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CLINTON

Dire Straits

Hillary Clinton vowed to continue her campaign through WV and beyond yesterday, as her spokesmen confirmed that she loaned her effort an additional $6.4M over the last month. The loan, however, prompted "a growing sense that her window to the nomination is nearly closed."

But during a campaign stop in Shepherdstown, WV, HRC told reporters: "I am staying in the race until there is a nominee" (Page, USA Today, 5/8).

 

Clinton's greatest gift may be her "ability to remain upright and smiling as chaos and chagrin surround her," a fact evident "on what was probably one of the toughest days of her campaign so far" (Broder, New York Times, 5/8).

Clinton Comm. Dir. Howard Wolfson, on the negative newspaper headlines: "We've had worse days. Senator Clinton has had worse days. If tough newspaper headlines made her give up, she would have given up a long time ago" ("Morning Joe," MSNBC, 5/8).

Still, New York Post's Retter writes that Clinton is fighting "against huge odds" -- as Barack Obama started to look "past his fading rival and began plotting a nationwide strategy for winning the presidency" (5/8).

 

Time's Sullivan writes that exit polling, however, from IN and NC won't "help make the case for going on." She needed to demonstrate that "she was the less divisive candidate who could win over general elections swing voters in state like Indiana." But her "aggressive campaign" has led to a growing gap, between 15 and 20 points in IN and NC, in "the perception that she has been more unfair in her attacks than Obama" (5/7).

Despite declarations from political pundits that HRC's bid is "all but dead, Wolfson began yesterday's conference call with reporters: "It's another beautiful day in downtown Arlington" (Bosman, New York Times, 5/7).

Syndicated columnist Mark Shields, on Clinton saying it's a "new day": "It is a new day for her campaign, but it's not a bright day. Hillary Clinton is running out of time, running out of real estate, and running out of arguments. ... The end is very much in sight" ("NewsHour," PBS, 5/7).

New York Times' Brooks, on Clinton saying it's a "dynamic electoral environment" and what that might mean: "I have no clue, because it's not a dynamic electoral environment. It's a very stable electoral environment. ... It's not only pundits who are essentially declaring this race over. You're beginning to hear it among Democrats who have been sort of sitting back and waiting and around. And I have begun to even sense it among many people, not in the tight inner circle of the Clinton camp, but in the outer circle of Clinton world, who have psychologically capitulated. So, there's no question there's momentum today, and it's not in her direction" ("NewsHour," PBS, 5/7).

 

Washington Times' Wall, on why Clinton should drop out: "I think she's certainly trying to save face. Kudos to her for trying to do that. But certainly, the math is totally against her. ... The odds are truly stacked against her. He's got the money [and] she's dwindling in cash. She's having to spend her own cash. ... I just don't know what it serves, and I think that for the party itself, it is causing a division ... and it's going to further cause harm the longer she draws this out. I don't see her going past June" ("American Morning," CNN, 5/8).

Hope Above All

Clinton's "best hope" -- some analysts say -- is for "some factor to intervene that makes Senator Obama appear unelectable to superdelegates." Dem pollster Mark Mellman tells the Christian Science Monitor's Feldmann and Sabar that, "She's hoping for lightning to strike."

Meanwhile, Clinton's campaign outlined a "three-pronged strategy for continuing their fight" -- a big victory in WV, seating the MI and FL delegations in proportion to Clinton's victories in those states and convincing the superdelegates that she's the strongest candidate against John McCain in the fall (5/8).

Wallsten and Hohmann of the Los Angeles Times write that Clinton "now envisions a road to the nomination built on disputes over Democratic Party rules and fights over delegate selections." The route, they write, looks "unattainable." Her push to count MI and FL is also angering several Dem Party officials. ID State Party Chairman R Keith Roark, also an uncommitted superdelegate said "it's a really dangerous thing for the Democratic Party to now go back and say, 'Well, [Florida and Michigan] broke the rules, but on the other hand, we need them." He said they'd be denying the nom "to an African American who followed the rules," saying "it's inconceivable" the party would want to do that (5/8).

Adding in the MI and FL delegates, Clinton's camp renewed its push to boost the number of delegates needed to secure the nom to 2,209, not the 2,025 measure "generally accepted as the finish line" (Phillips, Wall Street Journal, 5/7).

