The Hillary Deathwatch
Dubious supporters and money woes drive Clinton's odds ever downward.
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More Clinton supporters get antsy, Obama unveils a bold new strategy to ignore Clinton, and her money woes could be deeper than expected. All of which sinks Clinton's chances another 0.2 points to 2.3 percent.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, an early and dogged supporter of Hillary Clinton, voiced doubts that Clinton "can get the delegates that she needs" to the Hill yesterday. Feinstein also cited "negative dividends" from the race dragging on much longer. Combined with yesterday's McGovern defection, dissent in the ranks seems to be spreading.
Meanwhile, less money is causing more problems for the Clinton camp. On Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos claims that Clinton's campaign debt is greater than the $10 million previously reported: "It could be double that, maybe even more." After the announcement yesterday of Clinton's $6.4 million self-loan—in addition to her $5 million loan in January—it looks as if money woes could be even more daunting than the delegate count. She should start referring to herself as "HillaryClinton.com."
There's one mitigating factor for Clinton: Obama only won four superdelegates yesterday, while Clinton netted zero—she won the endorsement of North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler, * but lost another to Obama. Now Clinton leads by a mere 13 supers. But shouldn't Obama be a super magnet after a seemingly decisive day like May 6 *? This just confirms what we've known all along: Superdelegates are terrified of Hillary.
Speaking of which, Clinton has a new strategy: Say Obama can't win white voters. This, just as three extremely white states—West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oregon—prepare to vote. Obama's strategy: Ignore Clinton and focus on McCain. Watch this awkward dynamic escalate as long as Clinton stays in the race: Clinton ratchets up the rhetoric, while Obama pretends she doesn't exist. If an attack ad airs in Montana, but no one responds, does it make a sound?
Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.
Illustration by Rob Donnelly.