The Note: Exit Strategies

Clinton backer Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., scrambled to get an autograph on the House floor, "while some 200 Democratic members swarmed the likely nominee and showered him with hugs, kisses and backslaps," Richard Sisk and David Saltonstall write in the New York Daily News.

For Obama, the pivot has already begun: He's not mentioning Clinton in his stump speech, is spending more time playing "Taboo" with reporters than campaigning in West Virginia -- and don't look for any Obama surrogates to agree to talkfest TV debates with any Clinton surrogates any time soon.

The Obama campaign is peering past Clinton -- on to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

"In Chicago, Obama's team worked to accelerate a transition to general-election mode that began weeks ago, only to be shelved as the primary showdown continued," Shailagh Murray and Perry Bacon Jr. write in The Washington Post.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., got her conversation with Clinton: "She doesn't believe it's time," Feinstein said afterward.

Yet in quiet corners of Camp Clinton, the whispers continue: "She's darting around the country like a full-fledged presidential candidate, but within Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's circle of advisors and donors, the conversation has turned to how she can make a dignified exit from the race," Peter Nicholas writes in the Los Angeles Times.

Richard Schiffrin, a Clinton national finance co-chairman, said he planned to advise Clinton: "Let's look at the situation as it exists and think about whether there's a credible path to the nomination, and if there isn't, what's Plan B?" Says a "Clinton aide": "I don't think anyone sees that there's a clear path to victory here."

(Who doesn't want to go out on a high note?)

From cold, hard politics, to cold hard cash: "The once-formidable fund-raising machine of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton has begun to sputter at the worst possible moment for Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign, Clinton advisers and donors said Thursday, with spending curtailed on political events and advertising as Mrs. Clinton seeks to compete in the last six nominating contests," Patrick Healy and Michael Luo write in The New York Times.

The post-Tuesday online haul: Barely $1 million. "Clinton advisers said they were looking for opportunities to save money on campaign events in the coming primary states of West Virginia, Kentucky and Oregon," Healy and Luo write. "The advisers said events would be more frill-free, but they also said that the campaign was likely to go deeper into debt to vendors who design and produce her events."

Obamaland won't push someone who's sliding on her own: "Obama advisers are watching and waiting," Dan Balz reports in The Washington Post. "They are concerned that Clinton appears ready to continue challenging his strength against McCain. Inside the Obama camp, there is consensus that she should be given time to ease down from the intensity of recent months and to make a transition to more positive campaigning."

That may change -- slightly -- May 20, when Obama will almost certainly clinch a majority of the pledged delegates. "If at that point we have the majority of pledged delegates, which is possible, then I think we can make a pretty strong claim that we've got the most runs and it's the ninth inning and we've won," Obama told NBC.

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