4 days until Super Tuesday
As ABC News prepares to broadcast five hours of live coverage on Feb. 5th, it feels as if the entire primary season should be drawing to a close.
But while John McCain might be close to wrapping up the G.O.P. nomination, the Democratic race is poised to stretch well beyond Super Tuesday.
The Clinton and Obama camps are girding for a fight that will stretch at least until March 4, when Ohio and Texas vote, and perhaps until April 22 when Pennsylvania votes.
Clinton's strongest states are California, New York, and New Jersey. She also expects to be strong in Arkansas, where she served as first lady, as well as in southwestern states that have sizable Latino populations.
With John Edwards out of the race, the Clinton campaign sees an opportunity to pick up some delegates in Alabama. As a result, Clinton is going on television in the state.
(Clinton considered going up with television ads in Georgia but decided against it).
Having said all that, Clinton's own advisers say that it is unlikely that anyone is going to come out of Super Tuesday with a significant delegate lead because of how the party apportions delegates.
That's why Clinton is drilling down in 60 congressional districts that can produce additional delegates either because they are odd-delegate districts or because they are districts in places like East L.A. where Clinton thinks she might be able to crush Obama and pick up an extra delegate.
Obama's strengths are formidable: He has money galore, a lock on Illinois, Red State endorsements aplenty, and an advantage in the six states holding caucuses.
On Friday, he made inroads with superdelegates who were previously supporting John Edwards while also winning endorsements from MoveOn.org (which will make tons of calls for him), S.E.I.U.'s California chapter, and the biggest newspaper in California.
He also took it to John McCain, appealing to Democrats who have an eye on electability.
"Somewhere along the line," said Obama, "the Straight Talk Express lost some wheels."
On Sunday, when Bill Clinton is watching the Super Bowl with Bill Richardson, Obama will get another burst of free-media publicity when Oprah campaigns for him in Los Angeles. She will be joined by Michelle Obama.
This will be Oprah's first Obama event since the weekend of Dec. 8th when she stumped with the Obamas in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
As for the Republicans, Mitt Romney suggested on Friday that he would look at Super Tuesday's results before deciding whether to move on.
When asked by ABC's John Berman if there was a minimum bar he would need to reach in order to stay in the race, he said, "there may be, I just don't know what it is."
Romney noted he was hoping to do well and was ahead in some states, but that he "couldn't possibly forecast at this stage what kind of numbers I'll have coming out of Tuesday."
Per ABC's John Berman, Ursula Fahy, and Matt Stuart, it was the most circumspect Romney has been about his chances to date.
The relentless optimist sounded a bit tentative saying only, "at this stage, I expect to keep battling."
He was also asked about the enormous personal donation he has made to his campaign; $35 million through December 31st.
Romney said simply, "you have to play the hand you are dealt."
Be sure to tune into "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." George's guests will be Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney.