Hillary’s Therapeutic Victory

Congrats Hillary. You did what hubby Bill, last week, said you must. And proved once again: Clintons do their best when their back is against the wall. You effectively halted Senator Barack Obama’s seemingly unstoppable momentum by scoring big victories in Texas and Ohio and picking up tiny Rhode Island for good measure. Now what?

For even if she wins every contest left, Clinton still would have a hard time overcoming Illinois Senator’s pledged delegate lead. Clinton’s best hope is to try to rack up big margins in the spring contests. Even her own advisers acknowledge Obama will probably win the two other states left this month – Wyoming on Saturday and Mississippi next Tuesday. If she is able to continue turning voters against Obama in the races after that, she could plausibly clinch the nomination by persuading super delegates to back her. It won’t be easy, though.

Her success Tuesday night came after she put a series of hits on Obama. She ran TV ads that questioned his foreign policy credentials – one that pointed out he didn’t call hearings on the fight against terrorists in Afghanistan and another fear-inducing piece that depicted her as the best candidate to handle an international crisis that erupts when US sleeps. Her campaign tried to raise more questions about Obama’s connections to an indicted fundraiser as he went on the trail.

With seven weeks until Pennsylvania, there’s plenty of time for the race to get even uglier. Be that as it may. It was surely a big night for Clinton, a vital restorative to a campaign that had been written off in the last few weeks. With Tuesday victories Clinton could make a strong case that she had won all the big states to have voted so far ñ California, Texas, Ohio, New York and New Jersey. Her campaign will also redouble its efforts to allow delegates from Michigan and Florida, two other big states Clinton won but whose votes were disqualified because the two broke Democratic party rules.

Most encouraging for Clinton was that she seemed to have reconstituted her coalition of traditional Democratic voters. These voters ñ blue collar workers, union members, women, older voters and Hispanics had been the keys to her victories in earlier states but she seemed to have lost her edge among them during Obama’s recent winning streak. But in both Texas and Ohio, according to the exit polls, Clinton won those voters back.

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