Clinton Campaign Hits Rough Stretch

Hillary Clinton

New York Senator Hillary Clinton campaigns Sunday in Manassas, Va. Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama won all five nominating contests over the weekend — then added a Grammy for spoken word. Voters next head to the polls Tuesday, in the Middle Atlantic, where Jim VandeHei of Politico.com says Obama could once again pull off a sweep.

That would leave the current front runner Hillary Clinton in the uncomfortable position of having lost every primary and caucus between Super Tuesday and the big round, March 4. Clinton changed campaign managers over the weekend, replacing Patti Solis Doyle with her former chief of staff Maggie Williams. VandeHei says the Clinton camp has been ill at ease over the direction of the campaign since the senator placed third in Iowa.

"The truth is Obama has momentum," he says. The popular vote and delegate count may be too close to call, but Obama has been winning states and now is likely to win Maryland, Virgina and Washington, D.C., too. VandeHei argues that an Obama sweep this week would be devastating for Hillary Clinton.

She can say, 'I'm close and delegates' and she's got superdelegates all she wants," he says. "If she's losing states, and momentum's going Obama's way and the money's going Obama's way, she's in a world of trouble."

Meanwhile, Republican underdog Mike Huckabee is staying in the race, though he'd need to win every state left in order to snatch the nomination from front runner John McCain. VandeHei says much of the GOP establishment had gotten behind McCain, only to have Huckabee capture contests this weekend in Kansas and Louisiana.

"The truth is Huckabee has every reason and every right to stay in the race to continue to make his point, continue to raise his national profile, perhaps win a couple of states and become an even bigger player in Republican politics," VandeHei says.

Huckabee's charge comes as McCain continues to battle Republican critics who accuse him of not being a real conservative. VandeHei says McCain's voting record is one of the more conservative in Congress. Much of the ire over McCain stems from his break with the Republican party over immigration. "McCain's going to have to find a way to bring new people into the party," VandeHei says. On that front, McCain's break with the GOP's hardline stance makes good political sense, the analyst says, since it betters his chance of wooing Latino voters.

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