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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Superdelegates Unswayed by Clinton’s Attacks

By PATRICK HEALY, NYT

Throughout their contentious debate on Wednesday, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton tried again and again to put Senator Barack Obama on the defensive in a pointed effort, her advisers say, to raise doubts about his electability among a small but powerful audience: the uncommitted superdelegates who will most likely determine the nomination.

But although Mrs. Clinton gave it her best shot in what might have been their final debate, interviews on Thursday with a cross-section of these superdelegates — members of Congress, elected officials and party leaders — showed that none had been persuaded much by her attacks on Mr. Obama’s strength as a potential Democratic nominee, his recent gaffes and his relationships with his former pastor and with a onetime member of the Weather Underground.

In fact, the Obama campaign announced endorsements from two more superdelegates on Thursday, after rolling out three on Wednesday and two others since late last week in what appeared to be an orchestrated show of strength before Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary. Obama advisers said that one of the pickups on Thursday, Councilman Harry Thomas Jr. of the District of Columbia, had initially favored Mrs. Clinton, but Clinton advisers denied that, and a Thomas aide said he had been neutral before Thursday.

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