WASHINGTON (CNN) - Some observers view the current Democratic contest as a dizzying multi-state brawl.
If only it were that simple.
Take New York City. Recent surveys have shown Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in a stiff fight for the Big Apple - whose huge numbers of young people, educated professionals and black voters have formed the Illinois senator’s base in each of the presidential contests to date.
If we are to believe the New York polls, if Obama simply holds on to his current standings - and fails to gain a single vote in the week ahead - he’d still capture, at a bare minimum, at least a third of the state’s pledged delegates. Not a bad haul in a state that’s supposed to serve as a Clinton firewall.
(Another Clinton bloc being eyed by the Obama team this week: Hispanic voters. Yesterday, his campaign released a brand new Spanish-language spot that featured Ted Kennedy’s image, and a new appeal based on a shared outsider status. "We know what it feels like being used as a scapegoat just because of our origin and last name,” says the announcer in the radio ad, which will run in California and Arizona. “And no one understands this better than Barack Obama.")
So in a presidential contest that’s rapidly turning into a district-by-district delegate hunt, Clinton’s Florida win - which resulted in zero delegates – might not be quite the springboard to Super Tuesday she’d hoped. (One more slightly uncomfortable thought for the Clinton team to ponder: if the Florida fight hadn’t been the Democratic story of the evening, the Obama campaign’s late-night revelation that it had decided to jettison tends of thousands in additional Rezko cash might have gotten just a bit more play.)
A dwindling Republican field meets tonight in what could potentially turn into a John McCain-Mike Huckabee tag team bout with Florida runner-up Mitt Romney.
The McCain campaign pulled its tough anti-Romney social issues robo-call late yesterday – but the former governor’s concession speech last night managed to work in just enough veiled anti-McCain references to keep the duo’s relations somewhere on the emotional spectrum between strong dislike and pure distilled hatred.
Fresh off his Florida win, McCain is now surveying a fresh Super Tuesday landscape, with Rudy Giuliani – whose concession last night, possibly his last of the race, was interrupted mid-speech by Romney’s - as a motivated new campaign surrogate.
- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand