Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times
Hillary Clinton greets supporters at Manhattan Center Studios in New York on Super Tuesday. Husband Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea stand in the background.

Obama, Clinton campaigns assess Super Tuesday results

Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times
Hillary Clinton greets supporters at Manhattan Center Studios in New York on Super Tuesday. Husband Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea stand in the background.
Each side underscores gains made, but the battle for delegates could stretch until the Democratic National Convention in late August.
By Janet Hook and Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
2:26 PM PST, February 6, 2008
Locked in a cliff-hanger race for the Democratic presidential nomination, the campaigns of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton today offered dueling scenarios of how they can win.

Obama, calling Clinton the presumptive front-runner, said his campaign had withstood the tremendous firepower of her opposition research operation.

"The Clinton research operation is about as good as anybody's out there," Obama said. "I assure you that, having engaged in a contest against them for the last year, that they've pulled out all the stops."

Having dueled to a draw, Obama said: "I think that what we've shown is that, you know, we can take a punch -- we're still standing."

One day after voting in 22 states on Super Tuesday left them almost in a dead heat, Obama said that if the contest comes down to super-delegates, those state and local officials who have the liberty to switch allegiances, "I think we're going to be able to say that we have more pledged delegates -- meaning that the Democratic voters have spoken," Obama said. "And I think that those [super-delegates] who are elected officials, party insiders, would have to think long and hard about how they approach the nomination when the people they claim to represent have said, 'Obama's our guy.' "

Later in the day, Clinton told reporters her victories Tuesday showed that she can do well with young voters, rural voters in Missouri and in generally Republican states.

During a 16-minute news conference, Clinton also said that she loaned her campaign $5 million out of personal funds last month, a sign that even her prodigious fund-raising skills aren't keeping pace with campaign costs. Clinton raised less than $14 million in January, compared to $32 million collected by Obama.

"I loaned it because I believe very strongly in this campaign," she said at her campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va. "We had a great month fund-raising in January -- broke all records. But my opponent was able to raise more money. We intended to be competitive and we were and I think the results last night proved the wisdom of my investment."

Even before the sun came up in California, the two campaigns held consecutive conference calls in which they offered reporters their assessments of Tuesday's results.

David Plouffe, manager of Obama's campaign, said Clinton had "failed miserably" in her strategy of wrapping up the nomination on Super Tuesday. He noted that Obama won more states than Clinton -- 13 to eight, with New Mexico too close to call -- and also won more delegates, suggesting that that has been the pattern throughout the Democratic contest.

Just a week ago, heading out of South Carolina and into Super Tuesday, the Obama campaign told reporters that the day was all about the delegates and not about the states, that even if they won few or no states, they would rack up the delegates and that was the goal.

But Plouffe, downplaying expectations in upcoming contests, said the Obama camp thinks Tuesday's results show "a very strong movement in terms of growing this movement for change."

As for the Clinton camp, senior strategist Mark Penn said Clinton won strongly among people who made their voting decision on the very last day. He argued that Obama had increasingly run an "establishment" campaign based on big money and endorsements and crowed about Clinton winning Massachusetts in spite of the high-profile Kennedy endorsements for Obama.

Penn said he believed Clinton's strong showing across the country would also help them woo super-delegates who will see the results as evidence of her strength in a general election.

Even so, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson predicted a long, closely fought battle for delegates between Clinton and Obama that could possibly stretch to the convention in late August.

"It is likely that no side will gain an appreciable significant advantage in overall delegate counts between now and March 4 -- even past April," Wolfson said. "All those who wish for a battle that goes to the convention . . . you could be looking at such a contest here."

The Clinton advisors said they believed the next few primary battlegrounds -- such as Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, which vote next Tuesday -- play to Obama's strengths, but that Clinton will be in a stronger position when the voting moves to delegate-rich Texas and Ohio, which vote March 4.

Times staff writers Johanna Neuman and Peter Nicholas contributed to this report.

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Share your thoughts on the 2008 Campaign and the results of Super Tuesday.
1. My biggest frustration with this whole process is that I live in Washington and it doesn't matter who I vote for because the field has already been narrowed by other states. The Primaries are a joke. The same states should not have the opportunity election year after election year to make the decision for all of America. Time for change. It seems that the 19th Amendment only gives rights for women to have a vote if they live in New Hampshire or Iowa. I want to be a part of the process!
Submitted by: Jennifer Madsen
6:00 PM PST, Feb 8, 2008
2. OK.. if the women are supposed to vote for Hillary then all of us guys should vote for a guy too? Hmm.. wait a minute, how about the Mexicans? Should they vote for Villaraigosa for President? And how about the Japanese Americans? They are NOT represented. The comment that women should vote for a woman is the stupidest comment I've heard in a long time but typical of the PC crowd. And, Hillary? Come on... She's essentially unelectable in the General Election. I figure McCain will easily beat her.... now I gotta make sure my wife will vote for a white male...
Submitted by: tonyE
5:57 PM PST, Feb 8, 2008
3. MIT Romney should not quit just like that. It's not even half way. I think he's "a glass half empty kind na guy". Forget about being conservative, now it's age for spend more spending.
Submitted by: YoOo
5:23 PM PST, Feb 8, 2008

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