Republicans rejoice: Hillary claims "momentum"

Republicans had worried that Hillary Clinton might opt out of the Democratic primary race if she loses tomorrow in Texas, Ohio, or both. Fret not — the Clintonian ambition for power continues unabated. Today, Hillary claimed momentum after losing ten straight states in explaining why she’ll remain in the race:

Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton suggested Monday she’ll press on with the campaign after Tuesday’s crucial primaries, arguing that momentum is on her side despite 11 straight losses to rival Sen. Barack Obama.

“I’m just getting warmed up,” Clinton told reporters, looking ahead to a busy day of campaign events in Ohio and Texas where polls show a close race ahead of Tuesday’s primaries.

Clinton’s husband, former President Clinton, has asserted that his wife must win both Texas and Ohio to keep her campaign alive. On Friday, Hillary Clinton’s advisers recast the stakes, saying if Obama lost any of the four presidential primaries Tuesday — Rhode Island and Vermont also vote — it would show Democrats are having second thoughts about him. ….

“I think I know what’s happening and I believe I’m going to do very well tomorrow,” she said. “I think that’s going to be a very significant message to the country, and then we move on to Pennsylvania and the states coming up.”

We may be through the looking glass with this statement. Her team spun the race so that any loss by Obama — who leads in pledged delegates by as much as 160 — somehow constitutes an end to his candidacy. Now she wants to claim that any kind of a good showing represents a victory, even if an actual victory does not appear tomorrow.

It looks as though the Clintons plan to take this race all the way to Pennsylvania, if not the convention in July. That gives John McCain more time to study Hillary’s attack strategy and tactics over the next few weeks, discovering what works and what doesn’t, and preparing for the general election. Obama will continue to fight a two-front battle.

With every poll but Zogby showing Clinton winning Ohio, can Hillary make the argument that one out of four ain’t bad? We’ve seen more desperate rationalizations from the Clintons before. Democrats used to cheer them, while Republicans jeered. The reversal may prove refreshing.