This morning Hillary Clinton’s camp sent this email to everyone on her mailing list:

But cross over to Barack Obama’s website, and this is what they’re saying:

So who’s lying?

Nobody, really. But when the delegate margin is so narrow, it all comes down to perception. “In a race where it is impossible to name a frontrunner at the moment — and with the series of states set to vote over the next month promising little clarity — momentum is everything,” says Washington Post blog The Fix. “Looking like a winner is as important as being one.”

The opposing camps are desperate to capture the news cycle, and the Big Mo that it carries — so it’s all in how they spin it.

“On the Democratic side, the campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton held conference calls within 30 minutes of one another to ‘help’ reporters sort through yesterday’s returns”, says The Fix:

  • Obama campaign manager David Plouffe: “We think [Feb. 5] was the most challenging day for us in the entire election contest.” … “We won more states, we won more delegates, we won more votes.”
  • Clinton pollster Mark Penn: “Senator Clinton bounced back to win a strong win in the large states across the country… This is a contest that would be all but over in a winner-take-all system.”

So in a nutshell, Obama won more states, but Clinton won larger and more populous states.

And as if counting delegates weren’t confusing enough, “news organisations are calculating their own totals. And they’re all different!”says Slate.

The Age looked a little confused, or at least behind the eight ball, this morning:

But The Oz hedged their bets and then splashed with McCain:

Delegates are still being counted, but Obama is now claiming he’s ahead, by 14 delegates. Clinton’s campaign say the candidates will finish within five or six delegates of each other. Essentially it’s a dead heat.

The key difference right now? Obama has a fatter wallet. As the individual online donations to his campaign continue to pour in, a story is doing the rounds this morning that Hillary Clinton’s staffers have offered to work without pay for a month, as Hillary admitted slapping her own credit card on the table to the tune of $5 million.

There’s one thing that everyone can agree on — the Democrat race is deadlocked. Here’s the wash-up:

Bragging rights: Both the Clinton and Obama campaigns emerged from Super Tuesday with bragging rights. Clinton trounced Obama in Massachusetts, 56 percent to 41 percent. It was a thrashing that almost matched the one he gave her in South Carolina. — John Dickerson, Slate

Democrats — the morning after: Same as it ever was… the continent-sized competition did more to reconfirm than realign the basic contours of the Democratic race. The two candidates emerged from the unprecedented test still running virtually step for step overall — and still dividing the party along the same lines of gender, education, income, age and race that have shaped their duel through the first contests. — National Journal

Obama’s online strategy may make the difference: Just compare the DipDive “Yes We Can” video to the Clinton campaign’s latest attempt at viral video, it’s dippy “Guitar Hero” parody. One campaign benefits from voter-generated organic online support (that it has helped foster, as Ari Melber keeps pointing out), and one hires professionals to make online videos that, at least in this case, reek of inauthenticity. One campaign embraces the open internet in policy terms, and one cleaves to a Hollywood-inspired attitude towards intellectual property that kept it from even calling for free use of campaign debate video. The bottom line is, in generational terms Clinton’s core supporters–women in their 40s through their 60s–are far less likely to be digital natives than Obama’s youthful base. — TechPresident

(for Hillary’s answer to Obama’s viral, and donated, DipDive video: Click here)

Clinton coughs up: At her news conference this afternoon, Senator Clinton acknowledged the loan, saying: “I loaned the campaign $5 million from my money. That’s where I got the money. I did it because I believe very strongly in this campaign, and we had a great month fund-raising in January, broke all our records, but my opponent was able to raise more money and we intended to be competitive – and we were – and I think the results last night proved the wisdom of my investment.” Her advisers says she’s considering another loan because money is tight now — the mega-primaries yesterday were quite the financial drain. And although she won many states yesterday, including some very big states like New York and California, the victories weren’t resoundingly decisive enough — especially when you look at the extremely tight delegate matchup right now — to inspire a lot of new giving, Pat says. — The Caucus, NY Times

The Democrats are splitting, not uniting: The problem for Democrats is that the race is opening up the kind of sensitive divides that go to the party’s very identity as an institution that unites races and genders. The racial split was glaring in Georgia, where exit polls showed that roughly half the Democrats who voted were African-American, and that some 80% of them voted for Sen. Obama. And it wasn’t just Georgia. In New York, a much different kind of state, roughly six in 10 blacks went for Sen. Obama over Sen. Clinton in her home state. The flip side of the black-white split is the white-Hispanic split. Hispanics are starting to consistently back Sen. Clinton. In the electoral crucible of California, for instance, roughly two-thirds of Hispanics went for her, exit polls showed. — Capital Journal, The Wall Street Journal

Counting the cash: Obama “enjoys an important funding advantage, having taken in $32m in January, compared to $13m for Clinton. Almost all of Obama’s haul – $28m – was online and from small donors, which means he still has resources to tap. Clinton, in contrast, has already reached the limit of most of her donors, and will have to reach out to new sources of funds. Her spokesman, Howard Wolfson, said her loan last month to the campaign ‘illustrates Senator Clinton’s commitment to this effort and to ensuring that our campaign has the resources it needs to compete and win.'” —The Guardian 

What about the super delegates?: Clinton has received super delegates from the governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, and Senator Chuck Schumer. In addition, she has received many super delegates from members of the House of Representatives from numerous states. As part of the super delegate rules, Senator Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, both count as separate delegates. There is not much of a surprise there! Obama has received super delegates from Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., former Senator John Kerry, and most recently, Senator Ted Kennedy. Undoubtedly, super delegates will help determine who wins the nomination. The tight race between Clinton and Obama is now trickling down to the super delegates. They have been pretty much dead even throughout this nomination process. Ultimately, super delegates will be crucial for this election. — Associated Content

A comparison in stump speeches:
As luck, and poor scheduling, would have it, Barack Obama and John McCain gave their Super Tuesday victory speeches at roughly the same time last night, causing cable news directors across the dial to go split-screen. The overlapping oratories could not have been more dramatically different. One soared; the other plodded. One caused goose bumps; the other caused eyelids to flutter shut. — The Huffington Post

Five reasons why Hillary should be worried: There are five big reasons the former first lady should be spooked by the current trajectory of the campaign. Longtime Clinton friends say she recognizes the peril in careening between near-death primary night experiences and small-bore victories. – Politico

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey