"Clinton is no longer resting her candidacy on the delegate count," Mark Z. Barabak and Faye Fiore write in the Los Angeles Times. "She hopes to persuade party leaders, who hold the balance of power, that she would be the more electable candidate against McCain, based on her support among white, blue-collar voters who have not embraced Obama's candidacy in the same way as black, more affluent and better-educated voters."
At the very least, the campaign gets another week or three. USA Today's Susan Page calls Clinton's win "personally satisfying" for her -- but probably too late to matter. After lots of calendar-circling, mark down June 3, in pen.
"I am more determined than ever to carry on this campaign until everyone has had a chance to make their voices heard," Clinton said.
It's hard to imagine many more wins this wide and deep, yet Clinton picked up only 12 additional delegates -- not enough to change the stubborn math. "Even if Mrs. Clinton won all the delegates in the remaining contests, a practical impossibility, she could not gather the delegates needed to win the nomination," Patrick Healy writes in The New York Times.
"Her negligible payback in convention delegates illustrates why her rival and her party are turning away from her candidacy to begin the fight against Republican John McCain," Jackie Calmes writes in The Wall Street Journal.
"The same demographic dynamics are expected to give the two rivals a split decision in the contests May 20 -- with Sen. Clinton favored in Kentucky and Sen. Obama in Oregon," Calmes writes. "But that will be enough, the Obama campaign expects, to give him a majority of the pledged delegates -- a milestone of sorts that Obama supporters will use to urge support from the remaining uncommitted superdelegates."
Says ABC contributor Matthew Dowd: "It's like a baseball game. Just 'cause you get a lot of hits doesn't mean you score runs. She has left too many men on base in last six months."
New Quinnipiac numbers don't give the Clintons all that much more to point to: Obama leads McCain 47-40 percent, while Clinton is up 46-41.
It's a mistake to look at the West Virginia results solely through the prism of the nominating fight -- and not just since Obama (flag pin now affixed for two straight days) is peering into the general already.
Inside Obamaland, you can blame racist voters, or Clinton legacy, or shrug it all off and point to the math -- or you can face the facts.
"The results highlighted the question of exactly how he will beat McCain in November, a question his campaign did not directly address in a memo released a few hours before polls closed," Politico's Ben Smith writes.
"The results on which the campaign is relying indicate that Obama does somewhat better with educated white independent voters than Clinton, making up for his deficit with working-class white voters. That's a demographic fact that could change the map in November, pushing Obama's campaign north and west, and posing problems for him in the crucial rust belt portions of Ohio and Pennsylvania."
"In a trouble sign for delegate-leader Barack Obama, barely more than half [of West Virginia primary voters] said they would vote for him in November if he is the party's nominee," ABC Polling Director Gary Langer reports.