Clinton's Still in, but Obama Envisions End

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., buzzed into an airplane hangar in Sioux Falls, S.D., this afternoon, where even die-hard supporters such as Bev Austin worried Clinton may no longer have a chance.

"I will say a big, fat maybe," Austin said, "A big, fat maybe. I wish."

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., needs to win a mere 36 percent of the total remaining delegates in six remaining primaries to become the Democratic nominee.

Clinton needs to win 70 percent. But, apparently, she is convinced that might happen, which is why she visited three of the six primary locations today.

Earlier In Charleston, W.Va., Clinton seemed to be talking less to voters and more to superdelegates.


"The delegate math may be complicated, but the electoral math is easy," she said. "We need 270 electoral votes to win in November. That's what we have to have. And [presumptive Republican nominee] Sen. [John] McCain is the front-runner, has served on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He is a formidable opponent."

She tied the question of electability to who wins the Democratic primary in West Virginia Tuesday, where she is favored handily.

"I think West Virginia is a test," Clinton said. "It's a test for me. It's a test for Sen. Obama. Because for too long we have let places like West Virginia slip out of the Democratic column. It is a fact that no president, Democratic president, has ever won the White House since 1916 without winning West Virginia."


Former President Bill Clinton told a crowd at a City Hall gym in Phillippi, W.Va., today not to believe the reports of his wife's demise, adding that issues involving unsanctioned primaries in Michigan and Florida would be "resolved."

"Don't believe all this stuff you read in the press," the former president said. "She can still win this thing if you vote for her big enough."

On the Hill today, Obama also acknowledged to reporters that Clinton "is very likely to win West Virginia and Kentucky. Those are two states where she's got insurmountable leads."

He said that his campaign would spend some time in those states, but also move on to Oregon, Montana, South Dakota and Puerto Rico.

Bill Clinton argued that Hillary Clinton's big loss in North Carolina Tuesday was because of early voting.

"All the parts of North Carolina that look like West Virginia she won like a house on fire," Bill Clinton said. "And she did pretty well in other places. What happened is a fourth of the people voted in advance and she lost that vote two to one, 'cause we weren't there and she didn't have the money. But when she got there, the actual Election Day vote, from the best I can calculate it, was about 7 percent -- which given the Democratic breakup, makeup of North Carolina, is a huge, huge showing."

During one of his five stops in West Virginia today, Bill Clinton had a heated exchange with a woman who said his administration did not deliver on its promises to fix health care.

The Clintons hope that when Obama's weakness among the white working class voters is displayed again in West Virginia Tuesday, superdelegates will flock to her.

But Democratic officials worry that Clinton risks widening that racial chasm, as when she weighed in on an analysis of voting patterns in an earlier interview with USA Today.

"Sen. Obama's support among working, hardworking Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me," she said.

But today, she revised her comments.

"I'm winning Catholic voters and Hispanic voters and blue collar workers and seniors -- the kind of people Sen. McCain will be fighting for in the general election," she said. "No, some call you swing voters -- but I call you Americans."

Democratic strategist Tad Devine suggested that the way the Democratic campaign wraps up could have a major impact on Election Day.

"The way this race ends, particularly the way Hillary Clinton treats him in the end, the way the loser loses, will determine whether the winner can actually win in November," Devine said.

But how the winner wins could be an issue, too.

Obama took what looked like a victory lap on Capitol Hill today, where he met with undecided superdelegates.

In an interview with NBC News, Obama said that assuming he wins the Oregon primary May 20, he will have won a majority of pledged delegates, which he called significant.

"That will be an important day," he said. "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."