By any reasonable measure, today is a pretty important day in the Democratic presidential race. Generally called the “Chesapeake Primary,” Dems (and independents) will vote today in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Obama is considered the favorite in all three.
But on the front page of the NYT today, the story isn’t about today’s three contests; it’s about two contests three weeks away.
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.
Mrs. Clinton held a buck-up-the-troops conference call on Monday with donors, superdelegates and other supporters; several said afterward that she had sounded tired and a little down, but determined about Ohio and Texas.
They also said that they had not been especially soothed, and that they believed she might be on a losing streak that could jeopardize her competitiveness in those states.
“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.
Alan Patricof, one of Clinton’s national finance chairmen, added, “[W]e can’t wait to get to March 4.” The meaning of the comment is almost literal — today’s travel schedule for Clinton includes three stops, not in any of today’s contests, or in any state that votes in February, but rather, in Texas.
In other words, the firewall has already been identified, and is in the process of being fortified.