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Underneath the Bunker.

In the bunker there exists a different reality. In the bunker, Hillary is the winner: of the popular vote, of a series of big swing states, of the authentic American vote. In the bunker, Hillary is introduced by the indefatiguable Terry McAuliffe as ‘the next President of the United States!’ When asked about the reality outside the bunker — that Obama supporters were in a minor rage over Hillary’s speech — McAuliffe looked at me incredulously. ‘Tonight was Hillary’s night!’ he exclaimed. ‘We won tonight! We won in South Dakota! We keep winning!‘”

Sigh. Or, put another way via R.E.M.’s Life’s Rich Pageant: “I will hide and you will hide, and we shall hide together here. Underneath the bunkers in the row. I have water, I have rum. Wait for dawn and dawn shall come, Underneath the bunkers in the row.

Also, on McAuliffe’s point about it being “Hillary’s night,” see Jeffrey Toobin on CNN yesterday, referring to “the deranged narcissism of the Clintons.” They really don’t make it easy to cut them a break.

Update: The endgame is now Saturday: “Clinton will host an event in Washington on Saturday ‘to thank her supporters and express her support for Senator Obama and party unity,’ according to Howard Wolfson, who did not explicitly state that Clinton is dropping out of the race. But other campaign officials said the event will coincide with her departure, despite her earlier reservations about stepping aside.” Well, better late than never.

The End is Nigh? | Being Hillary Clinton.

“‘I want to say also that this may be the last day I’m ever involved in a campaign of this kind,’ the former president told Clinton supporters in South Dakota, ABC and NBC reported on their news websites. ‘I thought I was out of politics, till Hillary decided to run. But it has been one of the greatest honors of my life to go around and campaign for her for president,’ he added at the start of his stump speech.” There’ve been rumors floating around about Sen. Clinton’s speech in New York tomorrow, but has Bill let the cat out of the bag? One can only hope.

Update: Sigh…A Clinton spokesperson categorically denies an imminent exit tomorrow. In related news, New York Magazine’s John Heilemann and The Atlantic‘s James Fallows ponder what Sen. Clinton is thinking these days. Heilemann: “[M]y response is simple: She wants to be president. Duh. And if it ain’t gonna happen this year, then her central objective is to make it as likely as possible in 2012.” Fallows: “The Clinton team doesn’t worry about hurting Obama’s prospects of winning in the fall, because they assess those prospects at zero. Always have…So by definition they can’t be making things worse. It is like sticking pins into a corpse — you’re not really hurting it any more. And if these efforts in fact make Obama’s victory less likely — well, then, reality will conform to their preexisting view.

Update 2: Word this morning is Sen. Clinton will in fact concede (sort of) tonight. “The former first lady will stop short of formally suspending or ending her race in her speech in New York City…But for all intents and purposes, the two senior officials said, the campaign is over.Update 3: McAuliffe says not so. Get it together over there, y’all.

Update 4: Well, for once McAuliffe was right — You can’t call that a concession. Sen. Clinton’s “un-concession” speech tonight in New York, delivered an hour after Sen. Obama had mathematically clinched the Democratic nomination, would’ve been stunning in its gracelessness, if it wasn’t so much in keeping with what we’ve seen all election season from her. Classy until the end.

Last Stand in San Juan.

Whatever President Clinton’s recent issues, he’s still a much-loved figure down in Puerto Rico, as Sen. Clinton’s large victory in the island territory today partially attests. (We’re at 68%-32%, with 98% reporting.) Too little, too late, of course — particularly as Puerto Rico currently doesn’t count in the general election — but at least Sen. Clinton got a chance to go out with a bang.

Update: Some interesting math via Rural Votes: “Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico, obviously, is a place where Limbaugh has no significant listenership, and this provides us a yardstick with which to measure Limbaugh’s actual impact on English-speaking state primaries. In Kentucky for example, on May 20, a full 19 percent of Clinton’s voters said they would not be satisfied with her nomination. On May 13, an equal number – 19 percent – of her own voters in West Virginia said they wouldn’t be satisfied with her nomination. But only five percent in Puerto Rico were in that category. This suggests that 14 percent of Clinton’s vote in recent mainland state primaries consisted of the Limbaugh ‘chaos’ voters.

