COMMENTS: Alabama in the Middle

Here are the delegate counts, according to each network. To win the Democratic nomination a candidate needs 2025 votes at the convention. CBS gives Obama a lead of 111 (1552 v 1441); ABC has 109 (1506 v 1457); NBC calls it 101 (1568 v 1467). ABC's Jake Tapper counted 611 delegates yet to be chosen in the remaining scheduled primaries and caucuses; 366 to be chosen if Florida and Michigan decided to revote; the remaining uncommitted are superdelegates.

NBC's Chuck Todd looked forward to Pennsylvania by quoting operative James Carville's demographic thumbnail: "Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west and Alabama in the middle." Speculating on that revote, CBS' Jeff Greenfield looked at elderly and Hispanic voters in Florida and working class voters in Michigan and concluded that those two states "could change the whole complexion of this race" in favor of Rodham Clinton. ABC's Tapper disagreed: "Even adding these new delegates would not likely mean a winner before the convention. The race is that tight."

If the voters cannot decide the nominee, ABC's George Stephanopoulos envisaged "some sort of accommodation for a joint ticket…of course the difficult question is: 'Who is on top?'" NBC's Tim Russert heard the same talk. He called it "a dream in the delegates' eyes." Yet he warned that "privately" both campaigns discourage it while "publicly it is something that is held up there as a ray of hope for delegates to believe there will be a united Democratic Party."


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