After 10 straight victories, Obama's camp claims wide lead and urges Clinton to quit. Barack Obama's campaign team, riding a wave of 10 straight victories in the contest for the Democratic nomination after wins in Wisconsin and Hawaii, yesterday urged Hillary Clinton to bow to the inevitable and accept defeat. Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, dismissed the Clinton camp's hopes of making a comeback when the power states of Texas and Ohio hold their primaries on March 4. "This is a wide, wide lead right now," Plouffe said in a conference call with reporters. "The Clinton campaign keeps saying the race is essentially tied. That's just lunacy." The argument from the Obama camp appears designed to paint Clinton as a nuisance candidate - much like Mike Huckabee, who has continued to fight for the Republican nomination even though it is impossible for him to claw back John McCain's lead in delegates. It comes at a time when Obama and McCain are increasingly taking swipes at one another on the stump, heightening anticipation that the two will face each other in November's presidential election, and relegating Clinton to a sideshow. Clinton's hopes of upsetting that equation turn on delivering a convincing performance in tonight's Democratic debate in Austin, Texas, and on gaining traction for her argument that she is the best candidate in a time of deepening economic woes, campaign officials admitted in their own conference call with reporters. Clinton unrolled the first sign of what her campaign called a harder-edged approach to the economy in a speech in New York and in television advertisements which appeal to nightshift workers. "It is time to get real, to get real about how we actually win this election and get real about the challenges facing America," she said. "I am not running for president to put Band-Aids on our problems. I am running to solve them." The message was aimed at voters in the ailing industrial state of Ohio, where Clinton needs to win by commanding margins if she is to have a chance of a comeback. But, as the results from Wisconsin indicated, she is being deserted by even her most ardent supporters: the working-class voters she had been banking on in Ohio and middle-aged white women. However, campaign officials insisted yesterday Ohio would not follow the trend in every other contest since Super Tuesday on February 5. "Ohio is very different from Wisconsin," said Harold Ickes, a longtime adviser to the Clintons. The Clinton campaign also appears to have miscalculated with a last-minute burst of negative advertisements in Wisconsin. Her team had accused Obama of plagiarising his speeches from the Democratic governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick. But the attacks appeared to have alienated undecideds, who turned to Obama. As Obama continues to broaden his coalition of supporters, Clinton continues to face a cash crisis. Obama outspent her 4-1 in Wisconsin on advertising. Her campaign officials claimed that they lacked the resources to fight for Wisconsin, even though Clinton raised well over $100m (£51m) last year. She sent an email to supporters urging them to help keep her competitive in the coming contests in Ohio and Texas. Obama took 58% of the vote in Wisconsin against 41% for Clinton. He did even better in Hawaii, the state where he was born, carrying 76% of the vote. Both states were relatively small in the delegate count. But the scale of Obama's victories allowed him to extract respectable numbers of delegates under the Democratic party's system of proportional representation. With Wisconsin and Hawaii in his column, Obama now holds a decisive lead in delegates, even factoring in Clinton's earlier advantage because of her support from super delegates. He also won an endorsement from the powerful Teamsters union yesterday. "There was very, very strong support for him among the union's members," Jim Hoffa, president of the union, said. The Associated Press yesterday gave Obama 1,336 delegates, against 1,251 for Clinton, putting him closer to the magic figure of 2,025 delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination. With voting over in all but 14 states, Clinton has relatively few opportunities for a comeback. On the Republican side, McCain solidified his grip on the Republican nomination with decisive wins over Huckabee in Wisconsin as well as Washington state. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/21/barackobama.hillaryclinton I am enjoying this as much as the Patriots choke job.