From NBC's Ken Strickland
As attention turns from state primaries to undeclared superdelegates in Congress, there were no bombshells today in the US Senate. Reporters swarmed around senators to see if yesterday's results would draw undecided Super D's into the Clinton or Obama camps. Or if Obama supporters would demand the New York senator immediately drop out of the race. It didn't happen.
Instead, Obama supporters engaged reporters with discussion of mathematics, saying there is no reasonable way Clinton can secure the nomination. They said Clinton had the right to continue running a campaign, but raised questions as to why she would.
Some Clinton supporters were perplexed. "I'm very loyal to her," said Senator Dianne Feinstein. But the California senator said she wants to talk to Clinton to understand the campaign's way forward when the delegate numbers are leaning against them.
"I'd like to talk to her --see what her view is on the rest of the race, what the strategy is," Feinstein told reporters. "I think this is reaching a point now where there are negative dividends from it in terms of strife within the party. And I think we need to prevent that as much as we can."
Some Clinton supporters are privately resigned to an Obama nomination, according to Obama backer Sen. Dick Durbin. "There are many even Clinton supporters who've come up to me and said, 'We have to start thinking about the next stage of this ... beyond the nomination process,'" he said.
Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, a Clinton campaign co-chairman, was cautiously optimistic, but felt the race should continue into the remaining primaries. "Look, the math is what it is. But I don't think that should lead us to disenfranchise millions of people across this country just because it might be politically more convenient for our party."
Still, Obama most vocal supporters were essentially calling it a done deal. "It's effectively Barack Obama's nomination and it's effectively sewed up," said Sen. Ted Kennedy. "I don't see any possibility of altering or changing that."
Obama supporter and former candidate Chris Dodd questioned the rationale for Clinton saying in the race. After campaigning for Obama in West Virginia this past weekend, Dodd said Clinton would "do very well" in the primary there next week -- a state Dodd said Democrats "ought to carry" in the November election.
But Dodd quickly posed this dilemma: "You're going to be asking a bunch of people [in West Virginia] to vote against somebody who's likely to be your nominee a few weeks later? And turn around and ask the very same people a few weeks later to reverse themselves and now vote for [Obama] on election day?"
Dodd also voiced the concerns that some party faithful have been saying privately -- or more subtly: The protracted race could jeopardize a Democratic White House.
"I have a lot of confidence in her, and her husband, and the people around them. And they're good fighters. But they're also not foolish," Dodd said. "They're not going to want to have anyone ever say about them that they were in any way responsible for a candidate not doing well in a race we should otherwise do well in. They just won't let that happen."