Afternoon reading

Christina Bellantoni — The Washington Times

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s relentless attacks on Sen. Barack Obama exposed his weaknesses and helped her regain support among her core voters in last night’s contests, but did not deliver the decisive margins that several Democratic superdelegates said they were looking for to keep her candidacy alive.\ \ As the new front-runner leading up to the critical elections, Mr. Obama endured a week of his first real rough-and-tumble politics coming from the left and the right. Mrs. Clinton shone new scrutiny on his record and foreign-policy credentials while he absorbed attacks from Republican nominee Sen. John McCain and President Bush.\ \ And though Mrs. Clinton promised her quest would continue, Mr. Obama seemed to be holding strong with the most critical constituency, party superdelegates — state and local party officials and congressional Democrats — who likely will be tasked with settling the drama of the Democratic race.\ \ Washington Times interviews with superdelegates who were closely following last night’s election returns revealed many had thought she would have to win both Ohio and Texas by whopping margins to keep or earn their support. Her Texas margin was razor-thin at 1 a.m., and although her campaign will claim surging momentum, once caucus results are tallied, it is unlikely she will have won more Lone Star state delegates than her rival.\ \

Rhett Ruggerio, a superdelegate from Delaware who backs Mrs. Clinton, said the results from Texas and Ohio “dictate the future for her.”\ \ “It’s crucial for the Hillary Clinton camp to show a significant win,” he said.\ \ He said he will closely watch the margins of loss or victory and ultimately will “do the thing that’s best for the party.”\ \ “I don’t think anybody wants to see a brokered convention,” he said. “She needs significant wins in order to stay viable in the party, and I don’t think that’s a secret.”