The Washington Times - March 3, 2008, 12:55PM
\ March 3, 2008\ To: Interested Parties\ From: David Plouffe, Campaign Manager, Obama for America\ RE: The Real Meaning of March 4th\ \ \ Clinton Chief Strategist Mark Penn: “After March 4th, over 3000 delegates will be committed, and we project that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be virtually tied with 611 delegates still to be chosen in Pennsylvania and other remaining states. Again and again, this race has shown that it is voters and delegates who matter, not the pundits or perceived ‘momentum.’” [Mark Penn memo, 2/13/08]\ \ \ Clinton aide Guy Cecil: “We think that at the end of the day on March 4 we will be within 25 delegates.” [Politico, 2/13/08]\ \ \ Howard Wolfson: “I Think We Will Be Ahead In The Delegate Race After Texas And Ohio.” [Clinton campaign conference call, 2/11/08]\ \ \ New York Times: “Clinton advisers have said Mrs. Clinton must win the Texas and Ohio primaries by at least 10 percentage points if she has any hope of catching up with Mr. Obama in the delegate count, particularly because he has shown momentum recently at picking up support from elected officials who count as superdelegates.” [NYT, 2/22/08]\ \ \ —————————————————————-\ \ \ By their own clear definition of where they expected and believed they needed to be after Ohio and Texas, the Clinton campaign will fall terribly short on March 4th. The Obama pledged delegate lead stands at 162. The question for the Clinton campaign if they do not significantly erode that lead on Tuesday is what plausible path they have to even up the pledged delegates in the remaining contests.\ \ \ There are 611 pledged delegates left after March 4th’s contests. They would need to win at least 62% of all remaining pledged delegates to get back to even. And while they have often talked about Pennsylvania — where public polls show their lead deteriorating rapidly — the Wyoming caucuses on March 8th and Mississippi primary or March 11th could potentially result in more pledged delegates netted to the winner than on March 4th.\ \ \ So it is clear that narrow popular vote wins in Texas and Ohio will do very little to improve their nearly impossible path to the nomination. If they do not win Texas and Ohio by healthy double digit margins — and they led by healthy double digit margins as recently as two weeks ago — they will be facing almost impossible odds to reverse the delegate math.\ \ \ While the Clintons gamely continue to try to move the goal posts, at some point there has to be a reckoning. It is a very simple question — what is their path to secure the nomination? No amount of spin can change the math. We look forward to their tortured answers on Wednesday morning.\ \ \ The Clinton campaign has insisted that this is a race about delegates. And we agree. The tale of March 4th is not who wins what states but where the delegate battle stands after all the delegate yield for all four of these contests have been allocated.
Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter, The Washington Times SEE RELATED: