But Clinton could not go before Democratic primary voters and assail Obama for being too far to the left. Instead, she insinuated moral turpitude by asserting that Obama had not been "vetted." When that backfired, she claimed plagiarism by Obama in lifting a paragraph from a speech by his friend and supporter Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick -- an approach that yielded mainly derisive laughter among politicians.
I listened in on last Wednesday's news media conference calls by Clinton campaign managers Mark Penn and Harold Ickes in the wake of her Wisconsin drubbing. Incredibly, they were hawking the same plagiarism charge that had proved ineffective. Clinton herself raised the bogus issue again in Thursday night's debate from Austin and was rewarded with boos from the Democratic audience.
Clinton's burden is not only Obama's charisma but also McCain's resurrection. Some of the same Democrats who short months ago were heralding her as the "perfect" candidate now call her a sure loser against McCain, saying she would do the party a favor by just leaving.
Clinton's tipping point may have come when it was announced that her $5 million loan to her campaign came from a joint fund she shares evenly with Bill Clinton. That puts into play for the general election business deals by the former president that had transformed him from an indigent to a multimillionaire and excite interest in their income tax returns, which the Clintons refuse to reveal. The prospect impels many Democratic insiders to pray for clear Obama victories on March 4 that they hope will make it unnecessary for anybody to beg Hillary Clinton to end her failed campaign.