The bottom line for tonight: both fields of spin have within them a few grains of truth. It's still likely that Obama wins the nomination, and it's true that his pledged delegate lead will still be in excess of 150 when tonight ends; it's true that Clinton will have 158 fewer delegates to play with; that Obama has a strong chance to win in Indiana and North Carolina; that the superdelegates may well consider the cost of a prolonged contest as well as their own feelings about electability -- all this is true.
But it's also true that were Obama an organic frontrunner, he ought to a win a state like Pennsylvania unless he fully embraces the racial and geographic determinism that his campaign has run against since for fifteen months. He's outspent Clinton by at least six million dollars; Clinton has higher negatives across the board; he's visited the state nearly as many times as she has; his press coverage is better than hers; he has well more than her 5,000 volunteers on the ground.
As Jake-o writes:
But what's so crazy about the idea that the Democratic frontrunner -- flush with cash and outspending Clinton 3-to-1, running against a candidate with such high unfavorable ratings -- should be able to win a blue state primary?
The Obama campaign seems to recognize that their short term spin efforts aren't likely to be all that persuasive. Where campaign manager David Plouffe once held daily conference calls imploring the press to look at the reality of the delegate math and declare the race over, Obama himself seems to be resigned, maybe, or encouraged, about running the clock out and proving, once and for all, that he can win by winning votes. Notice that the Obama campaign is slyly and not dishonestly accepting the implied Clinton argument that by staying in the race, she's toughening him up and putting him through the ringer early on.