SNEAK PEEK: And the Beat Goes On


There is no denying that Tuesday night was a solid outing for Hillary Clinton – two key victories in Ohio and Texas that give her campaign new life and gives her ample reason to stay in this race until the bitter end (whenever that may be. . .).

But, all together now – the race is not about winning states, it's about winning delegates. And Clinton is not going to come out of Super Tuesday Part Deux with any substantial net gain in delegates. She still trails Obama by 109 delegates in the ABC News overall count.

While it was quiet on the campaign trail today, as campaign staffers and reporters wrap their heads around seven more weeks of campaigning, the Clinton and Obama campaigns held dueling conference calls that laid out the lines of attack that will dominate this race from now until the Pennsylvania primary on April 22.

The Obama campaign signaled they would go negative, questioning whether the foreign policy experience that Clinton is pushing actually prepared her crisis management at the White House. The campaign also pushed for greater openness, from her tax returns to her records from her White House days and the donors to the Clinton Library.

The Clinton campaign stressed that "delegates are delegates are delegates" and rest assured that the theme of experience and ready on day one will stay in heavy circulation.

There is a new ABC News/Washington Post poll out today looking at the two potential general election match ups – John McCain v. Obama and McCain v. Clinton.

While McCain may have been the big winner last night – clinching the nomination and receiving the gift of a prolonged Democratic fight – the Republican nominee has some work ahead of him. And the Obama campaign has some good news to add to their talking points after going 1-4 Tuesday night.

ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer reports that a "a surge of Democratic allegiance is boosting Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton alike in match-ups against John McCain, with change vs. experience as the roadmap for voter preferences in the 2008 general election."

Obama leads McCain 52-40 in a general election match-up while Clinton leads McCain 50-44.

More from Langer: "The results of this poll overall offer a roadmap to likely themes in the general election. Foremost are competing desires for the future: Americans divide evenly on "new ideas and new direction" vs. "strength and experience" in a candidate. Against McCain, Obama wins 80 percent of new direction voters; Clinton, 65 percent. Voters more focused on experience instead go to McCain, by 2-1 over Clinton and by 3-1 over Obama."

No rest for the weary nominee (and his press corps) as McCain flew back to Washington for the biggest Republican endorsement out there.

It was all warm and fuzzy at the White House today when McCain lunched with President Bush and received his official endorsement. President Bush seemed so excited to have a friend come over to visit, he stood outside for several minutes before McCain arrived and awkwardly paced while he waited, like a guy waiting for his prom date to finally roll up.

Perhaps it was good strategery to get that Rose Garden photo op out of the way now. The ABC News/Post poll shows that President Bush's approval rating is back at his career low – 32 percent.

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