Prominent Clinton Backers Slowly Backing Off

| Mon Jun. 2, 2008 10:31 AM EDT

Despite Terry McAuliffe's insistence that the race is not over and may not even be over when Obama gets to the (new) magic number of 2,118 delegates, the Clinton campaign is facing a serious challenge from within. Key surrogates are weakening in their support.

Here's former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack:

"It does appear to be pretty clear that Senator Obama is going to be the nominee. After Tuesday's contests, she needs to acknowledge that he's going to be the nominee and quickly get behind him."

Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz:

"It would be most beneficial if we resolved this nomination sooner rather than later... The more time we have to get through a general-election period and the more time we have to prepare in advance of the convention, the better."

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Former national party chairman Donald Fowler, on whether to appeal the Michigan/Florida decision:

"Unless something happens that I don't expect to happen in the next, say, by the end of June, my answer to that is not only no but, hell no... What good does it do? What good does it do anybody?"

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, on the same:

"I think it's outrageous they took four delegates away from her... But I think with 170 delegates separating them, it's not worth making the case."

Harold Ickes, who emerged as the Clinton campaign's primary voice in the fight over Michigan and Florida, contradicted Terry McAuliffe when he said, "It'll be over when one candidate secures the number for the nomination." Ickes admitted that the race could be over this week, signaling a resignation (or acceptance) that probably exists across Hillaryland.

If I had to gamble, I'd say Clinton leaves the race one day after Obama gets to 2,118. I'd also bet that when Obama gets to 2,117, his campaign receives a rush of endorsements from superdels who want to be the deciding vote.