Washington Times' Wall, on the Clinton camp assertion that with FL and MI, she still has a chance: "It's ridiculous to even consider Michigan and Florida. For that to be on the table is completely absurd, and there are many in the party who would agree that Michigan and Florida are not even in the equation" ("American Morning," CNN, 5/7).

On The Money

Washington Post's Robinson: "Who's going to put a whole lot of money into this campaign at this point? Now, the last time she made the big $5 million loan, she did kind of get a sympathy flood of money coming in, but I can't imagine you would put that much money on the table in the hopes that you'd get another such influx" ("Race for the WH," MSNBC, 5/7).

NBC's Mitchell, on the Clinton camp: "They thought that announcing the loan would get more people to contribute, as it did last time" ("Hardball," MSNBC, 5/7).

Syndicated columnist Mark Shields, asked if money matters at this stage of the camp: "It matters in this sense. ... They're probably $20 million in the hole, I mean, $11 million to the Clintons themselves, $10 million to their vendors. And what the Obama people are concerned about right now is that will be one of the negotiating chips that the Clinton campaign and the Clintons will try and exercise for their support, endorsement, and all-out backing of Obama, that the Obama people raise that money. I think it would be, quite frankly, foolish. There is precedent for it, but ... I mean, a couple that has made $109 million in the past seven years, it seems that it's not a charity case. ... I think money could be a sticking point between these two camps" ("NewsHour," PBS, 5/7).

McTraitor

The Washington Times' Bellantoni reports that HRC backer George McGovern, the 1972 Dem nom, said yesterday that Clinton should "step aside to bridge the party divide." McGovern: "It's important for Democrats to get united to win the general election." The Dem "icon" -- who switched his support to Obama -- was inspiration for Clinton's involvement in politics as an adult (5/8).

Art Torres, CA Dem Party chairman and an uncommitted superdelegate, disagreed with McGovern, saying the primary contest should play out: "I'm sorry, George who? A lot of people told him not to run in 1972, and he didn't listen. He's the last guy who should be giving advice" (Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/8).

Some Dems, meanwhile, preferred to "say softly" what McGovern uttered "for all to hear" (Espo, AP, 5/7).

Clinton supporter/ex-WH special counsel Lanny Davis: "I have a great deal of respect for Senator McGovern. It's sort of a little bit ironic that both Clintons were for George McGovern in 1972. ... Look, Senator McGovern lost 49 out of 50 states. He knows that you can win the primaries. He won immense victories over Senator Muskie in 1972. A lot of us fear that Barack Obama appeals to the same sliver of the electorate who nominated for George McGovern. And that's just been written in the New Republic recently. So I'm not making that up" ("Hannity & Colmes," FNC, 5/7).

Mike Huckabee, on McGovern calling for Clinton to get out: "That was a seminal moment when George McGovern stepped up. That's gotta sting deeply and personally to Hillary, and to Bill Clinton" ("American Morning," CNN, 5/7).

Clinton sr. advisor Maria Cardona, on McGovern's remarks: "Well, he certainly has a right to his own opinion. But I think what matters more is for us to finish the process. There are millions of voters whose voices still need to be heard" ("Lou Dobbs Tonight," CNN, 5/7).

Let Me Explain Myself

McGovern was on NPR's "Day to Day" 5/7 to talk about calling on Clinton to get out of the race.

McGovern, asked what changed his mind: "Senator Obama carried North Carolina, a large state, overwhelmingly, and he did almost a tie-run in Indiana. So that's why I decided to move now."

On whether he has talked to other key Dems about his decision: No, only to two members of the party, high-ranking members, Senator Daschle and Congressman Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, who is a strong Clinton backer. ... Senator Daschle thinks it's a wise thing to do. Of course, obviously, my friend Congressman Jim McGovern, probably my closest friend in the Congress, he would like to have me hold off on it for awhile, but my own conscience tells me now is the time to move."

Asked if he has talked to Clinton: "No. I have a call in to President Clinton, but I haven't talked to Hillary yet today. ... I will tell her she has waged a wonderful race, and that I have no regrets about endorsing her, and that I'm doing what I think, in the long run, is in her best interest, President Clinton's best interest, Barack Obama's best interest, and the country's best interest. So that's how I feel."

NPR's Brand: "Senator, you actually came up with the rules that have given us the superdelegates that we have today, that are increasingly looking like they are going to cast the pivotal votes in this election. What do you think of that? Do you think that the superdelegates should have this power?"

