In the political ballet for Barack Obama to secure the Democratic nomination, what is already happening today could very well be a sign of things to come.
It will fall on supporters of Hillary Clinton -- not Obama's backers -- to convince her that she can't prevail, at least without possibly irreparably harming Democratic hopes to recapture the White House.
George McGovern, the 1972 Democratic nominee who endorsed Clinton last October, is urging her to withdraw after Obama's sweeping victory in North Carolina on Tuesday, the Associated Press is reporting.
"She has run a valiant campaign. And she will remain an influential voice in the American future," McGovern told the AP. But Obama has won the nomination "by any practical test."
"Hillary, of course, will make the decision as to if and when she ends her campaign. But I hope that she reaches that decision soon so that we can concentrate on a unified party capable of winning the White House next November," McGovern said.
Meanwhile, Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, one of Obama's most enthusiastic backers, is saying that outsiders should not force Clinton from the field.
"I think that's got to be her judgment," Patrick said this morning, according to the Associated Press. The governor and Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, the 2004 nominee, are among the select group holding a conference call with reporters to put their spin on the race.
"I have a lot of respect for her, even though she is not the candidate that I have chosen," Patrick said. "If she's the nominee, I intend to work real hard for her. But she has to make the decision about her campaign. I'm just focused on the Obama campaign."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.