The Note: Hope Against Hope

Math, it turns out, is as stubborn as the Clintons themselves.

The superdelegates are moving (and suddenly not so super-slowly) in Obama's direction. (Which of these drips will trigger the flood?)

Wright was wrong for Sen. Barack Obama, but not wrong enough, evidently. (We look forward to hearing from the Clinton campaign why polls once again don't matter.)

Campaign debts are piling up faster than Bill Clinton and James Carville can pile on homespun expressions.

And Sen. John McCain can enjoy the show, his ticket punched and his image his own as he defines himself and the race in a way the Democrats can't.

It is, naturally, set up just as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton wants it. (Just ask Camp Clinton -- always sure she can go all the way, even when it isn't Opening Day.)

The Clinton line this Monday: This is a candidate who's performed best when she's counted out. In this pause in the voting action, she's staying strong in polls in the next round of states, weathering calls to step aside -- and using them as rallying cries/organizing tools.

All of which could matter quite a bit if this was still a traditional race, wielded over that quaint quantity known as voters.

But the current Clinton calculus states that a race for delegates is not about the delegates anymore, a contest for votes is maybe not about the popular vote. (And some of her wins are turning out not to really be wins).

And there's a fair chance she'll have to destroy the Democratic Party in her quest to save it. At this critical juncture, Clinton is choosing confrontation over conciliation.

It's one reason that the superdelegate gap is narrowing by the day (the Obama campaign's impressive discipline in rolling out endorsements is the other). Joining Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., on the Obama bandwagon is Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and the entire seven-member North Carolina Democratic House delegation is set to endorse Obama as well, Jackie Calmes reports in The Wall Street Journal.

"Slowly but steadily, a string of Democratic Party figures is taking Barack Obama's side in the presidential nominating race and raising the pressure on Hillary Clinton to give up," Calmes writes. Among Clinton's difficulties: "Even raising the prospect of a convention fight could backfire for Sen. Clinton by antagonizing the superdelegates she needs. Many superdelegates are on the ballot themselves this year, and the last thing they want is a chaotic convention that plays into the hands of Republicans."

(The latest endorsements make for a 64-9 Obama superdelegate advantage since Super Tuesday, Diane Sawyer reported on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday.)

For a hint as to why, pause to consider the full implications of what Clinton is saying with her promise to march forward through Denver:

"I have no intention of stopping until we finish what we started and until we see what happens in the next 10 contests and until we resolve Florida and Michigan," Clinton told Perry Bacon Jr. and Anne Kornblut of The Washington Post, offering a whole of "ands." "And if we don't resolve it, we'll resolve it at the convention -- that's what credentials committees are for."

(Just for fun, try to find five uncommitted superdelegates who are looking forward to a credentials fight at the party's quadrennial televised showcase. The only way long movies work is with happy endings; "Gigli" clocked in at a squirm-inducing 121 minutes.)

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