Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hillary's Dwindling Options?

Adam Nagourney's pumped out some on-deadline analysis announcing Hillary Clinton's "dwindling options":
In this case, even a split would not be a draw.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s loss in North Carolina on Tuesday night, combined with a tight race in Indiana, where the counting continued deep into the night, did nothing to improve her chances of securing the Democratic presidential nomination. If anything, Mrs. Clinton’s options for overtaking Senator Barack Obama may have dwindled further.

For Mr. Obama, the outcome came after a brutal period in which he was on the defensive over the inflammatory comments of his former pastor. That he was able, at a minimum, to hold his own under those circumstances should allow him to make a case that he has proved his resilience in the face of questions about race, values and patriotism — the very kinds of issues that the Clinton campaign has suggested would leave him vulnerable in the general election.

When paired with Mr. Obama’s comfortable victory in North Carolina, a bigger state, Mrs. Clinton’s performance in Indiana did not seem to be enough to cut into Mr. Obama’s lead in pledged delegates or in his overall lead in the popular vote. And because Mrs. Clinton did not appear to come particularly close in North Carolina, despite a substantial effort there, she lost an opportunity to sow new doubts among Democratic leaders about Mr. Obama’s general-election appeal.
Well, actually, since the mathematical gap's not changing all that much, much of what happens over the next few days will be determined by the media cycle.

Clinton's options have continued to dwindle under proportional delegate allocation rules, so it's really been about momentum these last few weeks. The big argument this last week is that Clinton had to win Indiana to remain viable, to have a compelling case for continuing, one that staunches any big crossover in superdelegates to the Obama side.

CNN's still holding off on calling the race, with 95% reporting, Clinton's still leading, at 10:07pm PST.