Political Capital with John Harwood

Tuesday Primaries: What Hillary Won -- And Didn't Win

Here’s what happened in last night’s primaries.

--Hillary Clinton showed impressive resilience in surviving an onslaught of momentum and money for Barack Obama. She did it with grit and perhaps even a little humor, including appearances on Saturday Night Live and Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.

--By winning Ohio and Texas, she strengthened her argument that she’s the Democrat who can win the biggest states.

--She benefited from anxieties over the economy in Ohio, exit polls showed, and from the desire of her base constituencies to keep this race going. Those base constituencies include women, working-class whites, and Hispanics.

--She showed the ability to wound Obama on issues of experience, authenticity and his relationship with controversial hometown donor Tony Rezko.

But here’s what didn’t happen:

--Clinton didn’t dent Obama’s lead in delegates won so far, now around 150.

--She didn’t upend the financial advantage that leaves Obama with more cash for contests remaining through June, from Wyoming to Puerto Rico.

--She didn’t extinguish the enthusiasm for Obama among young voters, African-Americans and upscale Democrats that has moved him into the national polling lead.

Obama remains the favorite, but either of these candidates will need “super delegates” to win the nomination. Clinton’s goal is narrowing his lead in delegates won from around 150; one adviser told me “the magic number” is getting that total below 100, which could allow super-delegates to back her without appearing to overturn a clear verdict from Democratic voters.

One wild card: the increasing likelihood of “do-over” contests in Michigan and Florida -- two more big states whose earlier primaries were stripped of their delegates, because they were held earlier than party rules allowed.


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