[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/22/art.clintondebate.ap.jpg caption="Clinton has one debate left before the critical March 4 contests. "] WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have come a long way in their debating skills since they began their exchanges nearly a year ago.
Those were the days when there were eight Democratic candidates on the stage. I moderated one of their first debates back in June of last year. We met in New Hampshire, and the many candidates were literally fighting for airtime - some of them were angry at me for not giving them enough time.
You remember those days: in addition to Clinton and Obama, there were Dodd, Biden, Richardson, Kucinich, Gravel, and Edwards.
And in those days, Clinton was by far the frontrunner.
Now, things have changed so dramatically. Only two candidates are left standing - and Clinton is no longer the frontrunner.
She has a huge challenge ahead of her in the coming days, having now lost 11 contests in a row. The last was the Democrats Abroad contest – the final tally of votes from Democrats living outside the United States. Obama won decisively.
Bill Clinton says that if his wife wins in Ohio and Texas on March 4, she will be the party’s nominee. That’s a tall order right now, given the gains Obama has been making among some of her most ardent backers, including Latinos and women.
Still, I go back to their debating skills that were evident during the CNN/Univision debate in Austin, Texas, Thursday night. They were both impressive in making their points. They will have one more debate next week before the March 4 contests in Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island.
Obama has the momentum right now – but, as we saw last night, there’s still a real fight underway.
–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer