"Two in 10 whites said the race of the candidate was a factor in their vote, second only to Mississippi. Just 32 percent of those voters said they'd support Obama against presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, fewer than in other primaries where the question's been asked."
"It's just that Obama, well, this is awkward, but he's, um, black, and most voters aren't," Time's Michael Grunwald writes. "According to exit polls, one in four Clinton voters in West Virginia said race was an important factor in their vote, which is amazing in an era where people who think like that aren't supposed to admit it. Shouldn't they at least have pretended their issue with Obama was that he is an elitist?"
"Maybe the Obama camp should be more worried," the AP's Nedra Pickler writes. "The voters who went against Obama Tuesday night -- white, rural, older, low-income and without college degrees -- don't just live in West Virginia. They live everywhere in the country, in places Obama needs to win."
A win that might have changed the course in February might only delay the inevitable in May. Clinton continues to fight it out, and West Virginia surely helps in at least keeping some supers frozen, but the perception of the race having ended is powerful.
"This race, I believe is over," former DNC chairman Roy Romer told ABC's Teddy Davis Tuesday, in endorsing Obama. "Sen. Obama has accumulated a lead in delegates chosen by primaries, caucuses and superdelegates that cannot be overcome."
James Carville puts on his realist glasses: "I'm for Senator Clinton, but I think the great likelihood is that Obama will be the nominee," Carville said, per The State's John O'Connor. "As soon as I determine when that is, I'll send him a check."
(Who's guessing that check winds up getting pinned to a wall in Chicago instead of ever getting cashed?)
Clinton still has work to do inside her own campaign: She had to reassure AFSCME head Gerald McEntee on Tuesday, and Wednesday will bring more tough questions "at her Washington mansion during a series of meetings with donors and congressional superdelegates eager to learn her plans for the final three weeks of campaigning," Newsday's Glenn Thrush writes.
"It's getting harder to raise money," Clinton campaign finance chairman Alan Patricof tells Thrush. "The number of people you can go after is shrinking after 17 months." Per "a DNC member who raises money for Clinton": "Her money people are starting to say 'fold it' and she's needs to get them back in line."
The scope of Tuesday's victory gets adjusted for expectations: "West Virginia's demographics fit closely with those who have supported Clinton in other states. They include mostly blue-collar, white voters," Tom Searls writes in the Charleston Gazette. "With the state's small minority population, it has caused some political pundits to say race is a major part of the West Virginia presidential campaign."
"The scene at the Charleston Civic Center on Tuesday night barely reflected the reality of Clinton's predicament, starkly evident to everyone but those gathered here," James Oliphant writes in the Chicago Tribune. "That truth: Even her overwhelming 2-1 win in West Virginia's primary is unlikely to do much to slow Barack Obama's march to the party's nomination."