Obama Manager: 'We Can See the Finish Line'
By Shailagh Murray
Sen. Barack Obama is expecting a net gain of 13 delegates from Tuesday's primaries, campaign manager David Plouffe announced.
Plouffe estimated the Indiana pledged delegate tally would break down 38 to 34 in Clinton's favor, with North Carolina going 66 to 49 for Obama. The Illinois senator would likely lead Clinton by 172 pledged delegates as a result of yesterday's contests -- Obama's biggest margin yet.
"It's a high-water mark," Plouffe told reporters on a conference call this morning. "We can see the finish line here."
The call included a line-up of high-profile Obama backers, all of whom spoke of the Democratic race as essentially over. Sen. John Kerry called Tuesday's outcome a "giant and decisive stride" toward the nomination. Sen. Claire McCaskill said of the candidate's big win in North Carolina and narrow loss in Indiana, "Barack Obama squared off against the electability argument, and he won."
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano added, "It's now time for the superdelegates to begin bringing this process to a close."
But no one was willing to give Clinton a public nudge out of the race.
McCaskill called any form of intervention "inappropriate and awkward and wrong for any of us....It is her decision and only her decision."
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