Team Clinton is vowing to take its uphill battle against front-runner Sen. Barack Obama beyond the June 3 end of the Democratic primary season if neither candidate has yet captured 2209 delegates, which includes superdelegates and the disputed delegates from Michigan and Florida.
The Clinton victory-by-superdelegate plan? Convince the 20 freshmen Democrats from Republican-leaning congressional districts that Clinton would help them more at the top of the November ticket than Obama. And lay out an argument to uncommitted superdelegates that only Clinton has a shot at winning big swing states - and thus the decisive Electoral College vote - in the fall.
Campaign strategists Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson, during a breakfast this morning with reporters including our Liz Halloran, said that according to their reading of current state polls, Clinton would capture 42 more electoral votes than presumed GOP nominee John McCain. Their analysis shows that Obama would trail McCain by eight electoral votes. The states that Obama has won during the primary season, Garin says, “are not in play” on the Electoral College map.
And in an analysis they call "Winning in the Tough Districts," found here,
the Clintonistas argue that she’d be better able to lead freshmen Dems, all superdelegates, to a second term in the fall because she appeals to older, rural voters in those traditionally GOP districts. Clinton out-polled Obama in 16 of those 20 districts during this primary season. She has been endorsed by five members of Congress from the 16 districts she won; Obama by four.
With the Obama camp saying they plan to declare victory based on elected delegates and the popular vote after the May 20 primaries in Kentucky and Oregon, and the Illinois senator all but crowned the party’s nominee, the Clinton aides say they know what they’re up against. But even with that - and their candidate’s money woes, they appeared dug in for a fight. They’ll take that fight to a May 31 meeting of the Democratic Party’s rules committee, at which members will attempt to hash out a resolution to the controversy over whether to count Michigan and Florida delegates.
“We’re not oblivious to the environment in which we’re operating,” says Garin, comparing Clinton to a tennis player who may be down a few games in the third set, but with the potential to come back and win in the fifth. The Clinton campaign, Garin says, is moving forward “with a sense of continuing enthusiasm.”