The International Herald Tribune reports:
WASHINGTON: Top supporters of Senator Barack Obama, joined by at least one prominent but uncommitted Democrat, raised the pressure Sunday on Senator Hillary Clinton to bow out of the presidential nominating race if she fails to score clear victories in two big-state primary contests Tuesday.
“I just think that D-Day is Tuesday,” said Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, a former Democratic presidential hopeful who has yet to throw his weight behind either leading candidate. He said the increasingly negative campaign advertisements aired by both Democrats made it more urgent that the party unite quickly behind a nominee.
Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont hold primary contests on Tuesday, and the Clinton campaign, trailing in the delegates needed for nomination and having lost 11 straight contests, has said the New York senator needs to win either Texas or Ohio. Both candidates were campaigning Sunday in Ohio.
Richardson, saying that it was vital to Democrats’ hopes in the November election to mount a positive, unifying campaign, said on CNN that “whoever has the most delegates after Tuesday, a clear lead, should be, in my judgment, the nominee.” For that to be Clinton, she would have to dramatically exceed the results predicted by polls, which now show Texas a virtual toss-up after weeks of steady progress there by Obama, while Ohio voters narrowly favor Clinton.
A Democratic supporter, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, said that Clinton should ignore the pressure and make her own decision. “Hillary Clinton is a major candidate,” she said on Fox. “She has every right to stay in the race if she chooses to do so.”
Still, some senior Democrats supporting Obama raised the pressure on Clinton.
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, said that Clinton would need more than narrow victories to remain a viable candidate.
“Hillary Clinton has to win a big victory in both Ohio and Texas,” he said on CNN. “It’s not just winning a little bit. In order to close the gap on pledged delegates, she’s got to win a very significant victory.” And Senator Dick Durbin, Obama’s fellow senator from Illinois, said that the mathematics of the electoral calendar would make it very difficult for Clinton to win the nomination even if she broke even with Obama on Tuesday.
“If, in fact, there is no measurable change on Tuesday,” he said on Fox, Clinton would need “extraordinary percentages” in the remaining contests – averaging 62 percent of the delegates yet to be decided, by his calculation – to go on to victory. “I hope ultimately she makes an honest appraisal of her chances,” putting party unity first, Durbin said.
I say Hillary will stay in it even if she loses the primaries on Tuesday because she’s not going to give up the Clinton throne to the Democratic party so easily. If she loses the primaries on Tuesday, it will be hard to see how her campaign can spin the losses, especially considering that prominent Hillary supporters like her hubby have essentially said that Texas and Ohio are “must-wins” for her. It will be interesting to see how her campaign justifies her staying in the race, should the current primary/caucus trends continue.
Stay tuned …
Cross-posted to Right Wing News, where I am helping guestblog for John Hawkins on Sundays.