Now the Democratic primary gets really dirty! Most superdelegates are politicians who need to curry favor along with their vote at the convention. No politician wants to miss the chance to look good by backing either candidate when they no longer care for their support. Now is crunch time: The superdelegates that come over to the Obama side still have what to gain. As the race tightens without a clear victor, the worst case scenario is materializing, a nominee elected by superdelegates. The rush of superdelegates currying favor and candidates desperate for votes will come to a head in the next few days while the votes still seem to matter. Politico.com discusses the opening salvo in this final battle.

A behind-the-scenes battle broke out late Tuesday over superdelegates who had secretly committed to Barack Obama with Clinton campaign officials scrambling to “freeze” them before they announced support for him. The battle reflects the trench warfare that both campaigns expect if the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination stretches on to the Pennsylvania primary on April 22.

Democratic officials involved in the conversations said Obama was lining up a package of superdelegates – the party insiders whose votes help select the Democratic nominee – with plans to announce their support as a bloc.

Obama also plans to announce he raised more than $50 million in February, considerably more than Clinton’s $35 million.

The Obama theory was that the separate announcements would convey juggernaut-like momentum if Obama had big wins on Tuesday, and would help turn the page if he had a disappointing showing in the Texas or Ohio primaries.

But aides to Hillary Rodham Clinton became convinced by network exit polls and her own data that she would have a stronger-than-expected showing. So they immediately began urging Obama’s prospective superdelegates to withhold their support.

If the superdelegates remain undeclared it allows Hillary’s campaign to remain in its death throes just a bit longer or squeak a comeback victory, you decide.

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