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It's The Caucuses, Stupid

CBS News political consultant Joe Trippi notes that the focus on caucus contests by Barack Obama's campaign not only has paid off nicely but is also the primary reason he's got a 110 delegate lead over Hillary Clinton, according to CBS News estimates. Obama's win in today's Wyoming caucuses netted him a total of 2 delegates but his focus on these types of contests have given him a solid lead overall. Here's Trippi's take:

According to the CBS delegates estimate we are projecting 1,570 delegates for Obama and 1,460 delegates for Clinton, a 110 delegate lead for Obama.

But look at the caucus states before today and you can see where Obama gained his lead and where the Clinton campaign blundered so badly they may not be able to recover and win the nomination (see here for the full tally).

Clinton contested three caucus states -- Iowa, New Mexico and Nevada. She won two of the three, kept Iowa close and tied Obama 41 delegates to 41 delegates across all three states.

Obama won all the other uncontested caucus states by astoundingly large margins. In these states Obama won 232 delegates to Clinton's 110 delegates, a full 122 delegate advantage for Obama.

In other words Obama leads Clinton by 110 delegates but he gained a 122 delegate advantage (more than his entire delegate lead to date) in states in which Clinton did not compete. Clinton virtually handed Obama the delegate lead that seems so insurmountable today.

If Clinton fails to win the nomination it will be the blunder of failing to contest every caucus state that will have cost her the prize. It was either a blunder of strategy or a blunder of failing to guard the resources needed to put organizers on the ground to contest these states.

Today the Clinton campaign has shifted strategy -- contesting for every vote and every delegate in the Wyoming caucuses. But does the shift come 122 delegates too late.

A failure of her campaign -- not a failure of Clinton as a candidate -- may have cost Hillary the nomination.

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