Hillary Clinton is looking for a late comeback ahead of this week's Super Tuesday 2 primary and is doing whatever it takes — whether testing her comedic chops or hitting her Democratic presidential primary opponent as ill-equipped to manage a crisis.
Whether it is working is anyone's guess.
Refusing to go down without a fight, Clinton was in Ohio Sunday after showing up unannounced to deliver the "Live from New York" introduction to Saturday Night Live. She also participated in a follow-up sketch from last week that mocked the seeming kid-glove treatment the media give to Obama.
Out on the campaign trail, Clinton is taking a much tougher tack, claiming that she is better prepared to be president from day one, particularly if a crisis hits. Campaigning in Texas, Clinton told reporters that Obama's entire campaign is based on a speech he gave at an anti-war rally in 2002" in which he spoke out against an invasion of Iraq.
Voters are going to the polls Tuesday not only in Ohio, but in Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont as well. Clinton is behind by about 1 percent in the delegate-rich state of Texas. Obama campaigned in Rhode Island over the weekend in hopes of shrinking her slim lead there.
Poll numbers in Ohio have been varying, but still put Clinton above rival Barack Obama. The latest Cleveland Plain Dealer/Mason Dixon poll has Clinton at 47 percent compared to Obama's 43 percent with a margin of error of 4 points. Clinton leads among woman by 53 to 38 percent and with voters over 50, 54 to 36 percent. Obama holds almost identical leads among men and those younger than 50.
In a Columbus Dispatch poll, Democrats favored Clinton 56 percent to 40 percent over Obama. But respondents also said Obama is the better bet to win in November.
Clinton has sent out her surrogates to repeat the mantra and push the message conveyed in an advertisement that aired last week that asked who voters want to be president when a crisis call comes in at 3 a.m. The ad, which has been compared to the "Daisy" ad put out by Lyndon Johnson's campaign in 1964, has shaped the debate for days.
"I think she knows her stuff, and I think she knows the world, and I think knowing the world right now is extraordinarily important. Yes, I believe she is ready for a 3:00 a.m. phone call," said California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Feinstein could not give an example of the experience Clinton has to make a crisis decision at 3 a.m. but said Clinton has "been tested by the anvil of a White House for eight years, of going to some 80-plus countries, of serving on the Armed Services Committee of the United States Senate, of traveling to Iraq. ... It's the best experience anybody could possibly have that has not been a president of the United States."
But Obama supporter and senior Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin told "FOX News Sunday" that being president isn't just about reacting quickly.
"The basic question is not whether the president can wipe the sleep out of his or her eyes and think clearly, but the judgment that they'll use once that phone call is understood. And I think that Senator Obama has met that test. I remember one of those moments in the Senate. It was almost 2:00 a.m. on October 11, 2002, and that's when we were called on to vote as to whether to authorize President Bush to invade Iraq. There were many senators who decided at that time to give the president the authority. Barack Obama said clearly he would not (have done so). His judgment was right at that critical moment in history. And I think it's judgment that people are looking for," Durbin said.
Obama, speaking in Rhode Island on Saturday, criticized Clinton for what he described as a shift in positions for political expediency. He used examples of Clinton's positions on the North American Free Trade Agreement and bankruptcy protection legislation.
"Real change isn't about changing your position to fit the politics of the moment. And that's the choice in this election," Obama told a packed recreation center as thousands more listened from outside. "Real change isn't voting for George Bush's war in Iraq and then telling the American people it was actually a vote for more diplomacy when you start running for president."
On Sunday at a town hall meeting at Hocking College in Ohio, Obama disputed claims that he's all talk, no substance.
"The truth is is that, you know, politics goes in cycles and there's flux, and when I first got into the race, we had a couple of big rallies right after I announced and I made a couple of big speeches and then we started having a lot of town hall meetings like this and it was interesting that some of the reporters started criticizing the fact that I sounded like a policy wonk, I was like a professor," he said. "And then we started getting a lot of momentum and suddenly we were having these big crowds and I was making big speeches and they said, 'Oh, this guy he just makes big speeches all the time.'"
While turnout will be the deciding factor, according to several analysts, Feinstein said regardless of Tuesday's outcome Clinton should stay in the race.
"Her candidacy is extraordinarily important. If ever a qualified woman could hold the presidency of the United States, this is the qualified woman. And for those of us that are part of 'a woman need not apply' generation, which goes back to the time I went out to get my first job following college and a year of graduate work, this is an extraordinarily critical race," she said.
Durbin wouldn't say whether Clinton should pull out if she loses any of Tuesday's states, but he did say it would become increasingly more difficult for her to compete. Obama is roughly 100 delegates ahead of Clinton in the race for the 2,025 delegates needed to lock the nomination.
Regarding a general election match-up with Obama, former President Bush strategist Karl Rove said, "It is a mistake for the Obama campaign to call on her to get out."
"That is not the thing you do when the other guy is going down. You're rubbing their nose in it and it never leaves good feelings," Rove said.
FOX News' Julie Kirtz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.