McGovern: "First of all, the so-called McGovern Reform Commission did not introduce the superdelegates. They were not part of our reforms. The superdelegates were created years later when it became clear that some of the party's most prominent and active Democrats were being defeated by much younger delegates, and deprived of the chance to go to the convention. ... I agreed years after our report was filed that I would not oppose 20 percent of the delegates being named automatically because of the positions they held, and I don't think it's a bad system. I don't want to see the superdelegates taking the nominee. The time has come, it seems to me, to recognize that Senator Obama has all but gained the nomination, and concentrate on building a unified party from here on out."

Asked if Clinton has made any mistakes: "The only significant mistake that I saw was voting for the war resolution years ago. My guess is that she would now feel that was a mistake. Yeah, I think that made it difficult for her right from the opening shot of the campaign until the finish" (NPR, 5/7).

McGovern was also on CNN's "Situation Room" and "LKL" last night.

McGovern: "I want to emphasize, it is up to Senator Clinton to make the judgment if and when she should throw her support to Senator Obama. She's the candidate. I'm not trying to do anything to force her into a decision she's not wanting to make. But I do think the mathematics are all with Senator Obama" ("Situation Room," CNN, 5/7).

McGovern: "I'm not trying to dictate to Senator Clinton what to do. And if she decides to stay in through June, God bless her."

Asked if he decided to back Obama because he's afraid of a split similar to the one of '72: "That's right. ... I don't think this race until now, between Hillary and Barack, I don't think it's hurt the Democratic Party at all. I don't think it's hurt America at all. As a matter of fact, as Congressman Rangel said ... it's done us a lot of good. They've brought out millions of people who had never voted before in an election. Both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama have activated literally millions of voters that we would haven't had in the process without this campaign. ... But there comes a time, I think, when even in a good, vigorous, intelligent campaign like that, when you have to begin to think about the general election campaign" ("LKL," CNN, 5/7).

Cost/Reward

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a Clinton superdelegate, also offered a caution about HRC continuing on: "I have great fondness and great respect for Sen. Clinton, and I'm very loyal to her. That said, I'd like to talk with her and get her view on the rest of the race and what the strategy is . . . ," Feinstein said. "I think the race is reaching the point now where there are negative dividends from it, in terms of strife within the party" (Barabak/Hook, Los Angeles Times, 5/8).

Air America's Maddow: "We're starting to hear some of the things that insiders in Washington say are the sort of dog whistle signals that Hillary Clinton's campaign will be packing it in. ... Feinstein voicing dissent here may be a dog whistle signal" ("Countdown," MSNBC, 5/7).

Radio host Joe Madison, on Feinstein raising questions on whether Clinton should stay in the race: "I think what it says is that these superdelegates ... have constituents. They know that their constituencies are weary. They're tired of this" ("AC 360," CNN, 5/7).

Fmr DNC Chair and HRC supporter Terry McAuliffe on Feinstein (D-CA) asking Clinton to detail her plans for the rest of the Dem primary: "She ought to talk to Hillary today. Hillary was on the Hill yesterday. She met with a bunch of superdelegates. ... She's available" ("Today," NBC, 5/8).

Paradoxically Speaking

NY Sen. Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, said Clinton must determine for herself if she should stay in the race, reports Newsday's Barrett. Schumer, a Clinton supporter, said she could still win and that he thinks should should continue on. "It's her decision to make and I'll accept what decision she makes," he said (5/7).

Fmr NE Sen. Bob Kerrey, another Clinton backer, told the New York Observer's Kornacki that "if things stay the way they are now" HRC will end her bid between now and June 3, when the primary season concludes in MT and SD. There is no reason, Kerrey said, for Clinton to yield to pressure to withdraw. He added that it's "offensive" to him to hear pundits "talking about how Hillary ought to get out."

Kerrey: "She will make that call. She's fought a tough campaign and has been giving this her all for more than a year, while all the other pundits telling her to get out have been taking vacations and h aving their weekend off." He said, too, that there's a "paradox" in their suggestions that she pull out. "The more nasty things that pundits say about her ... the harder it is to get her out of the race" (5/7).

But Obama supporter U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA): "The time is short, the end is near" (Przybyla/Litvan, Bloomberg, 5/8).

Hold Your Horses

Clinton supporter/ex-WH special counsel Lanny Davis: "Every national opinion poll shows her stronger than Barack Obama in the battleground states. ... So those are the statistics that I think superdelegates ought to be picky about" ("Hannity & Colmes," FNC, 5/7).

