased" and untrustworthy when they show Republicans in a bad light.

I've certainly been wrong in a lot of predictions this year, but that wasn't one of them.

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