The Note: Super-Scare

And yet -- there's a competing storyline that cast this as an open race still. The numbers suggest the toll: "Senator Barack Obama's aura of inevitability in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination has diminished after his loss in the Pennsylvania primary and amid the furor over his former pastor, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll," Robin Toner and Megan Thee write in The New York Times.

Obama's unfavorable ratings are only going in one direction. And do you think Camp Clinton might quote this stat? "In a head-to-head race between Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain, both candidates are backed by 45 percent of the registered voters. In a race between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain, 48 percent back Mrs. Clinton and 43 percent support Mr. McCain."

In the Democratic head-to-head, it's 46-38 Obama over Clinton in the NYT/CBS poll, and 46-43 in the new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. "Both candidates have been bloodied, though Sen. Obama, who previously has enjoyed much higher personal ratings than Sen. Clinton, has sustained more damage," Jackie Calmes writes in the Journal.

Indiana and North Carolina still matter -- and that fact is good news for the candidate who's trying to stay in contention.

"If the mathematics of the race has not changed, [Clinton] aides believe the psychology has," Politico's Mike Allen and John F. Harris write. "Before, the Clintons knew they were fighting a story line that said she could never win unless superdelegates take the nomination away from a popular African-American who came in first. Now they hope that they have subtly shifted to a new story line: Superdelegates must think twice before bestowing the nomination on an increasingly controversial politician who has missed repeated opportunities to wrap up the contest with a decisive, big-state victory."

"Pumped up and focused, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is putting in 16-hour days in Indiana this week as if she -- and not her embattled rival, Senator Barack Obama -- needs a campaign-changing moment in Tuesday's primary here," Patrick Healy writes in The New York Times.

"Some lawmakers, such as Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), suggest worries behind the scenes about the re-emergence of Wright are more serious," The Hill's Mike Soraghan and Jared Allen write. "After coming off the [House] floor Tuesday night, Cleaver said an Obama supporter had just told him, 'We're scared to death.' "

"Some party leaders and superdelegates said the Wright controversy has given them pause, raising questions about Mr. Obama's electability in the general election next fall," John Sullivan and Carl Hulse write in The New York Times. "Chris Redfern, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, who is uncommitted, said Mr. Obama's delay in responding to Mr. Wright might have hurt his standing with many voters -- in particular, so-called Reagan Democrats who live in places like Toledo."

Forget Toledo -- the leading indicator could be down in Mississippi. Travis Childers, a Democratic congressional candidate who's been tarred for his ties to Obama, "is pushing back -- by acting as if he's never even heard of Obama," per ABC's Jake Tapper. In a new ad, he calls his opponent's attempts to link him with Obama "lies and attacks."

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