NBC's Todd: "It's actually possible for her to win the popular vote, but only if you count Michigan and you don't give any of that uncommitted vote to Obama. ... She's likely to rack up big wins in Kentucky and West Virginia. And overall ... she could net another 90,000 in the popular vote and ... they could end up tied in the popular vote if you add in Florida and Michigan, which, of course, would probably be of the fitting outcome" ("Countdown," MSNBC, 5/7).

Ex-HRC aide Lisa Caputo "There's no question that the numbers are daunting and no one can quarrel with the facts there. But I think it's fair to say anything can happen in a presidential campaign. ... A shoe can drop, who knows. So, I think that's why she is playing this out. She's also going to play it out because, I think, it puts her in a position, certainly, to have any kind of leverage she might choose to have in terms of a negotiation for what she might want coming out of it" ("Verdict," MSNBC, 5/7).

CQ's Crawford: "I didn't sign the media death warrant for John McCain last summer, and I'm not going to sign this one where there are enough superdelegates out there. It's an improbable path; it's just not an impossible path, it seems" ("Verdict," MSNBC, 5/7).

Obama supporter/Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO): "We all have tremendous respect for Hillary Clinton, as a leader, as a campaigner. So, until she says it's over, it's not over" ("AC 360," CNN, 5/7).

Newsweek's Alter: "If she takes the high road with Barack Obama and reserves her punches for John McCain, it's fine for her to stay in. If she wants to go after Obama in the next month and try to take him down or take him out, there will be hell to pay in the Democratic Party and it would be a stupid approach on her part" ("Verdict," MSNBC, 5/7).

Talk To The Hand

Clinton met "one-on-one" Wed eve with a handful of uncommitted superdelegates at DNC HQ, including Reps. Christopher P. Carney (D-PA), Tim Mahoney (D-FL), Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX), Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and John Spratt (D-SC) (Hearn/Parnes/Kady, Politico, 5/8).

On Capitol Hill yesterday, "the tide turned" against Clinton as some uncommitted superdelegates "refused to meet with the beleaguered candidate" at Dem Party HQ. U.S. Reps. Brad Miller (D-NC) and Lincoln Davis (D-TN) said they were invited to sit down with Clinton but declined (Bolton/Raju/Youngman, The Hill, 5/7).

Clinton won the endorsement of Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) yesterday, whose district she carried Tuesday (Balz, Kornblut, Bacon Jr., Washington Post, 5/8).

Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN) said he would endorse her in keeping with her win Tuesday in his district (Politico, 5/8).

The Clinton Argument

ABC's Cuomo: "If you're going out there as communications director ... telling superdelegates Barack can't win against McCain, how is that helping the Democrats?"

Wolfson: "I haven't said that he can't win. I think that Senator Clinton will win, and she's the better nominee for our party" ("GMA," ABC, 5/8).

CNN's Crowley, on how the superdelegates are dealing with Clinton: "It's really interesting. They want to give her some space. I talked to 10 or so superdelegates, some of them pledged to her, most of them unpledged at this point, who said, 'Listen, she's run this race for a year-and-a-half. We need to give her some space here. If she wants to continue this campaign, we're talking, what, three weeks.' ... I did find one person saying, you know what? It's time. Let's get this done. But most of them said, play it out. We're talking June 3. Let her add up those pledged delegates and then decide. So, I didn't see any major rush to push her out" ("AC 360," 5/7).

Runner-Up Interrupted

Slate's Madden reports that last night, Clinton held a $1M fundraiser in a Washington ballroom, but before even beginning her speech, a protester interrupted, "waving a banner demanding that she apologize for promising to 'obliterate' Iran if one day it nuked Israel." Another woman stood up a few mi nutes later "flashing peace signs with both hands and yelling about Iran." The Secret Service and hotel security dragged her out, but Clinton wasn't "fazed." "I hope they paid to come," she said (5/7).

The Dem Dick Cheney?

Wolfson, asked if Clinton would accept the VP slot: "She has said very clearly that that is not something she's thinking about. She thinks it's completely premature to discuss any plans about the vice presidency. She hasn't indicated any interest in it" ("GMA," ABC, 5/8).

MSNBC's Matthews: "I think Hillary Clinton is like the woman I'm married to, that she'll always say there's a better parking space up further on. ... Don't take number two if you can get number one" ("Hardball," MSNBC, 5/7).

