The Note: 'Still Standing'

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The front door closed to her, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to tiptoe around the back of the house to break through as her party's nominee. (At this moment, as even Clinton supporters acknowledge, she's probably too much of a plodder to make it.)

But really, she can't do it if she's quiet. Subtlety won't work as she seeks to convince superdelegates that only she -- not Sen. Barack Obama -- can win this fall. She needs to take loud steps (as if Bill Clinton and Terry McAuliffe were capable of moving around in silence).

Yes, the broad cause has a narrow path. (And Colin Powell isn't helping.)

Yet among the key points that must not be forgotten: The superdelegates have the power to end this race right now. They aren't.

Just maybe Camp Clinton has gotten control of this spiral the campaign has found itself in -- and Elton John doesn't hurt. Wednesday's night's concert raised $2.5 million helping refill near-bare coffers (remember that you can't buy TV ads on credit) and setting a defiant tone for a stretch where exhausted aides and supporters need all the hope they can get.

"You did not come in vain," the former president said. "She can win the nomination." Said Sir Elton: "I never cease to be amazed by the misogynistic attitude of some people in this country. . . . I say, to hell with them."(As Newsday's Glenn Thrush points out, the message dovetails nicely with Sen. Clinton's view of the "double standard.")

Said Sen. Clinton: "What I want you to know is, I'm still standing."

Indeed she is, and her Olympic critique gives her a fresh message opening -- and is forcing Obama to take a stance on a tough issue (and there's still daylight between him and Clinton). "If the Chinese do not take steps to help stop the genocide in Darfur and to respect the dignity, security, and human rights of the Tibetan people, then the President should boycott the opening ceremonies," Obama said Wednesday in a statement, per ABC's Sunlen Miller.

She's hoping a pushback ad on radio (yes, money really is that tight) taking on Obama over energy policy gets her must desperately needed traction. "What's clear from the ads is that despite the change in her strategy team, Clinton is not prepared just yet to go quietly into that good night," Washingtonpost.com's Chris Cillizza writes.

And Clinton's best surrogate is a member of her family -- just not the family member we all assumed it would be. "In light of a string of setbacks for her mother's campaign, including impolitic remarks by her father, Chelsea is arguably the most seamless part of the struggling Clinton operation," The Washington Post's Anne Kornblut writes, pointing out that Chelsea's next stop will be her 100th campaign event.

"The once and perhaps future first daughter is branching out in ways that the Clinton campaign -- which practically had to beg the candidate to allow her to appear in Iowa late last year -- never imagined."

(Chelsea has nearly 1,600 Facebook friends as of Thursday morning -- but how many of them can ask her a question?)

Pennsylvania is clearly Clinton's must-win state -- but the fact that Obama is expending so much time and money there means that if she does win (and does so convincingly), it will mean something. Obama needs not to peak too soon.

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