The Hillary Deathwatch

Slow news is good news for Clinton.

When you’ve got a 1-in-10 shot of winning the Democratic nomination, a day without any major screw-ups is a good one. After avoiding any major pitfalls—but also failing to lure Obama into any traps—Clinton has buoyed her chances of winning the nomination to 9.9 percent.

The good news first: Yesterday we relayed that the Wall Street Journal was reporting that Obama was going to snag seven North Carolina superdelegates in the coming days. It turns out somebody jumped the gun. He’ll get endorsements, but we don’t know how many. Meanwhile, in Mississippi, Obama picked up two unexpected delegates, which tightens the vise on Clinton yet again.

Also, Clinton crawled back to within four points of Obama in today’s national Gallup poll. Even better news: Enterprising poll watchdogs discovered that Obama’s Gallup numbers are routinely better when the polling window includes the weekend rather than only the workweek. Clinton and her pollster, Mark Penn, now have license to toss grains of salt all over Obama’s resurgence in the polls. (Late-breaking developments may put an end to the salt-sprinkling, though.)

Nancy Pelosi offered a little more sunshine in Hillaryland when she told NPR’s Morning Edition that Clinton should take the nomination fight to the convention if she feels like it. For Obama Democrats, that’s like telling Clinton to take a knife and start stabbing the party’s heart while she’s at it.

But all good things must come to an end. Word leaked that Obama is outspending Clinton 3-to-1 in Pennsylvania, a problem for Clinton’s campaign, which is already beset by rumors of financial trouble. Advertising usually leads to a surge in the polls, and Obama already trails Clinton by a moderate 11 points in the Keystone State. If she can’t counteract Obama’s advertising arsenal, she’ll fall back to free media like her appearance on Leno on Thursday to charm her way into America’s living rooms.

Worst of all, Canada has once again been injected into the Democrats’ nomination fight. In an interview with Canadian public radio on Sunday, Missouri Rep. and Clinton superdelegate Emanuel Cleaver said he’d be “stunned if [Barack Obama] is not the next president of the United States.” Cleaver, who is black, said the African-American community would like it if he backed Obama, but he wouldn’t feel right if he made the switch. He compared her to a football team that you know isn’t going to win, but you root for it anyway. That’ll inspire confidence.

And finally, from the Department of Bad Omens, Clinton announced a foolish new theme song. It’s the famous score from Rocky. Only problem: Rocky loses to Apollo Creed at the end of the first film.

For a full list of our Deathwatches, click here. For a primer on Hillary’s sinking ship, visit our first Deathwatch entry.