Obama Plays Underdog, Chides Media as Texas, Ohio Vote

By Ed O'Keefe

Mar 4, 2008 3:55pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller Reports: As the citizens of Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont head to the primary polls, Barack and Michelle Obama strolled to the back of his campaign plane en route from San Antonio to Houston.

"It is a very, very tight (race)," Obama told reporters, "You know, I mean we started 20 points behind in Texas and Ohio –- we closed the gap but you know whether it’s going to be enough to actually win is going to depend on turn out."

Watch the VIDEO HERE.

Heading into Tuesday’s critical contests, Obama finds himself ahead in every major category: delegates, popular vote, and states won.

But the most important stat in the Democratic nomination fight is delegates and on that front, despite 11 straight wins, Obama was also downplaying expectations.

"We know there’s not going to be a huge shift in delegates one way or another just given the math," Obama said. "Which means that either way we will go to Mississippi or Wyoming next week."

Political pundits have predicted the contests in Ohio and Texas are make or break for Clinton’s campaign.

"If she loses both (Ohio and Texas), I think there’s no question that she will be getting out of the race," said ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America." "If she wins Ohio and loses Texas, I think it will be very difficult for her to go on. . . but I think if it’s close, she may find a way to stay in."

Clinton, in survivor mode, refused to speculate on such assertions.

"Do you buy in at all to the opinion that you actually need a double digit win in this state to keep the campaign alive," questioned ABC affiliate KXXV in Waco, Texas, Tuesday morning during a marathon series of 20 interviews that began her day.

"No, I sure don’t," Clinton responded.

Aboard Obama’s plane, the candidate called his rival a "tenacious and determined candidate," reiterating, "the theory was that they had to blow us out of Texas and Ohio and I don’t think that’s going to happen."

Obama, who has faced criticism for conflicting reports concerning his position on free trade and his connection to a disgraced fundraiser, said the Clinton camp was employing a negative "kitchen sink strategy" and chided the press.

"This whole spin of just how the press has been tough on them and not tough on us. I didn’t expect that you guys would bite on that. But it is was it is. Our focus is to just talking about the issues. I don’t want to change the tone of our campaign because that’s how I ultimately think I’m gong to be able to govern," Obama said.

Asked if the attack ads and negative campaigning has any effect, Obama replied, "There’s no doubt that if you’re being attacked everyday that it creates a sense of turbulence in the minds of people."

On a lighter note, Obama also returned fire to "Saturday Night Live", the program which welcomed Clinton to open its broadcast the week before the March 4 primaries.

"Ya know, I missed it" he said of the skit before adding, "I missed Saturday Night Live for some reason this past weekend. I was working too hard. But clearly Tina Fey and I are gonna have to have a conversation."

Tina Fey may not have much to say about the matter. It was Amy Poehler who a doppleganger take with the real Clinton by her side.

For all the latest from the campaign trail, read The Note every morning exclusively on ABCNews.com

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