Full Circle. | The “VSC.”

“Tonight, Iowa, in the fullness of spring, with the help of those who stood up from Portland to Louisville, we have returned to Iowa with a majority of delegates elected by the American people, and you have put us within reach of the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.” After winning Oregon 59-41 (with 94% reporting) and, uh, doing less well in Kentucky (although I was heartened to see he took Louisville), Sen. Obama returns to Iowa with a majority of the pledged delegates, thus effectively sealing up the nomination.

It looks like Sen. Clinton has decided to hang around a few more weeks nonetheless (in part, it seems, to expose the “vast sexist conspiracy” which caused her not to contest caucus states or come up with a plan past Super Tuesday), but the focus for Team Obama is now clearly on John McCain and the GOP. “‘I will leave it up to Senator McCain to explain to the American people whether his policies and positions represent long-held convictions or Washington calculations,’ Obama’s remarks continued, ‘but the one thing they don’t represent is change.’

Update: By way of The Late Adopter and sententiae et clamores, The Village Voice‘s Allison Benedikt puts the lie to Sen. Clinton’s grappling with sexism of late: “Currently pregnant with the next generation, let me just say this: There is no greater wish that a mother can have for her daughter than that she will exploit poor people, obliterate Iran, and win rigged class president elections, Putin-style. (Mom, I won 100 percent of the vote!)…This War on Women is just like the War on Christmas: imaginary.”

Appalachian Sting. | Childers of the Revolution.

As expected, Sen. Clinton wins the Mountain State handily, taking West Virginia 67%-26%, with 7% For Edwards. (Her main key to victory: The 71% of the WV electorate without a college degree broke for her 71%-29%.) But, alas for Sen. Clinton’s hopes for a miracle comeback, this is basically the equivalent of a garbagetime touchdown. And, worse still for Team Clinton, a new poll has Sen. Obama up 20 in the significantly larger state of Oregon, and the supers continue to move toward the presumptive nominee regardless. Today’s haul thus far: Obama +3.5. (Rep. Pete Visclosky (IN), DNC member Awais Kaleel, OK State Senator Mike Morgan, WI State Sen. Lena Taylor, and Dem Abroad Christine Marques against a Tennessee UAD for Clinton.)

The night’s big political news, however, happened down in Mississippi. In an upset that has stunned and demoralized the RNC, Democrat Travis Childers wins a special election going away, 54-46%, in a strong-conservative district that voted 62-37% for Dubya in 2004. Childers is not only the third Dem to win a safe-GOP district in recent months (following Bill Foster in IL and Don Cazayoux in LA), he was also explicitly painted as an elitist pro-Wright, prObama Dem by the Mississippi GOP. So how’s that for an electability argument? (To be fair, Dick Cheney also showed up to stump for Childers’ opponent…that might’ve helped us too.)

With all due respect to the Magnolia State, if the Republicans’ tired culture-war strategy didn’t play in the most conservative parts of Ole Miss, it’s not going to play anywhere this year…not even in West Virginia.

Tar Heel Pride. | Indiana Squeaker.

Just to do this properly, Sen. Obama wins North Carolina by 14 and comes within 2 in Indiana, effectively ending the race for the Democratic nomination. (Yes, it was already over, but now it’s really, really over.) When I got home late last night, Clinton had cancelled all of her public appearances, and it seemed reality had finally set in. But, no, word this morning is she will press on, and continue to burn money and goodwill for no apparent reason. Still, even if her campaign remains gracelessly in denial, I’d expect high-profile Clinton supporters will soon close the deal for her regardless. (Former Clinton backer George McGovern, for one, has now switched to Obama and is urging her concession.) So, the upshot is we’re done here, folks. It’s all over but the cryin’. And Senator Barack Obama of Illinois is our Democratic nominee.

