Is Hillary Clinton's campaign in trouble?

Clinton looks poised to lose several imminent contests, and some now consider the larger states that vote on March 4 to be must-wins.

By Alex Koppelman
Published February 12, 2008 3:00PM (EST)

Hillary Clinton has already been written off a couple of times during this campaign. Each time, she has bounced back, but today's votes -- and the ones taking place a week from now in Wisconsin, Hawaii and Washington state -- will almost certainly bring bad news. Clinton is expected to lose this string of contests, all of which play to rival Barack Obama's strengths, but that hasn't stopped the latest round of doomsaying, and apparently some Clinton supporters are becoming nervous about the amount of momentum Obama is gaining.

The big story Tuesday appears in the New York Times; reporter Patrick Healy delivers a grim pronouncement that has been widely picked up. Healy leads his piece by saying, "Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and her advisers increasingly believe that, after a series of losses, she has been boxed into a must-win position in the Ohio and Texas primaries on March 4, and she has begun reassuring anxious donors and superdelegates that the nomination is not slipping away from her, aides said on Monday ... 'She has to win both Ohio and Texas comfortably, or she's out,' said one superdelegate who has endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment. 'The campaign is starting to come to terms with that.' Campaign advisers, also speaking privately in order to speak plainly, confirmed this view."

Healy also discusses the problem of wavering Clinton superdelegates; he says he spoke with several who are "wavering in the face of Mr. Obama's momentum after victories in Washington State, Nebraska, Louisiana and Maine last weekend."

Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall has an unflattering comparison of Clinton to a former presidential candidate, given the Clinton campaign's attitude toward the upcoming contests: "A number of readers have brought up the fact that Hillary Clinton's strategy is starting to look a bit like Rudy Giuliani's," Marshall writes. "... The problem is that it's not clear to me that wins in [Ohio and Texas] are going to be enough even in terms of delegates if Obama really keeps doing well in the contests this month. But more to the point, this strategy seems to seriously understate the dynamic toll of a month of losses on Hillary's candidacy.

"Of course, some strategies are born of necessity."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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