From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
The Clinton campaign is not about to give up anything without a fight.
Strategists said in a conference call with reporters the campaign will go after delegates wherever they can be found -- including in Michigan and Florida. They also said Clinton will likely be within 25 delegates of Obama after voting on March 4, including superdelegates, and they dismissed most states which Obama has won.
"Could we possibly have a nominee who hasn't won any of the significant states -- outside of Illinois?" Chief Strategist Mark Penn said. "That raises some serious questions about Sen. Obama."
Howard Wolfson, communications director, pointed out, "We do better the more voters vote. The largest turnout primaries, by in large, are the ones that have favored us. …The presidential election is not a caucus; it's an election for the most people to get out and vote."
But the campaign seems to be shifting strategy and employing a method Obama capitalized on Feb. 5. In addition to focusing on the large states -- something Cecil admitted had been their focus -- they are "opening offices" and "hiring staff" in Wyoming, Montana and even Puerto Rico to try to get every delegate possible in "congressional districts where we can be successful."
Penn, Wolfson and Guy Cecil, a top campaign aide, also stressed the candidates should not be judged by just pledged delegates but by total delegates. Clinton has a 261-179 advantage with superdelegates, according to NBC News Political Unit estimates -- based on totals from the campaign and public endorsements.
The campaign says it will fight to seat Michigan and Florida, where they are now claiming 178 delegates, "whose votes we think should be counted at convention," Cecil said.
Penn, who said this at least twice on the call, seemed to coin the phrase to encapsulate how they will try to frame the message going forward: Clinton will draw a "clear contrast" between herself and Obama by showing that she is in the "21st Century solution business and not the promise business."