Obama Aides: It'll Be A Long Haul

Advisers to Barack Obama are increasingly convinced that the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination will continue past February 5, when 24 states will hold nominating contests, including California, New York, and New Jersey.

"It will not be finished February 5," says a senior Obama strategist. But he admits that a lot depends on the outcome of the South Carolina primary for the Democrats on January 26. If Obama wins there, he will revive his momentum going into the Florida primary January 29 and Mega Tuesday on February 5. Then the battle will move to the contests of mid- and late February and early March.

If Obama loses South Carolina to Hillary Clinton, it will be a very serious setback, Obama advisers admit privately.

By Kenneth T. Walsh