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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Clinton Loses Superdelegate Lead - Exit Posturing Begins

George Wenschhof

Time is not on Senator Hillary Clinton's side as she continues her campaign to be the democratic party candidate for President. There comes a point in every political campaign when it becomes painfully obvious that one side is not going to win. A look at the current delegate certainly would make one feel this is the case for the Clinton campaign.

Today's numbers from show Senator Barack Obama with a total of 1865 delegates to Clinton's 1697, a 168 delegate lead. Among pledged delegates, Obama leads 1591 to 1426, a 165 delegate lead. Obama has also finally taken the lead in superdelgates 274 to 271.

There are 217 remaining pledged delegates from the last six contests and 250 remaining uncommitted superdelegates for a total of 467. Obama only needs to win 160 of the remaining 467 to secure the 2025 needed for the democratic party nomination.which is only 34%. Clinton needs to win 328 of the remaining 467 which is 70%.

It does not take a mathematical genius to see the Clinton campaign will not be able to win 70% of the remaining total delegates. One of the main reasons being the convoluted manner of awarding pledged delegates from the states in a two step proportional manner, one by the total vote and the other by congressional district.

Just to put this in perspective, Obama won North Carolina which has 115 pledged delegates by 14 points last Tuesday. After all the votes were tallied, Obama was awarded 65 delegates and Clinton 50. It is obvious that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) never anticipated such a close race for the presidential nomination. The Clinton supporters can correctly point out that if the democrats followed the same winner-take-all process that the republicans use, Clinton would be ahead in delegates.

However, that is not the case, so the political advisers from both the Clinton and Obama campaign are hard at work developing an exit strategy for Clinton. She is expected to win West Virginia ( 28 pledged delegates) easily on Tuesday but it is doubtful she will gain more than 5 delegates. So, perhaps bowing out gracefully after a big win would be a good move toward uniting the democratic party.

Besides winning big before she drops out, Clinton is going to want more. Look to see if the following plays out - commitments from the Obama campaign and the DNC to help retire her campaign debt which is estimated as high as 25 million. A commitment by the DNC to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida at the Democratic party convention in August along with a declaration that this was done due to Clinton's efforts on their behalf. An influential seat for Clinton in the future - doubtful Clinton will be picked as V.P. More likely, is support to make her Senate Majority Leader - This puts her in a very visible and influential democratic party position.

Stay Tuned

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