Election 2008

Analysis: Clinton Lacks Clear Path to Victory

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Obama and Clinton

After a decisive win over Sen. Hillary Clinton in North Carolina's primary, Sen. Barack Obama is 185 delegates away from the magic number, according to NPR's official count. Emmanuel Dunand/Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Emmanuel Dunand/Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

The Democratic presidential rivals split primary contests in Indiana and North Carolina on Tuesday. But because Sen. Hillary Clinton failed to snag an emphatic win in Indiana, Politico.com editor John Harris says, her candidacy is mathematically over.

Now, "there's not a clear logic or rationale for her candidacy," Harris says. "This game already did go into extra innings. ... [Barack] Obama has emerged ahead — maybe two outs; we're waiting for the third."

Harris says that mathematically, it is very hard — and has been for some time — to find a path to the nomination for Clinton. "Sen. Clinton's hopes have rested not on math, but on perceptions," Harris says. With Tuesday's primary results, she has nothing in her arsenal to feed the perception that her campaign should continue.

Still, Harris says, Clinton will likely continue her campaign beyond June 3, the end of the primary season. He also says it isn't the media's role to tell her when she's finished.

Clinton's odds may be long, but Obama has big tests ahead, Harris says. One question mark that remains is how issues like the controversy surrounding Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, will play with Republican and independent voters.

"We know that Democrats are satisfied with his answers, but we don't know if general-election voters are satisfied with his answers," Harris says. "I guarantee you: We have not heard the last of Rev. Wright in this campaign season."



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