Barack Obama "scored a landslide victory" in NC 5/6, "moving him ever closer to locking up an insurmountable lead among pledged delegates," while Hillary Clinton "posted a razor-thin win in the hotly contested" IN primary, keeping her "shaky candidacy" alive.
The results meant Obama adds to both "his pledged-delegate margin and his lead in the popular vote, leaving Clinton with an even more daunting challenge in trying to deny Obama" the nod. Despite her IN victory, "Clinton emerged even more the underdog in the nomination battle" (Balz/Murray, Washington Post, 5/7).
Clinton advisers "acknowledged that the results of the primaries were far less than they had hoped, and said they were likely to face new pleas even from some of their own supporters for her to quit the race." The Clinton advisers also "said they expected fund-raising to become even harder; one adviser said the campaign was essentially broke, and several others refused to say whether Mrs. Clinton had lent the campaign money from her personal account to keep it afloat."
Compounding Clinton's woes: incomplete results from Lake County, IN, "left the statewide tally in doubt," which meant that Clinton "did not appear on television until well after Mr. Obama, allowing him to put his stamp of victory on the evening" (Zeleny, New York Times, 5/7).
Neither "a furor over new incendiary comments from Obama's pastor nor a bid by Clinton to address economic anxieties" with a proposed gas tax holiday "altered the now-familiar contours of" the Dem vote. And "perhaps more importantly," the results provided "reassurance to those superdelegates uncommitted to either candidate about his ability to weather the controversy" over Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Almost half the voters in NC and IN "said the situation was important to their vote, but the issue wasn't a big advantage for Clinton in either state" (Dorning/Parsons, Chicago Tribune, 5/7).
AP's Pickler writes, Clinton "lost her last best chance to score an upset" on Obama's "turf," putting him "a step closer to becoming the country's first black presidential nominee" (5/6).
Slate's Dickerson writes, when Clinton questioned Gen. David Petraeus in 11/07, she "said that to believe his description of progress in Iraq required 'a willing suspension of disbelief.'" After NC and IN, the same "may not be true about her case for winning" the Dem nod. "It's not that she can't win, but with only 217 delegates up for grabs in the six remaining contests, the scenario for victory has become more fantastical, narrow, and painful" (5/7).
Gannett News Service's Raasch writes, Obama "needs the superdelegates to win. And the pressure from some party leaders to get behind him may be more intense than it is for voters in the upcoming states, many of whom never dreamed their ballot would mean something in a frontloaded primary and caucus calender" (5/7).
Kansas City Star's Kraske writes, "an old demon continued to plague Obama -- his in ability to win working-class white voters." These voters "signaled that they remained concerned about his ties to his former pastor." Those who considered that "an important story broke for Clinton" (5/6).
Politico's Paul Kuhn writes, unlike PA, "the voters most anxious about the economy were not handily carried by Clinton." In IN, "she won only a slim majority of these voters" and in NC "Obama won a majority" (5/7).
Baltimore Sun's West writes, "by running up a large victory" in NC -- the 10th most-populous state -- Obama "countered Clinton's argument that he cannot win the large states" (5/7).
Boston Globe's Helman and Williams write, a win in IN, "in Obama's backyard, added another Midwestern manufacturing-heavy state to Clinton's column and suggested that her increasingly populist message is resonating with voters hurt by the sagging economy." But Clinton's "failure to alter the race with a resounding victory could increase pressure on her from party leaders" (5/7).
CBS' Schieffer: "This race is over. The question is does this demolition derby continue on, because the longer it goes, the wider the divide within the Democratic Party becomes. I think the most important thing anybody said last night was when the chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, Harold Ford ... said these two need to start thinking about the dream ticket" ("Early Show," 5/7).
ABC's Stephanopoulos: "This race is going to go on. Hillary Clinton will keep on campaigning ... but this nomination fight is over. Barack Obama has a lead that can't be overcome in pledged delegates. He's brought back his popular vote lead by another 200,000 votes last night. The only way for Senator Clinton to catch him would be to get Florida and Michigan included. That's not going to happen" ("GMA," 5/7).
GOP strategist Leslie Sanchez, asked whether the protracted Dem fight helps the GOPers: "I can't deny that. That's very true. I think you have Republicans sitting on the sidelines, eating popcorn, enjoying this battle. ... [The Dem fight] is not going to end easily" ("American Morning," CNN, 5/7).
Karl Rove, asked about the downside of Clinton staying in the race: "Look, I'm not certain there's a downside if she remains in, and he has the tone that he had last night. Last night was a good tone for him. ... He was focused on the general election, he was gracious to her. She, frankly, was pretty gracious to him. I thought her tone last night was a little bit different than we've seen in earlier primaries, and that's not necessarily hurtful. They continue the dialogue, they continue to dominate, and he gets to be a better candidate" ("Fox & Friends," FNC, 5/7).
What's The Rush?
Conservative talker Rush Limbaugh had "urged" GOPers "to cross over and vote for Clinton to extend" the Dem nomination fight, with the idea that it would "further damage the eventual nominee." But according to exit polls, "Limbaugh's impact appeared muted" (Rhee, Boston Globe, 5/7).
This article appears in the May 7, 2008, edition of Latest Edition.