Page last updated at 12:05 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 13:05 UK

In quotes: Pennsylvania reaction

US pundits and editorial writers take contrasting views on the question whether Hillary Clinton's victory in Pennsylvania gives her a real chance of beating Barack Obama to the Democratic nomination.

Ben Smith on

Obama's defeat marked a departure from modern nomination fights, in which the media-christened front-runner typically cruises to victory.

New York Times editorial:

The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it... It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election. If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race.

Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic magazine:

If Obama thinks he has a right to actually be nominated by the Clinton Democrats because he has won more votes, more states and more delegates, he is sadly mistaken. They will never let such a person win without a death struggle. And that is where the Democrats are now headed.

Wall Street Journal editorial:

First in bellwether Ohio, and now in another crucial swing state, the New York senator has shown her tenacity. She and her husband are nothing if not relentless, and Mr Obama can be forgiven if he wakes up at night thinking he's in one of those Terminator movies where the machine in the form of a human being just keeps coming.

Walter Shapiro,

Despite Obama's unquestioned lead in delegates, fundraising and the fervor of his followers, the Democratic race increasingly resembles an academic conference on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. There are no verities, just various forms of spin-dried argumentation... As Obama is learning the hard way, hope and uplift are no substitute for a majority vote in a big-state primary.

Fred Barnes, The Weekly Standard magazine:

Forget delegates and the popular vote for the Democratic presidential nomination. The most important thing Hillary Clinton gained by winning the Pennsylvania primary yesterday was a better argument - indeed, a much better argument... The key was how she won in Pennsylvania. She clobbered [Obama] among the voting blocs that are critical to a Democratic victory: union households, women, Catholics, working class and downscale voters, and those who didn't attend college... Her argument boils down to this: I can hold the traditionally Democratic voters critical to winning the general election and he can't, and thus I can defeat McCain and he can't.

James Graff of Time magazine, on BBC News:

This does change the equation. This was supposed to be, you know, the Barack Obama camp was really hoping this would be the end of her. Even though they tried to downplay expectations, they had expected to do better than 10% behind her.

Mary Beth Schneider, the Indystar (Indiana newspaper):

Clinton needs a win here [in Indiana] to keep her campaign going. Obama needs a win here to bring the race to a close.

Jennifer Rubin,

As she visited the Pennsylvania polls the morning of the election Hillary Clinton taunted her opponent, asking "Why can't he close the deal?"... Yes, Obama had narrowed the gap just a bit from several weeks ago when her lead neared 20 points in several polls, but there could be no concealing that Hillary's point was sounding more plausible: Obama is a candidate who seems unable to win over the broad base of Democratic voters.

Larry Eichel, Philadelphia Inquirer:

In the end, Pennsylvania, after occupying the spotlight for so long, didn't decide anything - other than that the race won't be over for a while.

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