With a "serene and mysterious smile on his face," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid predicted the Democratic primary would be resolved before the party gathers for its national convention in Denver this August.
The Las Vegas Review Journal had the following exchange with the Nevada Democrat last week and printed a transcript Monday:
Question: Do you still think the Democratic race can be resolved before the convention?
Q: How is that?
Reid: It will be done.
Q: It just will?
Reid: No, it will be done. I had a conversation with Governor Dean (Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean) today. Things are being done.
Reid wouldn't say anything more, according to the paper, but a Democratic source tells RAW STORY not to read "anything sinister" into the senator's comments. Rather, he was simply reflecting a "general sense" within the party that the contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be resolved one way or another once the primaries are over.
Clinton adviser Harold Ickes said he was unaware what Reid was referring to during the exchange. Although it is nearly impossible for Clinton to overtake Obama's lead among pledged delegates, her campaign hopes a win in next month's Pennsylvania primary could lead to victories in North Carolina, Indiana and other states that still have not voted. "The Obama campaign is trying to persuade everyone that this race is over. ... I hope they don't get their hands on the federal budget because they certainly can't count," Ickes said during a conference call Tuesday.
Ickes said the remark was "tongue in cheek," and he noted that whatever the results in upcoming contests, neither candidate will be able to win without super delegates putting them over the top. Clinton's campaign hopes to raise enough doubts about Obama's electability to convince the super delegates -- elected officials and other party leaders -- to deliver the nomination to the former first lady.
"The math argument fascinates me because it's been completely turned on its head and it has no validity," he said.
Clinton also implied she might try to poach delegates already pledged to Obama, telling the Philadelphia Daily News that "pledged delegates in most states are not pledged ... there is no requirement that anybody vote for anybody. They're just like superdelegates."
The Clinton campaign tried to play down that exchange after Obama supporters cried foul. Spokesman Phil Singer said she was simply repeating DNC rules on delegates and warned against "reading anything into" her remarks.
"Simply stating a fact, I don't think is cause for hysteria," he said.