FNC's O'Reilly: "It's possible, but I don't see it. She'd have far more power remaining in the Senate and a good chance to win the nomination in 2012 if John McCain defeats Obama next November" ("O'Reilly Factor," 5/7).

CQ's Crawford: "I can see Hillary as the Democratic Dick Cheney back there in the White House and causing trouble" ("Verdict," MSNBC, 5/7).

Onward Methodist Soldier

"With her money drained and her options dwindling," a "resolute" Clinton visits three states today, WV again, SD and OR (Fouhy/Kuhnhenn, AP, 5/8).

Asked if Clinton will still be talking about the gas tax in WV: "Absolutely. There are some critically important distinctions between Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, and the distinctions put Senator Clinton on the side of middle class and blue-collar and working voters" ("Morning Joe," MSNBC, 5/8).

President Clinton is conducting "an old-fashioned barnstorming across" WV, reports the Charleston Gazette's Searls. He will begin the day in Barbour County and end it in Mercer County (5/8).

Why She's Not Beloved To Me

Pulitzer/Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison tells Time why she endorsed Obama over Clinton: "I thought about voting for Hillary at the beginning. I don't care that she is a woman. I need more than that. Neither his race, his gender, her race or her gender was enough. I needed something else, and the something else was his wisdom."

Asked if she regrets calling Bill Clinton the first black President, Morrison said: "People misunderstood that phrase. I was deploring the way in which President Clinton was being treated, vis-à-vis the sex scandal that was surrounding him. I said he was being treated like a black on the street, already guilty, already a perp. I have no idea what his real instincts are, in terms of race" (Sachs, 5/8).

The Honesty Papers

The Washington Times' Seper writes today that "a decade before Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton admitted fudging the truth during the presidential campaign," federal prosecutors assembled "hundreds of pages of evidence suggesting she concealed information and misled a federal grand jury" about her work for a failed AR savings & loan during the Whitewater probe.

The files would ordinarily never be made public, but Sam Dash, who served as ethics adviser to Whitewater Ind Counsel Kenneth W. Starr, donated his documents to the Library of Congress after his 2004 death. The Washington Times reviewed the papers, which "identify numerous instances in which prosecutors questioned Mrs. Clinton's honesty." Clinton, the paper says, had denied that she ever "earned a penny" representing her Rose Law firm clients, including James and Susan McDougal, the Clinton's partners in the Whitewater Development Corp. project. But the records, the paper says, show she did legal work for Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan Association "continuously" from April 1985 to July 1986.

HRC Spokesman Jay Carson: "This is a baseless accusaion which was looked into over a decade ago in an investigation that took $71.5M and eight years to determine there was no case" (5/8).

Mmmmmm, Toast

Several writers weighed in with thoughts on Clinton's decision to stay in the race, among other things. Some highlights:

In today's USA Today, Kathleen Parker asks, "why aren't more of them supporting the first woman with a shot at the presidency? Or are these questions not really the right ones to ask? Is it possible that it isn't A Woman voters are rejecting, but a particular woman? Is it possible Clinton is the wrong candidate, who just happens to be a woman?"

"Her losses are her own. It was Hillary Clinton - that particular woman, not A Woman - who failed to cinch the destiny she presumed to be hers. In trying to be all things to all people - an amorphous, tough-talking, beer-swilling, truck-stumping Mighty Hermaphrodite - rather than the whoever she really is, Clinton lost voters' confidence. Women, it turns out, are like men. They want a president they can trust" (5/8).

Washington Post's Milbank headline: "What Part of 'In It to Win It' Does America Not Understand?" More: "They say it's all over but the shouting. Fortunately, Hillary Clinton does that part very well."

Arkansas News Bureau's Brummett writes about "Bill Clinton's angst." Brummett: B. Clinton "always has been prone this way, famously undisciplined, given to untruth, hypersensitivity and temper, ever in need" of an HRC or a Betsey Wright to "put her foot down and save him from his wild-hair instincts. "But now Betsey is fighting the death penalty from the shores of Beaver Lake and Hillary also is otherwise busy. So he's out there as a political lion without his tamer."

"It has ever been so." He blew his first gub term "amid fits of headline-making pique." He blew his first nat'l political chance "with a ponderously awful speech" at a Dem convo in '88. "He once announced for re-election as governor by saying he really didn't have any desire to run. He got so mad at me that he sent me notes that his staff was horrified to learn about."

