Three Superdelegates Won't Wright Barack Obama Off

Three of them moved to his banner Wednesday, while two signed up with Hillary Clinton.

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By Kenneth R. Bazinet and Michael McAuliff
Daily News Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON—Some people think the furor over Barack Obama's fiery ex-pastor could torpedo his candidacy, but nobody told that to the superdelegates who will decide the contest.

Three of them moved to his banner Wednesday, while two signed up with Hillary Clinton.

The most important was Indiana Congressman Barron Hill, who represents the rural southern end of the state, which votes Tuesday, as does North Carolina.

"I am pleased that Sen. Obama clearly and unequivocally denounced Rev. [Jeremiah] Wright's remarks," Barron said, signaling that Wright was a problem he thinks Obama has overcome.

Clinton added a Pennsylvania labor boss to her tally as well as Democratic insider Luisette Cabanas from Puerto Rico, which votes June 1.

Obama aides, who said the campaign had hit rock bottom with the Wright furor, were rallying around the idea that in spite of the pastor flareup, nothing has fundamentally changed in the contest.

Even a dip in the polls was described as "blips along the way" by one insider, who insisted morale was on the mend.

"We're a battle-tested group that doesn't get rattled easily," the Obama source said.

Since Clinton's nine-point Pennsylvania win last week, Obama has picked up 10 superdelegates, and Clinton has landed six.

That's a troubling trend for the New Yorker. With just 501 delegates left to be chosen in the remaining primaries, Obama has 1,731 delegates to Clinton's 1,597, according to an Associated Press tally that includes superdelegates.

He needs just 295 more to lock up the nomination. If Obama and Clinton split the remaining contests, Obama would need only about 45 of the remaining superdelegates to put him over the top.

Still, if Clinton were to unexpectedly blow out Obama on Tuesday, some observers think that could move insiders her way.

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