A slew of California endorsements brings Obama closer to the magic number.

Down and on the way out.
May 16 2008 3:29 PM

The Hillary Deathwatch

A slew of California endorsements brings Obama closer to the magic number.

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The John Edwards endorsement spawns imitators, and Republicans set their sights on Obama. Clinton's chances wane another 0.1 points to 1.7 percent.

Obama nabbed a slew of endorsements yesterday on the heels of Edwards' announcement, including California duo Reps. Henry Waxman and Howard Berman. Waxman's backing doesn't carry the weight of a Pelosi or a Reid, but as chair of the House oversight committee, he's considered one of the most powerful congressmen around. (His may be the most feared mustache in Washington.) Berman chairs the chamber's foreign-affairs committee, lending Obama another bit of global-policy cred. Today, fellow California Rep. Pete Stark followed suit. That puts Obama 127.5 delegates away from the nomination (or 121.5 if you count seven pledged delegates who previously supported Edwards).

Meanwhile, President Bush's veiled shot at Obama yesterday may be the best thing to happen to the senator since Iowa. Obama took immediate umbrage and fired back with a "vigorous response" to Bush's "outrageous" accusation. That Bush even deigned to reference Obama—although the White House denies he was talking about the senator—is itself a sort of coronation. And other Republicans are following suit. Today Mitch McConnell slammed both Democratic candidates in a speech to the NRA but reserved special words for Obama's "bitter" comments.

Oh, almost forgot: next week's primaries. The most recent Kentucky poll confirms that Obama's in for a thumping there, while he maintains a single-digit lead in Oregon. He'll likely declare victory no matter what, since he's only 16 pledged delegates away from snagging a pledged-delegate majority. (NBC puts him at 1,601 right now out of 3,254 total.) But as the Clinton camp will point out, it all depends on what your definition of victory is. Is the magic number 2,025 or 2,210? Does the popular vote trump pledged delegates? Are caucus states really states at all? Stay tuned!

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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.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.

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