"As president, he got so furious at Brit Hume (understandably) that his staff had to collar him. He waved his finger and said he didn't have sex with that woman." He went to TX and said he was wrong to have raised taxes so much on rich people, which cut the legs out from under" Dems in Congress "who had bitten the bullet for him, and who would soon lose their majority in disastrous mid-term elections."

"Meet the new Bill, same as the old Bill" (5/8).

Bloomberg's Carlson also writes about B. Clinton. Carlson: "Shaking down the Obama campaign doesn't do much to rehabilitate Bill. That begins with letting slip in the next few days that he has urged death with dignity, and a pledge from him and his wife to fight for Obama until the last dog dies. It takes a decision to finally say goodbye to electoral politics and devote himself to the loftier calling he was pursuing so successfully when Hillary announced her campaign. For Bill, if not for Hillary, the best road back is the high one" (5/8).

New York Times' Collins: "There's no reason this can't go on for a while longer. Hillary — who's taken to mentioning her Web site address as often as the star of an infomercial — seems prepared, if necessary, to pay with her own money for the privilege of making 10 speeches a day, sleeping four hours a night and answering the same questions over and over again. Barack looks so tired that he seems ready to topple, but if you want to be the most powerful elected official on the planet, you ought to be able to outlast a 60-year-old woman. Grab that torch and head for Rapid City" (5/8).

New York Times' Kristof: After 5/6, Clinton "now has maybe a 2 percent chance of winning" the Dem nod. "But if she pursues her losing battle, she has perhaps a 20 percent chance of costing" the Dems the WH the fall "Clinton's frustration is understandable. But if it leads to the election of a president whose views and values are antithetical to everything her career has stood for, that would be inexcusable" (5/8).

Newsday's Janison writes, HRC "has been elected from" NY "long enough now to know that amazing chokes can happen. She's "had the chance to see close-up" the Yankees in '04, Alan Hevesi in '06, the Mets in '07, and Eliot Spitzer in '08. "We can't know what lurks in her heart of hearts, but perhaps she clings to the dream of becoming this season's Red Sox, or Tom DiNapoli, or the Phillies, or David Paterson" (5/8).

Chicago Sun-Times' Sweet writes that many Dems are asking HRC would stay in the race. More Sweet: "An answer I come up with is that Clinton, in the end, wants to fold when she concludes she has given this her best shot. And she's not at that place yet" (5/8).

Las Vegas Review-Journal's Neff headline: "Hillary's ready for the glue factory." More: "Clinton bred herself for the current political climate well, and she has only hardened in her resolve to prove that lineage. She has mastered the fine art of triangulation and glossing over lies as simple misspoken lines from her careful political script. But her ultimate second-place finish could come at a price similar to the one paid by Eight Belles. In American politics, it could mean a Democratic nominee so hobbled that the party's bid for the White House ends in misery, as did Saturday's first leg of the Triple Crown" (5/8).

Washington Times' Lambro asks, "what will the supporters of the losing candidate do next? ... For now, it seems, the Democrats' long nominating race comes down to a floating mathematical equation that by itself engenders suspicions on both sides" (5/8).

Politico's Simon writes, "rats don't swim toward sinking ships, and pols don’t back no losers, and this is why Hillary Clinton is in such trouble. In a relatively short amount of time, Clinton has gone from being the inevitable winner to being the underdog to being a dead woman walking."

Can she promise them she will win a majority of the pledged delegates that voters have chosen in primaries and caucuses? No. Can she promise them she can take the lead in the popular vote? No. Can she promise them she can win a majority of the primary and caucus states? No. But can she get the superdelegates to overturn the will of the voters, slap African-Americans and young voters in the face and shatter the party? Well, yeah, she can try for that Death Star option" (5/8).

Los Angeles Times' Brooks writes, "Clinton has a right to stay in the race. In fact, the issue of her 'rights' has become the dominant framework within which her supporters defend her continued candidacy. ... But how did the question of whether or not Clinton should drop out ... turn into a question of whether or not she has a 'right' to keep running? As far as I can tell, no one ... has questioned Clinton's 'right' to stay in the race. What many have wondered -- at first quietly, then with increasing volume -- is whether Clinton is right to stay in the race" (5/8).

