(CNN) - In their latest clear attempt to raise expectations for Hillary Clinton ahead of Pennsylvania's primary results, Barack Obama’s campaign said Tuesday the New York senator needs "a blowout win" to lay any legitimate claim to victory and change the dynamics of the Democratic presidential race.
"With all eyes on today’s contest, one thing is clear: Pennsylvania is considered a state tailor-made for Hillary Clinton, and by rights she should win big," stated an Obama campaign memo circulated to reporters. "She has family roots in the state, she has the support of the Democratic establishment—including Governor [Ed] Rendell’s extensive network—and former President Clinton is fondly remembered."
"The bottom line is that if Senator Clinton is going to make meaningful inroads in this race for delegates, she will need a huge margin in Pennsylvania."
Clinton has long held a lead in Pennsylvania, though polls last week indicated Obama had erased her advantage. But following a shaky debate performance in Philadelphia late last week, most recent polls have the New York with a roughly 9 point lead.
Essentially conceding a loss, the Obama campaign also said Tuesday, "Tonight’s outcome is unlikely to change the dynamic of this lengthy primary."
"Fully three quarters of the remaining delegates will be selected in states other than Pennsylvania," the memo stated. "We expect that by tomorrow morning, the overall structure of the race will remain unchanged—except for the fact that there will be 158 delegates off the table."
On a conference call with reporters Monday, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson dismissed that argument.
“I reject the notion in which we have to achieve a certain standard of victory other than victory. As I said in November you either win Pennsylvania by one (vote) against John McCain or you lose it, you either win Ohio by one vote against John McCain or you lose it. And assuming we win Pennsylvania it will again show that we are better positioned to win the big swing states that we need to win, that any Democrat needs to win in November.”