The Note: Hopes and Dreams


There are now two voting blocs that Clinton cares about (and you tell us which matters more): Voters in Pennsylvania (if April 22 doesn't seem that far away, consider that seven weeks ago we were eagerly anticipating the Nevada caucuses) and the all-important superdelegates (just maybe less likely to flock to Obama than his campaign might have hoped).

The victory should stem the tide of defections, but the pause could be temporary. "For Mrs. Clinton, the battle ahead is not so much against Mr. Obama as it is against a Democratic Party establishment that had once been ready to coalesce behind her but has been drifting toward Mr. Obama," Patrick Healy writes in The New York Times. "The party wants a standard-bearer now to wage the war against the newly minted leader of the Republicans, Senator John McCain, who enjoys a head start with every day that the Democrats lack a nominee of their own."

And in case you thought Howard Dean's day couldn't get any worse, this fight is coming back: "The results will also embolden her campaign's efforts to persuade the Democratic Party to factor in the delegates from Florida and Michigan, her advisers say," Healy writes.

Clinton's victory -- particularly because of how it came -- won't quiet questions surrounding her candidacy. "With no margin for mistake, she had to do what she had been unable to do previously: make Barack Obama mortal," Michael Tackett writes in the Chicago Tribune. "Before the critical primaries in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday, her campaign had vowed to throw the 'kitchen sink' at Obama to derail the momentum that had led to wins in 11 straight contests. She honored that vow. . . . Her strategy was built on a foundation of contradiction."

Clinton used a "winning formula that has Republicans smiling --and some Democratic leaders hoping to end the race soon," AP's Ron Fournier writes. "Though she still faces a virtually insurmountable disadvantage in the delegate chase, the New York senator managed to keep her campaign afloat with a "kitchen sink" attack strategy designed to raise doubts about Obama. It worked, but to what end?"

Obambi is a distant memory: "A senior Obama adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Obama's team will respond to Tuesday's results by going negative on Clinton -- raising questions about her tax records and the source of donations to the Clinton presidential library, among skeletons in the Clintons' past," Fournier writes.

Obama on Tuesday signaled that he's ready to run against Clinton and McCain simultaneously: "John McCain and Hillary Clinton should know there is nothing empty about the call for affordable health care," he said in his first non-victory speech in a very long while.

This time, the media could be her friend: "For the first time in his improbable rise, Obama himself became the main issue in the campaign -- and the voters' response wasn't encouraging," Peter Canellos writes in The Boston Globe. "The long wait for Pennsylvania will give both campaigns a chance to rearm themselves with money and issues. But compared with previous chapters in this drawn-out epic of an election year, Obama will almost certainly be receiving greater scrutiny than Clinton."

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