Boston Globe's Venocchi writes, every time Obama's pastor "got him in trouble," Clinton "bailed him out." After victory in OH, she "invented the story of coming under sniper fire in Bosnia. That reminded voters of the Clinton tendency to exaggerate or lie when necessary." After victory in PA, "she embraced the idea of a gas tax holiday. That reminded voters of the Clinton tendency to pander."

"In each case, she helped Obama change the focus from his relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to the country's relationship with the Clintons. She squandered momentum from impressive victories by bringing back Clinton Fatigue. Clinton Fatigue always stood between" Clinton and the WH. "Every time Obama gave her an opportunity to overcome it, she stoked it" (5/8).

Boston Globe's Payne writes, Clinton "has finally run out of gas" (5/8).

The Hill's Stoddard writes, "she's not in it to win it anymore." Sure, Clinton "is campaigning, and could stick it out for months." But she knows "the arsenal was empty. Her remarkable two-month surge had swelled her confidence, some days making a steep uphill climb appear an effortless waltz — how could she have been losing when she was winning? But suddenly, along with the math and money, the momentum was gone" (5/8).

New York Daily News' Lupica writes, "she plods ahead now, only in the race because she won Indiana by the size of a Knicks crowd, and all Hillary Clinton has left is giving people another month of reasons not to vote for the black guy. She thinks she still has that going for her, along with the cockeyed notion that somebody who can loan herself more than $11 million to keep running for President is more of a working-class hero than Norma Rae" (5/8).

This Whole Thing Just Inks

Several newspaper ed boards also weigh in, most of them urging Clinton to withdraw. Some highlights:

Louisville Courier-Journal: Obama "was right Tuesday night not to urge Clinton to drop out of the race. She deserves the chance, if she has the money and energy to do so, to carry her message to the remaining primary states, including Kentucky" (5/8).

Los Angeles Times: "Clinton has run a long and admirable campaign. ... And yet, she has lost" (5/8).

New York Post: "The challenge before him is to get Clinton out of the race without blowing up the party - no easy feat. But managing crises is what Oval Office occupancy is all about. If Clinton proves to be too heavy a lift, what hope is there for, say, the Mideast? Or the economy?" (5/8).

Dallas Morning News: "If Clinton won't call a halt to her campaign, party leaders should. Democratic leaders could save the party from itself by cutting off contributions to Mrs. Clinton and by calling on superdelegates to commit. ... Clinton could still engineer some sort of brokered victory. But she can't fairly win the nomination" (5/8).

Boston Globe: "The battle is over, and Clinton's grit starts to look like denial. ... Clinton's resilience and determination are impressive. But the delegate math is now inexorable, and it favors Barack Obama" (5/8).

Chicago Tribune: "With six small and predictable primaries left, this isn't going to be a photo finish ... The superdelegates have plenty of information on which to place their bets. By Wednesday morning, some of them were already lining up for Obama. Good. There's no reason to wait until August to put Clinton, and the rest of us, out of our misery" (5/8).

Chicago Sun-Times: "Hillary, it's time to call it quits. Don't do it for Barack Obama. Don't do it for the Democratic Party. ... Yes, Hillary, America is worth fighting for. But the best way to fight for America now is to give up the fight" (5/8).

Philadelphia Inquirer: "More than ever, Clinton seems to be pinning her dwindling hopes on lobbying uncommitted Democratic superdelegates to support her. But those superdelegates - mostly elected party officials - know the risk in offending all of the new voters that Obama has generated" (5/8).

Newark Star-Ledger: On 5/6, voters "handed Clinton an envelope with a pink slip. So far, she's re fusing to open it, but its message is clear. The sooner she acknowledges that, the better. ... It's over now, or should be" (5/8).

Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Obama has won. It's now only a matter of time until enough superdelegates step forward and make the outcome official. ... Proclaiming him unelectable and out of touch with average Americans at this point diminishes both Democratic candidates - and thus helps only" McCain. "That can't be a legacy Clinton desires" (5/8).

Concord Monitor headline: "Note to Hillary: Ignore calls to quit the race." More: "The TV talkers are screaming for her head. Election math makes the possibility of her success more and more remote." Her win in IN "was close;" her loss in NC "was big." She's "short on cash. Yesterday, former senator George McGovern defected from her camp and urged her to admit defeat. And yet ... Obama hasn't won."

"Our advice to Clinton is this: Tune out the naysayers and keep on going" (5/8).

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