MICHELE NORRIS, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
Super Tuesday was supposed to establish strong presidential frontrunners but the Democrats still don't have one. Less than 24 hours after last night's close results, both candidates are declaring victory and looking ahead to the next contests.
Barack Obama can point to 13 states he won and Hillary Clinton has claimed eight. The outcome of the caucuses in New Mexico is still unclear. But Clinton claimed the two biggest prizes - California and New York - and said today that she was ahead in delegates, both the ones allotted yesterday and overall.
The Obama camp disputes that, saying their calculations gave them more delegates in Tuesday's events and kept them close overall.
NORRIS: The other news of the day was Clinton's revelation that she loaned her campaign $5 million of her own personal funds late last month in advance of Super Tuesday, apparently after Barack Obama had outraised her by a ratio of two-to-one since New Year's Day.
Joining us to talk about this duel for the delegates is our own duo of Don Gonyea and David Greene. Don is in Chicago covering the Obama campaign.
And, Don, what are you hearing out there today?
DON GONYEA: Well, I can tell you, they feel pretty good about what happened on Super Tuesday. Again, they didn't win the big states - California and New York - but they did get the majority. They're very pleased with that. They say their strategy worked. They were able to offset the big gains that Hillary had in those states where she was favored going in. And I won't resolve the dispute over the calculations in terms of who has the exact most delegates right now, but let's call it a pretty even split.
Now, all that said, Barack Obama still says he is the underdog in this race. Give a listen.
Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; Presidential Candidate): She's got a familiar and well-appreciated name. She's got a political machine honed over two decades, and so from my perspective, this makes her the frontrunner in every single contest.
GONYEA: And you know, you might say, boy, he raised $32 million in January. He won all these states. He won Iowa. He won South Carolina. How does he get off claiming he's the underdog at this point? Isn't it just kind of a battle of the Titans here? And he laughed - this was at a press conference in Chicago this morning. He laughed and said, well, let's just say two weeks ago, I was more of an underdog but now I'm still an underdog.
NORRIS: So playing the expectations game then?
SIEGEL: Well, David Greene is in New York covering the Clinton campaign.
And, David, is Senator Clinton happy with the title of frontrunner?
DAVID GREENE: I don't think she is, Robert. She actually might be competing for Barack Obama for the title of underdog. You know, her staff got on the phone with reporters this morning and made an interesting argument. They said that, actually, Hillary Clinton is the one who's up against the establishment candidate. They said that was Barack Obama. They said he has gotten a lot of endorsements. They have a lot of money - interesting for someone with the Clinton name to be up against the establishment candidate in a Democratic race.
But Hillary Clinton, actually, offered some evidence that she did face a fundraising deficit with Obama. She acknowledged that she had to, as you said, loan herself some money. I think we have a little tape here of Hillary Clinton.
Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Presidential Candidate): I did. I loaned the campaign $5 million from my money. That's where I got the money. I loaned it because I believe very strongly in this campaign. We had a great month fundraising in January - broke all records but my opponent was able to raise more money. And we intended to be competitive and we were, and I think the results last night proved the wisdom of my investment.
SIEGEL: She said that rather cheerily but it can't be a good sign that the candidate has to lend the campaign money.
GREENE: Well, it depended. It certainly not a first, I mean, you know, John McCain looked like he was out of money. He's had to take loans. And John Kerry back in 2004 also had to work with loaning his campaign some money. But you know, Hillary Clinton, if we look back and sort of step back, you know, the presumptive nominee early on, the inevitable nominee, not the best sign that at this point in the game around Super Tuesday, she has a fundraising problem against Barack Obama. So we'll see where it goes.
NORRIS: Now, the other back-and-forth today was really all about fortitude, about who can best withstand Republican attacks. Hillary Clinton's campaign asserted that Barack Obama simply hasn't been fully vetted.
Don, tell us about that and how the Obama camp responded.
GONYEA: Right, the point is that while we all know Barack Obama today, he is still a relative newcomer. He hasn't been on the political scene all that long while Hillary Clinton has been attacked and tested and responded. So she says that, you know, the Republican research team could come up with some big bombshell that might destroy his candidacy. He dismissed that and said today, hey, the Clinton campaign has a pretty good research team themselves, don't you think. And then he went on and said this.
Sen. OBAMA: I think what is absolutely true is that whoever the Democratic nominee is, the Republicans will go after them. The notion that somehow, Sen. Clinton is going to be immune from attack or that there's not a whole dump truck that they can back up in a match up between her and John McCain, I think, is just not true. All of us are going to have to deal with that, and I think that what we've shown is that, you know, we can take a punch.
GONYEA: But again, this a - it shows that the debate, a lot of it, is about who may be more electable.
SIEGEL: Well, last item, what the candidates are doing next.
Don, where is Obama headed to next?
GONYEA: He came back to Washington to vote on an economic stimulus package, which he supported, then it's New Orleans and Omaha, and ultimately, Washington State for those upcoming contests.
SIEGEL: And Hillary Clinton, David Greene?
GREENE: Hillary Clinton is going to be in Virginia tomorrow. We have the Potomac primaries coming up next Tuesday in Virginia, the District of Columbia and Maryland, so (unintelligible) that even though she thinks Barack Obama has an advantage, she is going to play there. Concerned about Nebraska, Maine, Washington State, places where there are caucuses, and caucuses have been good for Barack Obama so far.
SIEGEL: Well, thank you both very much. NPR's David Greene in New York and Don Gonyea in Chicago.
GREENE: All right - always a pleasure.
GONYEA: Always a pleasure.
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