Political Wrap-Up: Clinton's Chances in W.Va. West Virginia hold its Democratic primary Tuesday. Hillary Clinton is expected to win handily. But the election comes as Clinton's chances to win the Democratic nomination shrink day to day. Barack Obama's big win in North Carolina last week has re-energized his campaign and sent a flurry of superdelegates to his camp.
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Political Wrap-Up: Clinton's Chances in W.Va.

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Political Wrap-Up: Clinton's Chances in W.Va.

Political Wrap-Up: Clinton's Chances in W.Va.

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm Renee Montagne.

As of this morning, Hillary Clinton seems to be facing impossible odds for the Democratic nomination. She trails Barack Obama in pledged delegates and also in superdelegates. Still, she's poised to win big in tomorrow's West Virginia primary, and she took heart from one of her supporters who told her it's not over until the lady in the pantsuit says it is.

Joining us now for some analysis is NPR's Cokie Roberts. Good morning.

COKIE ROBERTS: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: So, there's been a lot of pressure on Senator Clinton to get out of this race. How do you see it playing out?

ROBERTS: Well, I think over the weekend you saw a real shift in the tone. Senator Obama has never been pushing Senator Clinton to get out of the race, but his supporters have and people in his campaign have. And that stopped. They became much more respectful and said, you know, she could stay in as long as she feels. There's a real fear that they were alienating her supporters, especially her female supporters, and they sense that they were strong arming her out of the race. A woman in West Virginia was quoted over the weekend as saying, why is everybody telling her to sit down and be quiet? Which is not something a woman wants to hear, and so I think that you saw that change.

Even - but her campaign as well changed its tone to be much more positive, much more talking about supportive of the ticket in November. Even former President Clinton was more conciliatory. You know, and, look, Renee, you know, a withdrawal at the end of a campaign like this is a negotiation. It's a negotiation about paying off her debt, which is about $20 million at the moment. It's a negotiation about her role at the convention, about what happens to her staff. And it might be a negotiation about a second place on the ticket, although that's much less likely. That's something that will come much later in the process.

MONTAGNE: While the campaign goes on, Congress is in session, of course, and there is a president. Mr. Bush, he's threatening a series of vetoes. Talk to us about that.

ROBERTS: Well, he is talking about vetoing a bill to bail out people who are hurting from the mortgage crisis. This is a bill that was negotiated with his secretary of the treasury, Henry Paulson. But the Democrats say that the president has pulled the rug out from under the Treasury secretary for ideological reasons, that he does not want the government in this business of bailing out homeowners.

The Democrats think they can use this in the election, and 39 Republicans went with them in the House of Representatives. So, we'll see how that works. The farm bill, the president says is way too big a bill at a time when farmers are doing okay. And then there's an Iraq spending bill - money for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars - which the Congress has typically piled up with all kinds of other measures, because it is considered a must-pass bill.

President says not so fast. He's talking about vetoing that one as well.

MONTAGNE: Cokie, just briefly, what do Republicans in Congress think is their best strategy in terms of November?

ROBERTS: They're really panicked about November. And Democrats think they would do quite well with the Congress. So the Republicans sort of keep shifting their strategy from being cooperative to saying no. And they're not sure what will work. They've had two special elections recently where Democrats have picked up long-held Republican seats. And they're looking at another one tomorrow.

And they really are in a state of not knowing exactly what to do at all.

MONTAGNE: Thanks very much for joining us. NPR news analyst Cokie Roberts.

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