North Carolina And Indiana Reax


John Podhoretz:

The key thing about this night for the Democrats is that it appears Barack Obama has actually done better than expected. It’s the first time we’ve been able to say this about Obama since early February. Ever since, it’s always been Hillary doing better than anybody expected. Her “better thans” have run out.


May 20 -- that's the date when the campaign unofficially expects to "clinch" the nomination -- when they'll officially have a majority of pledged delegates, which triggers, in their view, the standard for superdelegate decision-making set by party leaders like Nancy Pelosi. As of tonight, Obama will be between 35 and 43 pledged delegates votes away from achieving that majority.


Tonight, I think, marks the end of the Clinton campaign.

I mean, it’s been over for some time, but tonight sucked the wind out of her rationale for staying in particularly if Indiana flips when the Chicago vote comes in. Math-wise, tonight’s elections don’t change much. The math is bad for Clinton, and it got worse tonight. But Clinton’s strategy in recent months hasn’t been about math (i.e., making up significant pledged delegate numbers). It’s been about perceptions.

Isaac Chotiner:

If indeed the gas tax issue hurt Clinton in Indiana, there is something nice about the fact that pandering--whether over the gas tax in Indiana on Clinton's part, or over NAFTA in Ohio on Obama's part--has boomeranged. (So

Ezra Klein:

Coming off the rough few weeks Obama has had (gas tax, Wright, bittergate, Pennsylvania, etc), this looks pretty bad for Clinton. She needed to cement impressions of his weakness and her comeback by burying Obama in Indiana and hold his margin to low single digits in North Carolina. Instead, he's held her in Indiana and looks to be blowing past expectations in North Carolina.


...given the present state of play, tonight's results will suit Obama just fine. Not only can he legitimately claim to have "stopped the bleeding," but his lead among non-superdelegates seems insurmountable. Simply put, Clinton's recent string of good results, as impressive as it is, seems to fall short of what is needed to convince superdelegates to reverse the overall result of the primaries and caucuses.


If Clinton were to drop out this week, we'd face an uncomfortable situation in West Virginia, with Clinton likely crushing Obama. That would look terrible for the presumptive nominee. Better than that would be to garner enough superdelegate commitments this week, so that Oregon can push Obama past 2,024. That way, it isn't the supers who clinch it for Obama, but actual voters.


As we wait to hear from Indiana, it's always worth recalling that there's no real substantial difference between a narrow win in Indiana and a narrow loss in Indiana. A lot of our primary punditry has proceeded as if this is the electoral college and there's a huge difference, but the Democrats' rules for delegate allocation assures at this point that Indiana's going to be a push while Obama picks up a nice parcel of delegates out of North Carolina.

Megan on the TV campaign surrogates:

If only one could put out political blather with a little stop, drop and roll.

(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty.)