Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and her advisers increasingly believe that, after a series of losses, she has been boxed into a must-win position in the Ohio and Texas primaries on March 4, and she has begun reassuring anxious donors and superdelegates that the nomination is not slipping away from her, aides said on Monday.Admittedly, Texas and Ohio are important to her strategy. One cannot let these two prizes go by without scooping up a lot of delegates.
Keep in mind a few other contests:
Wisconsin - Wisconsin is heavily unionized, heavily blue collar and heavily white. She should do extremely well here. Obama still hasn't made inroads into this base, which is the meat-and-potatoes of the Reagan Democrat vote.
So much for "Yes, We Can"...
Pennsylvania - This is an interesting contest, pitting the eastern intelligentsia versus the western rural vote, plus Pittsburgh (another blue collar working class town). Gov. Ed Rendell has endorsed Clinton. Clinton should do well in the west, with Obama picking up State College & Philadelphia. The surprise will be Hillary's clean sweep of northeastern towns like Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, I think, continuing the trend from New York state of shutting down Obama anywhere an Ivy League college isn't available to him.
Virginia - While Obama stands a very good chance in the NoVa region, I think Clinton will show surprising strength outside of the DC area. While Jim Webb has not endorsed anyone, his policies and votes lead one to believe he's backing Hillary and has made private appeals to voters, and while Obama has picked up a key endorsement in Congressman Rick Boucher, Clinton blunts that with the endorsement of Del Phillips. This could be the section of the state that determines the primary, and if Obama can prevail here, it will demonstrate inroads into the working class vote.
Personally, I don't think he stands a chance, because these are people who have heard messages of hope before, and been sorely burned, except by Bill Clinton. They remember.
Clinton's real obstacle is money: despite raising ten million and more since Feb. 1, Obama has a confortable cushion in money at hand.
Indeed, part of the campaign staff shake up by Clinton was the wasted money in Iowa, where the campaign really stood no chance of winning, and spent an awful lot of money for a third place finish.
One more thing: keep in mind that John Edwards' voters have split about 40% to Clinton, 25% to Obama, with 35% undecided until they step into a voting booth. The collapsed conference between Edwards and Obama yesterday is a troubling sign for Obama backers, to be sure, and is indicative of Edwards' reluctance to back a candidate his own followers seem hesitant to vote for.
UPDATE: Slate seems to agree with me.