Ohio And Texas
This is absolutely a firewall for Clinton. And I believe that, unless Obama breaks through in one of these two big states on March 4, he can't win the nomination. Obama's going to have a lot of opportunities between now and then, including Washington state, Maryland, D.C., Virginia, Hawaii, etc. But if he can't win big states, he's not going to be able to catch up, and Clinton will have the delegate lead going to the convention, both from superdelegates and pledged delegates. She'll also be able to say that she won all the biggest states in the country that her opponent doesn't live in. Here's Joe Trippi:
He's got a good set of states coming up. February 9, Louisiana. He should do well in Nebraska and the Virgin Islands. I don't know if Nebraska is a primary or a caucus. If it's a caucus, he has a shot. [Note: It is.] The twelfth, you've got Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, where Doug Wilder was governor. So he could sweep those. He could be right back in it. The door slammer could be March 4: Ohio and Texas on the same day. So, she starts, has a great Super Tuesday, but it appears he's coming back because of Louisiana, the Virgin Islands, Virginia, D.C., Maryland. Then does she slam the door shut in Texas and Ohio? I don't know. Texas is a tough one for me. I don't know which one they [the Obama campaign] go for. It's not a natural place for either one. Ohio--she's got Governor Strickland.
Obama is claiming victory for yesterday, but he lost New Jersey and Massachusetts by double-digits, and California by 9. (If the late absentee votes and the double bubble trouble make this closer, perhaps the narrative is different.)
I could be wrong about this. Obama could have a decent enough pledged delegate lead going into March 4, and Clinton could bring it back down to a tie. Maybe Michigan and Florida (shudder) and superdelegates do come into play. But if Clinton wins every big state, I simply can't see how Obama goes on.
This is interesting:
He also told us something I didn't know about Texas, which has often been assigned to the Clinton column: It's a mixed primary and caucus system, with two-thirds of the delegates awarded through primaries and a third through caucuses open only to primary voters.
"It is an organizationally very intensive system and one that we think we are very well set up to execute," he said.
Hm. I think Obama's going all-in for Texas. His South Carolina field team is headed there. But you can't run a precinct operation in Texas, it's too massive.
UPDATE: Oh crap.
Hillary advisers also disputed the Obama camp's claim of a lead among delegates, arguing that they were ahead when you factor in superdelegates.
If Mark Penn is bringing superdelegates into play and defying the will of the voters, that's a problem. I really hope superdelegates, Michigan and Florida don't come into play. But it could.