It's been as bad a last couple of weeks as Barack Obama has had. After losing in Pennsylvania, he's had the news focus on all-Jeremiah-Wright-all-the-time, been accused of not being able to 'close' and had a tough time getting on message. Various pollsters and pundits were predicting that Hillary Clinton would have all the momentum tonight, and playing up her chances of taking away the nomination.
In spite of all the bad news, Obama proved he has what it takes tonight. He won the biggest prize left, North Carolina, by a crushing 16-point margin (who says he can't win in a big state?) and in Indiana, where polls out this week had Clinton winning by upper single digits (in fact a Survey USA poll showed her winning by 12 points) it was a nailbiter in which Clinton finally pulled out a win by less than two percent. In fact, the margin is so close that it is attributable entirely to Rush Limbaugh's ordering thousands of dittoheads to vote for Hillary Clinton (probably not a single one of whom would vote for her in the fall.) Winning only because she has the support of Rush Limbaugh (whose stated goal is to drag out the Democratic primary process all the way to a convention floor fight) DOES NOT QUALIFY AS A WIN (even if she does squeak out a one or two point margin.) There are numbers to back that up too: In the CNN commissioned exit poll, the question is asked how voters would vote in an election between Clinton and McCain. 16% of voters in today's Democratic primary indicated that in such a matchup they would vote for McCain. One would expect the cut off your nose to spite your face crowd would mostly be supporters of the other candidate. That is true, but not overwhelmingly so-- of those sixteen percent, Hillary Clinton got 41% of their vote. Forty-one percent of sixteen percent represents about 6% of the total vote (three times Clinton's total margin of victory.) So that is six percent of the total number of voters in Indiana who DID vote for Hillary Clinton today but who say they would vote for John McCain in the fall even if Hillary Clinton is his opponent. So yes, I think it is clear that she won Indiana because of Rush Limbaugh.
So, with things looking as bad for Barack Obama as they have at any time since Iowa, he beat back the challenge.
Hillary ran a tough race but it's time to unify the party (as she said in her own speech tonight). Obama will win the nomination and there is little she can still do to prevent it.