Posted Tuesday, March 4, 2008, at 1:05 PM
Sometimes the campaigns sound like they’re speaking two different languages. The Clinton team often speaks only in terms of total delegates, whereas the Obama people talk in terms of pledged delegates. Clinton’s camp uses the term "automatic delegates," whereas Obama’s sticks with "superdelegates." Tonight could produce another semantic split: Are we including Texas caucus results or not?
The last Ohio and Texas polls close at 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET, respectively. But Texas’ caucuses don’t even start until after that, which means we won’t know the full results until late in the night.
Hillary Clinton should be perfectly fine with that. If she gives her speech tonight around 9:30 ET, she’ll avoid having to address what could be an Obama rout in the Texas caucuses. (See
for theories about why Obama does better in caucuses.) On a conference call yesterday, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson hinted that Texas’ caucus results would not factor into their interpretation of who won the day’s election. If Clinton is lucky, she’ll be able to shape the night’s narrative before the caucuses are even over.
It’s hard to imagine that spin surviving the night, however. Whatever happens in Ohio and Texas, everyone will wake up Wednesday morning with the cold hard numbers of the delegate count staring them in the face. And for better or worse, Texas’ caucus commands 67 delegates —more than Rhode Island alone.