A Brutal Morning After

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It’s going to be rough day for the Clinton campaign.

On MSNBC this morning, Joe Scarborough greeted Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson with faux congratulations on Wolfson’s having kept his job in yesterday campaign staff shakeup, just the latest internal turmoil to roil the campaign.

The AP‘s Ron Fournier takes a no-holds-barred look at the state of the Clinton campaign, particularly what he describes as shaky loyalty to the Clintons among superdelegates.

There’s no question that a series of losses–big losses–with no wins in sight for another three weeks has the Clinton campaign in a precarious situation. You can judge that simply by who’s willing to say what to reporters, Fournier in this case:

Two senior Clinton advisers, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the race candidly, said the campaign feels the New York senator needs to quickly change the dynamic by forcing Obama into a poor debate performance, going negative or encouraging the media to attack Obama. They’re grasping at straws, but the advisers said they can’t see any other way that her campaign will be sustainable after losing 10 in a row.

Clinton strategists are famous for poor-mouthing their own campaign in order to lower expectations, but these advisers have never played such games. They’re legitimate, and legitimately worried.

The fear inside the Clinton camp is that Obama will win Hawaii and Wisconsin next week and head into the March 4 contests for Ohio and Texas with a 10-race winning streak. Her poll numbers will drop in Texas and Ohio, Clinton aides fear, and party leaders will start hankering for an end to the fight.

Keep in mind that Super Tuesday was only a week ago yesterday. Seems a lot longer ago, doesn’t it? Obama’s string of uninterrupted wins only started Saturday. But the tenor of things has already changed dramatically. We’re not in the predictions business, but the Clinton campaign itself isn’t expecting a victory for her for another three weeks. That is a very, very long time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.
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