Pundits discount Sen. Hillary Clinton at their own peril. She is a tenacious candidate, leads a formidable machine, and inspires loyalty among key constituencies.
That said, Clinton, D-N.Y., is not having a good week, and the rest of the month might not get any better.
Over the weekend Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., swept five contests from Washington state to Maine. He also picked up a Grammy for the audio version of his book, and Monday brought the unveiling of his wax sculpture at Madam Tussauds, where he is shown seated in a replica of the Oval Office.
The Clinton campaign says Obama is poised to do well in tomorrow's Potomac Primaries in Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland, where he attended a rally Monday morning.
"Seems like it's March Madness a little early this year," he said.
In contrast, Clinton is having a difficult week, as she acknowledged in the nation's capital this morning.
"I know this is a challenging campaign here, I recognize that, and it's a good problem to have," she said.
Clinton lost the weekend's primaries and caucuses and admitted she lent her campaign $5 million of her own money. On Sunday Clinton's campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, — who'd been with her for almost 20 years — stepped down.
When asked if her supporters should be concerned that this is not what a winning campaign looks like, Clinton replied, "Well to the contrary, I think it exactly is. We had a great night on Super Tuesday; I'm still ahead in popular votes and in delegates."
Clinton also said that her $5 million investment in the campaign "spurred an enormous response. We have raised over $10 million in the last five, six days. People want to invest in this campaign."
But standing in Maryland, Clinton made little mention of Tuesday's Maryland primary, instead focusing on two states holding contests in three weeks.
"I am absolutely looking to Ohio and Texas," she said. "Because we know that those are states, they represent the broad electorate in this country. They represent the kind of voters that are going to have to be convinced and won over in the general election, so this is an ongoing contest and I feel very good about it."
Those delegate-rich states — and Pennsylvania, which holds its primary on April 22 — are key for Clinton. She leads in polls there and has institutional strengths, but they come after five other contests.
"It's really hard to go that long and then come into states and clean up," said Michael Crowley of The New Republic. "I think it's possible because the states look good for her in some fundamental ways, but she's really going to be swimming upstream."
Clinton praised her former campaign manager for bringing her so close to the nomination, but by now Clinton thought she would have that nomination wrapped up.