by Robin Gerber | bio

There are 2,025 reasons for Sen. Hillary Clinton and her supporters to stay calm, focused and resolved going forward. That's the number of delegates some suggest is needed to win the Democratic nomination.

The other important number is 174. That's the total delegates that will have been chosen by the time the fourth vote is taken in South Carolina on Jan. 26.

Sen. Barack Obama and Clinton each picked up nine delegates in New Hampshire. Nationally, Obama currently leads with 25 pledged delegates. Clinton is in second with 24, and John Edwards has 18. (A closer look at the full scorecard, including super delegates, is available here.)

Math isn't my strong suit, but that leaves close to 2,000 votes to go, which brings us to Feb. 5, when 22 states spit out more than 40 percent of the delegates.

It's clear that Obama won't sweep his way from Massachusetts to Georgia through home-state Illinois and on to California with its new proportional delegate rules. This is especially true because of the other important number to consider: 28. That's the number of days between the New Hampshire primary and Feb. 5.

Clinton got off the plane from Iowa and took control of campaign decisions. She adjusted to the voter demand for more real face-time, shortening her speeches and increasing her dialog with voters.

She's loosened up a bit, not only smiling and laughing more, which started a while ago, but giving an occasional personal answer. She did it in the debate on Saturday when she had a warm, humorous exchange about her likability compared to Obama's. She also made the case for her experience — and the case against Obama for lacking it.

She raised questions about Obama's inconsistencies on issues like the Patriot Act. She reminded voters that putting a woman in the White House was revolutionary change. She became the "comeback gal." But if you think things won't flip, twist, turn and throw us all for more loops, just think for a minute about not only New Hampshire last night, but what was happening 28 days ago.

Before that first week in December, Clinton was looking unassailable and Mike Huckabee was Huck-a-Who? Back then, 63 percent of Democrats thought Clinton had the best chance of winning the White House, compared to 14 percent for Obama.

But Obama was making small inroads and then he hit the Oprah super-highway to media and voter attention, and in a few short weeks he came from behind to take Iowa by eight points. Huckabee's story is even more startling. His line on the poll chart goes nearly straight up starting in early December.

In politics, it really isn't over until it's over. Just ask Obama or Huckabee, or the renewed and recently victorious Clinton.

Robin Gerber writes about women and politics for Women's Voices for Change. Her new novel is "Eleanor vs. Ike" (Harper/Avon January 2008). Visit her website.

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