By Daniel Politi, Today’s News, Slate Magazine
The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal‘s world-wide newsbox all lead with the fallout from Tuesday’s primaries. Sen. Hillary Clinton was already facing an uphill battle, but she awoke yesterday to a decidedly changed mood and a growing feeling that her quest for the nomination is simply a lost cause. Many are already referring to Sen. Barack Obama as the presumptive nominee. “Suddenly, a primary day that few expected to be decisive in the Democrats’ long and close contest was interpreted on all sides as a game-changer,” notes the WSJ. But Clinton vowed to stay in the race, and in order to quell any doubts about her determination, she campaigned in West Virginia, where she assured reporters that she’ll keep going “until there is a nominee.” Her advisers also publicly dismissed the idea that there had been any discussions about dropping out.
In a sign of Clinton’s growing financial troubles, her advisers confirmed that she had lent her campaign $6.4 million in the last month, on top of an earlier $5 million infusion from her personal coffers. Though previous signs of financial trouble had brought cash into the Clinton campaign, the NYT says that even her advisers expressed concern that her online fundraising efforts aren’t going as well as in the past. Meanwhile, some of her supporters are also expressing doubts about whether there’s a path to victory. Everyone points out that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a big Clinton backer, said that she wants to “get her view on the rest of the race and what the strategy is.”
In an interview with USAT, Clinton said she would be a better candidate against Sen. John McCain because she has a “much broader base to build a winning coalition on.” She went on to say that an Associated Press article “found how Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.” Clinton insists, “There’s a pattern emerging here.”
For his part, Obama took the day off yesterday and spent time at home in Chicago. The LAT notes inside that Obama will begin to implement a new strategy that involves ignoring Clinton and acting like the de facto nominee. Although he won’t abandon the primary campaign and still plans to make appearances in the states that will go to the polls in the next few weeks, he might also decide to take detours to important swing states that have already voted, such as Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
The WP asks a provocative question on Page One: “Did Rush Limbaugh Tilt Result In Indiana?” There’re some interesting data, but the answer seems to be decidedly uninteresting: probably not. Limbaugh urged his listeners to take part in “Operation Chaos,” which involved voting for Clinton “to bloody up Obama politically,” and since the former first lady’s margin of victory in Indiana was so small, some are wondering whether it had any effect. Clinton did hold an edge over Obama among Republican voters, and the most interesting fact is that approximately 60 percent of Republicans who supported the former first lady said they would vote for McCain in November even if Clinton were the nominee. But ultimately, her margin of victory among Republicans was significantly smaller than her overall edge with white Democrats. For what it’s worth, Limbaugh called off “Operation Chaos” yesterday because he now thinks Obama is more vulnerable than Clinton.