Neck and neck, Barack Obama sweeps the weekend primaries.

English/NBC Nightly News 2008.02.13 02:15

Neck and neck, Barack Obama sweeps the weekend primaries.
- excerption from February 11, 2008 NBC Nightly News

The voters continue to have it their way during this primary and caucus season.
And this weekend, they handed Obama a sweep, four straight victories.
It is not enough to decidedly tilt the race. But is it a trend?
And with three big contests coming up tomorrow where Obama is again expected to do well, what happens now in the Clinton campaign where already this past weekend there's been a big change at the top?

All this, where the Republican race roils along, front runner John McCane still has company in Mike Huckabee.

We begin our reporting on all of it tonight on the eve of more primaries tomorrow with NBC's Andrea Mitchel in Washington. Andrea, good evening.

Good evening Brian.
Barack Obama is favored in tomorrow's primaries, which he hopes to propell him ahead of Hillary Clinton in the overall delegate count for the first time.

At the University of Merryland field house, Obama was riding a wave.

"It looks like we're having March Madness a little early."

After winning by big margin this weekend in Washington state, Louisiana, Nebraska and Maine,

"Lately, senator Clinton says, well, you've gotta elect me because I've been around a long time, so I can go after the Republicans, you know, I'm tough. Well let me tell you something, I may be skinny, but I'm tough too."

Clinton, also in the district of Columbia, Marryland and Virginia today, denied that her losses in the latest caucuses spelled trouble.

"I think those are independent electorates, and I everybody knew, you all knew what the likely outcome of these recent contest were. And you know my husband didn't win any of these caucus states, you know, he didn't win Maine, he didn't win Colorado, he didn't win Washington."

But the Clinton team is showing the strain.
In a shake-up, campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle is out, replaced by a long time Clinton confidant Maggie Williams.
Clinton is also counting more than ever on getting most of the 796 super delegates, elected officials and party insiders, so if the race remains close, could tip the balance toward one or the other.

"Super delegates are under a lot of pressure right now from all sides being pursued and the arguments being made why they should be in one camp or another."

Clinton strategy, talk them into committing now to slow Obama's momentum until Texas and Ohio vote in March followed by Pennsylvania in April, states where she is ahead.
A top campaign official told NBC News, now she must win them all.

Clinton's chief lobbyist in the delegates hunt, husband Bill, according to officials in both camps, while former senate majority leader Tom Dasher, a super delegate himself, wrangles super delegates for Obama.

"Bill Clinton's calling every super delegate. I just talked to somebody a couple minutes ago that was on the line with Bill Clinton for 15 minutes and that was at a carwash."

Both sides are also calling John Edwards. Clinton flew to his home in North Carolina to see him privately last week. Obama was to go see Edwards today. But aides said it became a media circus complete with helicopters over head.(?) So they rescheduled later.

An adviser says Edwards is torn that Clinton impressed him with specific proposals on his top priority, relieving poverty, but that is still undecided.

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