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Clinton's Game Day

(CBS)
From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:

HOUSTON -- After 11 straight losses and a campaign shakeup, Hillary Clinton's staff still remains "optimistic" about her chances. A senior adviser to the Clinton campaign tells CBS News that despite the ups and downs of the campaign in the run up to today's primaries, "our people are more optimistic than we let on." The reason? "Polls remain up in Ohio and our base groups are holding in Texas," said the adviser.

The campaign credits this last-minute optimism to the ability to control the media message in recent days. For weeks, the campaign has complained that reporters have unfairly targeted Clinton throughout the nomination process and that her opponent, Barack Obama, has enjoyed an easier ride. But in recent days, the campaign re-jiggered its message to focus more on national security through the use of the now-famous "3 a.m. phone call" TV ad.

During a press conference with reporters Clinton admitted that the ad was helping her message. "I think the jarring image of the phone call, which happens and is part of being president, helps to concentrate people's attentions in ways that all the descriptives just don't."

The adviser said, "We've had a run of good days driving the message, dominating on economy in Ohio and national security in Texas."
"Hillary has really hit her stride on the stump, despite a grueling schedule and the discouraging national horserace narrative."

The campaign seems upbeat and confident this morning.

"We're going to have a good day," said the adviser and during a conference call with reporters yesterday, Clinton's chief pollster, Mark Penn, echoed a similar view. Of course, showing no confidence probably isn't the best course of action right before a series of must-win primaries.

Meantime, during a campaign event in Houston last night, Obama was downplaying expectations, trying not to appear overconfident heading into today's contests.

"Here we are with the possibility of winning the nomination but here's the thing that people have to understand is that change is not easy. Sometimes I think during the course of a campaign particularly one that has been winning...things don't always go as they should. Things are not always easy. But we are willing to go forward even when it's hard," said Obama.

The Clinton adviser added, "The Obama campaign will try to declare the race over no matter what happens, but tomorrow could well be in a whole new ballgame."

CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic contributed to this report.