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Clinton Crushes Obama, but Does It Matter?

Pundits ask if her landslide victory will be enough to keep her campaign on life support.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.) has faced an onslaught of criticism in the press since the Indiana and North Carolina primaries clamoring for her to end her run for the nomination. Clinton's campaign countered, saying that millions of voters who haven't had a chance to vote yet should have a say. She vows to stay in the race to the end.

West Virginia voters spoke loudly and clearly Tuesday. Clinton won the state by a landslide, collecting a 41-point margin with 100% of the precincts reporting and winning every voting bloc, according to

exit polls from CNN

. She had 67% of the vote to Sen. Barack Obama's (D., Ill.) 26%.

Clinton closed the night with an optimistic outlook and plea to the voters:

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"I am in this race because I believe I am the strongest candidate -- the strongest candidate to lead our party in November of 2008 and the strongest president to lead our nation starting in January of 2009. I can win this nomination if you decide I should, and I can lead this party to victory in the general election if you lead me to victory now."

Does it matter?

Ever since Clinton fell behind in pledged delegates, her campaign has made a variety of arguments that she can still win. She recently lost one of those advantages. Superdelegates -- elected officials and party officials -- favored Clinton early in the race, but Obama has surged into the lead in that category, too. According to Democratic Convention Watch, Obama now leads 284 to 270.5, and her deficit in pledged delegates is larger, 1597 to 1442 according to MSNBC.

It will be hard for Clinton to reach 2,025 total delegates to win. She would need to secure almost every unpledged superdelegate and win the remaining primaries by landslides. Polls show her winning big in Kentucky next Tuesday but losing in Oregon. Rumors have it Obama plans to declare victory that night. His argument will be that Clinton mathematically cannot win the nomination.

The only hope for Clinton comes from the popular vote. If she continues to do well in the remaining contests, she might come close to winning it, but she needs the votes of Florida and possibly Michigan, which will be decided on May 31.