Obama’s Must Wins

Some counter-spin from the Clinton camp, which is portraying itself as the underdog, and arguing that Ohio and Texas are must wins for Obama:

The media has anointed Barack Obama the presumptive nominee and he’s playing the part.

With an eleven state winning streak coming out of February, Senator Obama is riding a surge of momentum that has enabled him to pour unprecedented resources into Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The Obama campaign and its allies are outspending us two to one in paid media and have sent more staff into the March 4 states. In fact, when all is totaled, Senator Obama and his allies have outspent Senator Clinton by a margin of $18.4 million to $9.2 million on advertising in the four states that are voting next Tuesday.

Senator Obama has campaigned hard in these states. He has spent time meeting editorial boards, courting endorsers, holding rallies, and – of course – making speeches.

If he cannot win all of these states with all this effort, there’s a problem.

Should Senator Obama fail to score decisive victories with all of the resources and effort he is bringing to bear, the message will be clear: Democrats, the majority of whom have favored Hillary in the primary contests held to date, have their doubts about Senator Obama and are having second thoughts about him as a prospective standard-bearer.

As silly as this sounds, I do actually think it is crucial for Obama to win one of the two big states. The reason is, as this memo makes clear, the Clinton campaign is prepared to spin any victory in the two states–where she was ahead by 20 point margins just a few weeks ago–as major upsets that halted Obama’s momentum. Even small wins will give the Clintons the rationale they need to continue, and the longer the race drags on, the higher the chances that something unpredictable can happen that will change the tide. A gaffe, increased media scrutiny, an international crisis, a rethinking of the Obama Messiah phenomenon, etc.