The Note: Underdog Fight

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Obama has built his own establishment, and while Clinton can fall back on her edge among superdelegates, watch for jumpers, switchers, and traitors if Obama starts racking up more victories.

"Given how competitive the race is, many superdelegates may remain neutral to see whether one of the two candidates gains a clear advantage," Shailagh Murray and Matthew Mosk write in The Washington Post.

"That, Democratic strategists said, would require Clinton or Obama to go on a lengthy winning streak that would include victories in the March 4 Ohio and Texas primaries. Obama is making a big play for Texas, with plans to open 10 offices there in the days ahead."

Clinton has Chelsea and Bill, and Obama has some big names of his own calling superdelegates: Campaign manager has "divv[ied] up superdelegate calls with the Senator's senior whips, including [Sen. Dick} Durbin, other members of the Illinois delegation, and Sens. Edward Kennedy (Mass.) and John Kerry (Mass.)," Erin P. Billings and Lauren W. Whittington write in Roll Call.

"All of Obama's Congressional supporters were invited to join another conference call Wednesday, and the main focus again was the effort to pick up superdelegate support."

Then there's less subtle ways to reach superdelegates. Obama on Wednesday said superdelegates "would have to think long and hard about how they approach the nomination when the people they claim to represent have said, 'Obama's our guy.'"

Per the New York Post's Geoff Earle: "The message: If you're an elected member of Congress, and your district backs Obama, casting a vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton could be bad for your political career."

Could Florida and Michigan matter again? "Barack Obama's advisers are anticipating the possibility of a Democratic presidential race deadlocked past the last primary, and the outcome may hinge on a fight over whether delegations from Florida and Michigan get seats at the party's national convention in Denver," Bloomberg's Catherine Dodge and Alex Tanzi write.

Among those fearing the prospect of a brokered convention: DNC Chairman Howard Dean. "I think we will have a nominee sometime in the middle of March or April," Dean said in an interview on New York 1, per the New York Sun.

"But if we don't, then we're going to have to get the candidates together and make some kind of an arrangement. Because I don't think we can afford to have a brokered convention -- that would not be good news for either party."

(Would a pre-brokered convention be that much better? And who's got the juice to force either Obama or Clinton out of the race? Try finding a party elder who doesn't have a horse.)

Self-funding does mean new scrutiny of Clinton's cash: "At a news conference in Virginia, Clinton said she used 'my money' to loan herself the $5 million. Later, communications director Howard Wolfson said the $5 million came from joint assets she held with former President Clinton," Dan Morain and Peter Nicholas write in the Los Angeles Times.

"The New York senator has written books that have earned her at least $6.6 million. But much of her wealth appears to have come from her husband's business dealings since he left the White House seven years ago," they write. "In her most recent financial disclosure, Clinton reported a joint bank account and a blind trust each worth between $5 million and $25 million. She also disclosed that former President Clinton had earned millions in speaking fees -- as much as $350,000 a speech."

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