Update: Sen. Obama picks up four more supers (one formerly a Clinton supporter, so it’s Obama +5 to Clinton’s +1), while Sen. Clinton’s Senate backers start looking for the exit. And May 20 is the new May 6.

It’s Over!

Heya…just got home from an extended academic function. But…NC by 14, IN by 2? We’re done. It’s over. IT IS OVER, and not a moment too soon.

More tomorrow.

As Guam goes…

Thank you, Hagatna: Sen. Obama wins the Guam presidential caucuses by seven votes, 50.1%-49.9%. (This means a 2-2 delegate split, but also puts Obama two closer to the magic number of 2025.)

On the super side, Obama picks up Brian Colon of NM, Inez Tenenbaum of SC, and Parris Glendening of MD (the latter two are UADs.) Clinton, meanwhile, gets Jaime Gonzalez of TX and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend of MD (also a UAD). So the day’s super tally: Obama +3, Clinton +2. Adding ’em to the post-PA super count, that puts us at Obama 17, Clinton 11 (or Clinton down 23 from her needed 2-1 split.)

The Tuesday Night Recap.

Well, I’m sure you watched it too. But, anyway, to recap: In tonight’s big contest, the two race horses started out neck-and-neck, and it looked in the early going that an upset might be in order. But, slowly but surely, the plodding, methodical contender pulled away for a small but convincing victory, and that’s all she wrote. I’m referring, of course, to Game 2 of the Suns-Spurs series. Why, was there something else going on?

(By the way, in case you didn’t know, I’m not sure of the Obama analogue yet, but the San Antonio Spurs are definitely the Clintons of the NBA. Tim Duncan’s the Bill of the bunch, the natural talent (with past championships to his name) who whines and works the refs constantly. Bruce Bowen is Hillary, a less-talented workhorse whom people in the media describe with euphemisms like “tenacious”, when he’s clearly and obviously just a dirty player. And, like the rest of the Clinton campaign, Parker and Ginobli are basically slashers…but let’s not belabor it too much.)

At any rate, so, yes, in a huge shocker Senator Clinton won Pennsylvania by ten this evening, 55%-45%. [Update: Since it seems to have confused some Clinton-leaning folk on other blogs, I meant “huge shocker” ironically. See below.] We’ll know the delegate spread tomorrow, but, however it turns out and like Ohio six weeks ago, tonight is just another case of Clinton winning the battle and losing the war: There’s no way at all she gets enough delegates to become viable again. Simply put, Sen. Obama’s previously insurmountable delegate lead is now, to coin a phrase, even insurmountabler. Do I need to link the same post again?

Nevertheless, if you’re looking for someone to blame for Obama’s loss tonight, look no further than Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love broke from the rest of the state and went 2-1 for Obama. And, as every sports fan knows, Philly always loses despite themselves. You can’t fight the curse.

In any case, I’d been girding myself for a 15-point margin for Sen. Clinton of late, so, in the grand scheme of things, 55-45 was fine with me (particularly given that the contest seems to have cost Clinton what was left of her bankroll.) So, now, on to Indiana and North Carolina in two weeks, where hopefully this primary — finally — comes to an end. Eat, drink, and be merry, Clinton folk, for tomorrow, your candidacy of choice dies.

Update: They’re still tallying the delegates, but it’s looking like Clinton will remain behind by around 150 pledged delegates overall. In the meantime, Al Giordano crunches the exit poll numbers: “Senator Clinton lost ground in every one of those key foundations of her former base vote…Whether or not the commercial media spins it that way – in her campaign’s lexicon – ‘doesn’t matter.’ And ye shall know the dumbest and slowest – and intentionally dishonest – political reporters, pundits, bloggers (and former presidential candidates and spouses) by those that argue otherwise.

Update 2: It ain’t over yet. This (pre-PA) Youtube suggests a potential path to victory for Clinton. (Here’s a hint: The Hartford Convention.)

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