The Note: Math (and) Class

While Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton makes us sit through math class (and threatens to keep us after school to finish our social studies homework), Sen. Barack Obama would rather be at football practice, getting ready for the big game. (Sen. John McCain, facing a new pastor problem, is trying to get out of detention.)

On just one day on the trail, Clinton, your champion of democracy . . . accused the Democratic National Committee of a policy that violates "our most fundamental values as Democrats and Americans"; placed a disagreement over convention delegates alongside battles over slavery and women's suffrage; and equated the spat over Florida and Michigan with disputed elections in brutal Zimbabwe.

(Quick -- let's make sure Camp Clinton was OK with the voting on "American Idol." If you live in Florida or Michigan, and you picked David Archuleta, you might have a champion for your cause.)

It all points to one ugly endgame to the Democratic nomination. Clinton, D-N.Y., doesn't have to directly attack Obama for her message to be heard: These same crowds will soon be told that it's time to support Obama (presumably by Clinton, among many others) are now hearing (essentially) that the candidate is standing in the way of their constitutional rights.

"On the trail and in interviews, she raised a new battle cry of determination, likening her struggle for these delegates to the nation's historic struggles to free the slaves and grant women the right to vote," Katharine Q. Seelye and Jeff Zeleny write in The New York Times.

It's Clinton's "most emphatic argument yet for counting the votes in Michigan and Florida," per ABC's Eloise Harper, made in a place that knows a thing or two about disputed elections: Palm Beach County, Fla.

(OK -- so we can agree that Denver is not Seneca Falls. But how long before Obama, D-Ill., just lets Clinton have her delegates? Even the best-case scenario for Clinton erases barely a roughly a quarter of her 194-delegate deficit.)

Obama tells the St. Petersburg Times' Adam C. Smith that giving Florida half of its allotted delegates would be "a very reasonable solution," but said the primary shouldn't be allowed to count fully: "It's pretty hard to make an argument that somehow you winning what is essentially a name recognition contest in Florida was a good measure of electoral strength there," Obama said.

Responded Clinton: "I think that is disingenuous but it's also insulting to the 1.7-million Floridians who actually turned out to vote," she said, per Smith, "recounting a South Florida canasta club that fervently followed the primary."

("Disingenuous"? From the candidate who says she's winning the popular vote? "Insulting"? Remind us again of who's trying to change the rules?)

Obama strategist David Axelrod also offers an olive branch -- with perhaps slightly longer reach than Obama's: "We are open to compromise. We're willing to go more than halfway," he tells NPR's Michele Norris. "I guess the question is: Is Senator Clinton's campaign willing to do the same?"

Axelrod tells the Times: "If that means we have to make some sacrifices . . . we are open to do so, within reason."

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