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The Clinton campaign – is it circling the drain?

She’s got a big war chest, but it sounds like there is panic setting in Camp Hillary about South Carolina at this point — the anonymous staffers are whispering. (The Politico):

“It’s still possible to win or take a close second in New Hampshire, but if the turnout even begins to mirror what happened in Iowa, all bets are off,” said a Clinton adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The adviser added that the campaign has come to accept another reality of the early process, which is that African-American voters are convinced that Obama is viable and shifting rapidly in his direction.

We’re going to lose South Carolina,” he said.

Clinton officials have urged reporters to think ahead to Feb. 5, Super Tuesday, when she expects to do well in New York, California, New Jersey and Arkansas.

However, a loss in New Hampshire, coupled with Obama’s presumed strength in South Carolina, could leave Clinton without a safe harbor to catch her breath before Feb. 5. Her aides also are pessimistic about winning the support of the powerful Culinary Workers union in Nevada – a crucial force in the state’s Jan. 19 caucuses – which has said it will announce its endorsement the day after the New Hampshire primary.

Now most campaigns would have heads roll after two losses by the long-presumed nominee of the party, but that would require Clinton to admit someone/some people screwed up royally, so if she loses New Hampshire, would this overconfident crowd actually can someone. It doesn’t look like it — they’ll just add to the bloated payroll and more retread cooks will be in the kitchen.

New faces would be the easiest way to turn the page, but Clinton’s senior team has been with her for years, and it’s not her style to throw someone overboard. One potential solution: Add some trusted officials to the team, perhaps former Clinton administration officials who have credibility with the press and the campaigns’ key donors and surrogates.

And this is just plain sad (they’ve been discussing this all morning on MSNBC):

The soft sell: Besides challenging the beef behind Obama’s rhetoric, the campaign also is trying its best to soften Clinton up. She gave an interview to Access Hollywood, in which she did a girl talk of sorts. Among the things one learns: On a Saturday night when she has some free time, she likes to do some “kind of cleaning activity. I find cleaning closets and drawers to be extremely gratifying because you know there is a beginning, a middle and an end. Unlike a lot of what I do which seems to be much more long term.” In the interview, Clinton also admits to being a “Dancing with the Stars” viewer (but only because her mother loves it). Meanwhile, Bill Clinton seemed to express frustration last night at the need to his wife’s image.

Per NBC/NJ’s Mike Memoli, Clinton said: “We can’t be a new story, I’m sorry. I can’t make her younger, taller, male

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding