NC Primary: Hillary's Eight Belles Moment?

The filly was an underdog, but she ran a spirited race until Big Brown turned it on at the end and finished four-and-a-half lengths ahead at the finish line. Moments later, she collapsed to the track, both of her front ankles broken, and she had to be euthanized. I'm talking about Eight Belles' performance at the Kentucky Derby, but I could just as easily be talking about Hillary Clinton's performance yesterday in North Carolina, where Barack Obama came up with a big double-digit win.

There had been some hope among Hillary's supporters that she could have made it closer, but the state's demographics made it unlikely that she could win. More than 90% of the black voters in the state voted for Obama, and he also did well in North Carolina's college towns, allowing him to win even though he polled poorly among working-class white voters. His performance yesterday did little to alleviate doubts about his ability to get that demographic group to vote for him in the general election in November.

So is it all over for Hillary? The delegate math would seem to suggest that it is. She will do well in the upcoming primaries in West Virginia and Kentucky, but for her to catch Obama, she needs something like 68% of the remaining delegates, according to what I heard Karl Rove say on Fox News last night. That's unlikely to happen. She may try to stagger to her feet on those broken ankles, but in the end, the needle awaits her.