Hillary Deathwatch: Another former Clintonite throws his hat in the O-ring.

Down and on the way out.
April 18 2008 3:06 PM

The Hillary Deathwatch

Another former Clintonite throws his hat in the O-ring.

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9.9%

As we've noted here before, Hillary Clinton must convince voters—well, superdelegates actually—of two things: not only that she's the best candidate, but that she's so the best candidate that it's worth dragging this election out at least until June 3, the day of the last primary. That's why the endorsement of Obama by Robert Reich, a longtime Clinton family friend and labor secretary in Bill's administration, is pretty bad news for her. Even if most people don't give a damn who Reich personally favors for president, this kind of Bill Richardson-style betrayal reminds us that the establishment is slouching toward Obama. That, along with reports that superdelegates are unmoved by her attacks, forces us to dock Clinton 0.8 points, bringing her to 9.9 percent going into the weekend.

Clinton still knows how to slap on a smile, though. Her cameo on The Colbert Report last night went over well, as she pretended to help Stephen fix the video system. ("Try toggling the input.") The senator was outshined, however, by a scene-stealing John Edwards, whose six-minute delivery of "the EdWORDs" almost made you wish he was still in the race.

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Yesterday's news was dominated largely by fallout from the ABC debate, which caused quite a backlash (with some exceptions) for its focus on gaffes and personal associations. Whatever questions it may have raised about Obama in the long run—particularly his relationship with former Weatherman Bill Ayers—he appears to have benefited in the short term due to the night's "negativity," turning the harsh spotlight into a fundraising call.

Oh, and speaking of debates, it looks like Wednesday's was the last one. Obama strongly hints that he will not agree to an April 27 debate in North Carolina, adding that "I could deliver Senator Clinton's lines; I'm sure she could deliver mine." That's one less chance for Clinton to knock him down.

Meanwhile, the Obama endorsement train trundles along. Two national security gurus, former Sens. Sam Nunn and David Boren, throw their hats in the O-ring.

T-minus three days to Pennsylvania.

For a full list of our Deathwatches, click here. For a primer on Hillary's sinking ship, visit our first Deathwatch entry. Send your own prognostications to hillarydeathwatch@gmail.com.

Chris Wilson is a Slate contributor.