Hillary Clinton's strategists are preparing an all-out bid for support from superdelegates as their last, best hope of winning the Democratic presidential nomination. "Come June [after the last primary], the superdelegates are going to look at a Barack Obama who has finally been more vetted and will look at a Hillary who has been completely vetted and who will be surging after wins in Ohio and Texas and presumably Pennsylvania," says a senior Clinton adviser.
The adviser predicts that Obama's changing positions on issues ranging from free trade to "single payer" healthcare will undermine his popularity and that his inexperience on national-security and economic issues will contribute to buyer's remorse on the part of many delegates. The furor over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's anti-American and antiwhite statements is also hurting Obama among voters who are troubled by his longtime association with the controversial Chicago pastor.
Clinton and Obama will be separated by only about 100 delegates in June out of more than 4,000 who will cast ballots at the convention, Clinton insiders predict. "It will be essentially even," the adviser adds," and the superdelegates will have to make a decision.... Who can beat John McCain?"
There are about 800 superdelegates--mainly elected officials and party activists--whose votes aren't tied to caucuses or primaries. Clinton insiders hold out a slim hope that delegates from the disputed primaries in Florida and Michigan (which Clinton won) will be counted at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this August. If that happens, they say, Obama's lead could be cut to only about a dozen delegates.
By Kenneth T. Walsh