What's next for the Democrats?

March 5, 2008 6:57:08 PM PST
Hillary Clinton's campaign, that many thought was on the ropes, is battling back. But even after the big wins of Tuesday, Barack Obama is leading in the race for delegates by more than 100.

It is no surprise that the Obama campaign was majoring in math Wednesday, not political science, and when they analyzed Tuesday night, their delegate lead has only been cut by 10 at worst.

But the Obama campaign does realize that most people like politics more than math and that Clinton's attacks on Obama's judgment, leadership and experience have inflicted some serious political damage in Texas and Ohio. So they're about to start whacking back.

"We set out to make the contrast about who could be the best commander in chief and who could turn the economy around, and the voters of Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island, they responded overwhelmingly," Clinton said on "Good Morning America" Wednesday.

She said the voters are finally starting to get it, that she's a lot more qualified than Obama to run the country and handle a crisis because of her experience and her leadership.

"Now it's a real choice because we know who the republican nominee is going to be. And I think voters are going to want someone who can stand up on that stage, toe to toe, with John McCain, and I offer that," said Clinton.

"Senator Clinton is tenacious. And she keeps on ticking, and we've just got to make sure that we continue to work hard in every contest," said Obama.

Obama admitted during his "Good Morning America" appearance that the Clintons' bare knuckles campaign did have an impact. But on the flight back to Chicago from San Antonio a bit later, Obama maintained that she only picked up a few delegates Tuesday night. He is still in the driver's seat. And his campaign is going to start putting the same kind of sheet on her that she's been putting on him.

"I know she talks about visiting 80 countries. It's not clear, was she negotiating a treaty or agreement or was she handling crises during this period of time? My sense is the answer is no. So, you know, I have not seen any evidence that she's better equipped to handle a crisis," said Obama.

"She talks about health care. Her health care effort was a failure because it was too secretive; she didn't bring people together to get it done. Her signature foreign policy decision in her whole lifetime was the Iraq war, which she got decidedly wrong," said David Plouffe, Obama Campaign Manager.

"Hillary Clinton is the most vetted candidate that's ever run for president. She's been investigated up and down and never found to have done anything she's been accused of. The real question is, has Senator Obama been fully vetted?" said J.B. Pritzker, Clinton Campaign.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is supporting Obama. But he has a warning for both campaigns.

"There should not be bitterness or hatred of a candidate or their family. I believe that, whether state, local or national campaigns. We can't get like this," he said.

And that of course is what everyone is worried about, this degenerating into a slugfest that hurts the party as they go up against John McCain.

The Clinton campaign is trying to raise $3 million in 24 hours for the upcoming states. Hillary is telling another morning show that she can easily envision a Clinton-Obama ticket or maybe the other way around. And Bill Clinton, who is a big help to his wife in Ohio, and even more so in Texas, is already back on the road to the next states - Wyoming and Mississippi, while the challengers themselves took a day off the campaign trail, sort of.

Wyoming will vote Saturday. Mississippi will vote on Tuesday March 11. The next big test, with 158 delegates, is Pennsylvania on April 22.

Wyoming a caucus state, which has favored Obama. Mississippi, with a large number of African American voters, is also very good for Obama. Pennsylvania is much more like Ohio, with blue collar workers, many women, which is good Clinton country. And the Pennsylvania governor, like the governor of Ohio, supports Clinton.

The big question now is what about Michigan and Florida? They were the states disallowed because they moved their primaries up.

Clinton wants them back, but Obama took himself off the ballot in Michigan. So the best bet right now is that we may have do-overs in those two states in June.