The Hillary Clinton Deathwatch.

Down and on the way out.
April 1 2008 2:23 PM

The Hillary Deathwatch

Clinton vows to stay in the race despite financial woes, more Obama endorsements, and bad news from Texas.

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UPDATE: Clinton's chances of winning have already gone up 0.2 percent since we wrote this. Click here for the latest Deathwatch odds.

Lots of Clinton news over the weekend, not all bad—but bad enough to dock her another 0.6 points in the Rodhameter, bringing her chances of winning to 9.7 percent.

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Roughest of all is the latest national Gallup poll, which gives Obama a margin-of-error-busting lead of 10 points—his largest this year. Rather than destroying him, maybe the Jeremiah Wright flap only made him stronger (in the short term, at least). That, or Bosnia is the new macaca.

But Clinton soldiers on. She vowed to the Washington Post on Saturday that she would continue to the convention in August. We would take her word for it, if promising to push on weren't a frequent predictor of doing just the opposite. Meanwhile, Obama ratcheted down the "Hillary must go" rhetoric, saying she can stay in the race as long as she wants. Smart move to soften the drop-out drumbeat, even if he himself never called for her to exit. Too much cockiness could stoke a backlash.

Clinton still leads among superdelegates, 250 to 217, but Obama continues to close the gap. Today, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar endorses Obama—the 64th superdelegate to swing his way since Feb. 5. (Clinton has lost at least eight in that same period.) Everyone saw it coming, but a nail is still a nail. Make that another prominent white woman (on top of Claire McCaskill, Janet Napolitano, and Kathleen Sebelius) who doesn't think Hillary should be the nominee. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that Obama has seven North Carolina superdelegates lined up to endorse.

Things look equally dire on the financial front, as the Clinton campaign struggles to pay its bills in a timely fashion. As the Politico's Ken Vogel reported over the weekend, "If she had paid off the $8.7 million in unpaid bills she reported as debt and had not loaned her campaign $5 million, she would have been nearly $3 million in the red at the end of February." That the unpaid bills include health insurance costs doesn't help.

But, hey, at least Clinton can make the case that she won big states like Texas, right? Sadly, no. Final numbers are still trickling in from the district and county conventions Texas held on Saturday (Step 2 in the state's electoral freak show), but it looks like Obama won the day—and, by extension, the state's March 4vote. Clinton netted five delegates in the primary, but Obama's estimated nine-delegate net in the caucus puts him ahead of her. Clinton will continue to say she won Texas, but if you're talking about delegates, she didn't.

Meanwhile, violence in Iraq intensified—then cooled—as the Maliki government cracked down on Shiite militias in Basra and Baghdad. For Hillary, the Iraq imbroglio is double-edged. On the one hand, Clinton loves her a national-security debate. But on the other, it steers discussion back to that pesky 2003 authorization vote. Last time we checked, Clinton was nudging the convo away from Iraq and toward Afghanistan, the invasion everyone can agree on.

So, with a dip in the polls, another superdelegate lost, mounting debt, and ugly numbers in Texas, the outlook in Hillaryland remains bleak. On Saturday, Clinton compared the race to a basketball game: "You know, we are in the fourth quarter and it is a close contest. We are running up and down. We are taking shots." The metaphor would work if she mentioned that Obama is up by 124 points, he has the ball, and Clinton has been missing shots all quarter. All she has now is hustle.

For a primer on Hillary's sinking ship, visit our first Deathwatch entry.

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