With no breakout winner in Tuesday’s Democratic primaries, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama on Wednesday began fortifying for a drawn-out nomination fight, with Mrs. Clinton disclosing that she had lent her campaign $5 million while Mr. Obama raised $3 million online in a single day and rejected calls for more debates.
The Republican candidates were more focused on the short term after Senator John McCain’s strong performance on Tuesday: Mr. McCain canceled a trip to Germany in order to try to seal up the nomination in the next few contests, while Mitt Romney huddled with advisers and signaled that he would stay in the race.
While Mr. McCain moved far ahead in the total number of nominating delegates, with 689 compared with 156 for Mike Huckabee and 133 for Mr. Romney, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton were in a narrower and more complicated delegate battle, with both camps claiming a lead based on their own analysis of Tuesday’s vote.
Mrs. Clinton had the overall lead of delegates and so-called superdelegates — Democrats who are governors, senators and party leaders, according to an analysis by The New York Times. Mrs. Clinton had 892 delegates and Mr. Obama 716; the Democratic nomination requires support from 2,025 delegates. The Times counts only delegates that have been officially selected and are bound by their preferences.
The narrow margin in delegates, and the growing likelihood that it will remain close, prompted concern on Wednesday from the chairman of the Democratic Party, Howard Dean, who said Tuesday night that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton should avoid taking the nominating fight all the way to the party convention in August.
“I think we will have a nominee sometime in the middle of March or April,” Mr. Dean said Wednesday on the NY1 cable news channel, “but if we don’t, then we’re going to have to get the candidates together and make some kind of an arrangement. Because I don’t think we can afford to have a brokered convention; that would not be good news for either party.”
An adviser to Mr. Dean said Wednesday that he had not discussed the idea with either candidate.
“He was essentially laying down a marker that if need be, he is prepared to step in and try to help resolve the situation,” the adviser said.
Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton spent Wednesday meeting with their advisers to calibrate for the next stage, and also held dueling news conferences where they sought to project optimism and momentum. After 28 state primaries and caucuses from Jan. 3 to Feb. 5, the Democratic calendar now airs out a bit, with contests in Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska and Washington State this weekend; Maryland and Virginia on Tuesday; and Wisconsin on Feb. 19.
The two candidates planned to campaign in Washington, Maine and Virginia in the coming days; Mr. Obama was traveling to Louisiana on Wednesday evening, and Clinton advisers said they expected Mrs. Clinton to campaign there, too.
Clinton advisers sounded especially grim on Wednesday about the upcoming contests, noting Mr. Obama’s advantage with black voters in Louisiana, Maryland and Virginia and with liberals and young voters in Washington State and Wisconsin. They were already looking ahead and budgeting for the March 4 primaries in Ohio and Texas, when nearly 400 delegates will be at stake.
“Clearly the number of delegates to be harvested from big states like New York and Massachusetts and New Jersey and California, Texas and Ohio, you know, make them particularly attractive because there’s a lot of return on your investment,” Mrs. Clinton said Wednesday at a news conference in Virginia.
Afterward, one Clinton adviser explained the focus on March 4 this way: “There’s a chance we may not win a single primary or caucus in February, so we’re banking on Ohio and Texas.
At his news conference in Chicago, Mr. Obama tamped down suggestions that he was romping to the nomination, saying that Mrs. Clinton held the advantages in a protracted fight, including her high profile and her edge with super-delegates.
“I think the Clinton camp’s basic attitude was that the whole calendar was set up to deliver the knockout blow on Feb. 5,” Mr. Obama said. “We are in a fierce competition, and we’ve got many more rounds to fight.”
Mr. Obama raised $3 million on Wednesday in online contributions, according to fund-raisers and campaign officials, one of the largest sums of the campaign. Last month alone, the Obama camp raised $27 million online.
Facing this juggernaut, Mrs. Clinton disclosed the $5 million loan, made from her personal funds in late January. She also asked supporters on Wednesday to donate $3 million over three days — which would roughly double the recent rate of giving to her campaign — as a way to show momentum against Mr. Obama.The New York Times
Detailed results and the delegate selection process.http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/07/us/politics/07campaign.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin