More importantly, though, notice how Cillizza describes her rationale for continuing:
The Clinton campaign, in fact, released a statement insisting that the Associated Press story that fueled this maelstrom was not correct; "Senator Clinton will not concede the nomination this evening," the statement asserted.
Language is important here. An acknowledgment of Obama securing the delegates he needs to formally become the party's nominee is NOT the same thing as a concession by Clinton.
Over the past few days, Clinton has focused almost exclusively on the popular vote count -- all but ignoring the delegate race in a seeming concession of her inability to overcome Obama in that metric.
Therefore, Clinton may well use the national spotlight tonight to do two things: acknowledge Obama has the delegates he needs while also trumpeting her popular vote edge. Clinton could then spend the next 24 hours (or so) taking the pulse of committed and uncommitted superdelegates about their willingness (or lack thereof) to take her side.
A little-known fact about the 2000 race is that George W. Bush's campaign planned to challenge a Gore victory in the Electoral College if Bush won the popular vote. Ironically, of course, Bush won under that exact scenario.
In the last few weeks, Hillary has followed in Bush's (almost) footsteps by attempting to discard the agreed-upon institutional metric for determining the winner of the race and undermine the rule-based outcome. Beyond the obvious absurdity of changing the rules at the end of the campaign, the problem is that we can't know what would have happened had either campaign been conducted solely on the basis of the popular vote.
PS Setting aside the debate over the different ways you can add up the caucus and primary popular vote totals, what makes Hillary's argument more absurd is that Democrats prefer Obama in national polls.
Update 6/3 3:45 PM: Per comments below questioning my claim about a planned Bush challenge, I've pasted an original article from the New York Daily News below the fold.
Daily News (New York)
November 1, 2000, Wednesday
BUSH SET TO FIGHT AN ELECTORAL COLLEGE LOSS
BYLINE: BY MICHAEL KRAMER
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 6
LENGTH: 645 words
They're not only thinking the unthinkable, they're planning for it.
Quietly, some of George W. Bush's advisers are preparing for the ultimate "what if" scenario: What happens if Bush wins the popular vote for President, but loses the White House because Al Gore's won the majority of electoral votes?
"Then we win," says a Gore aide. "You play by the rules in force at the time. If the nation were really outraged by the possibility, then the system would have been changed long ago. The history is clear."
Yes it is, and it's fascinating. Twice before, Presidents have been elected after losing the popular vote. In 1876, New York Gov. Samuel Tilden won the popular vote (51% to 48%) but lost the presidency to Rutherford Hayes, who won by a single electoral vote. Twelve years later, in 1888, Grover Cleveland won the popular vote by a single percentage point, but lost his reelection bid to Benjamin Harrison by 65 electoral votes.
The same thing almost happened in 1976 when Jimmy Carter topped Gerald Ford by about 1.7 million votes. Back then, a switch of about 5,500 votes in Ohio and 6,500 votes in Mississippi would have given those states to Ford, enough for an Electoral College victory. But because it didn't happen, the upset over its having almost happened faded rapidly.
Why do we even have the Electoral College? Simply put, the Founding Fathers didn't imagine the emergence of national candidates when they wrote the Constitution, and, in any event, they didn't trust the people to elect the President directly.
A lot has changed since then, including the anachronistic view that the majority should be feared. But the Electoral College remains.
So what if Gore wins such crucial battleground states as Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania and thus captures the magic 270 electoral votes while Bush wins the overall nationwide popular vote?
"The one thing we don't do is roll over," says a Bush aide. "We fight."
How? The core of the emerging Bush strategy assumes a popular uprising, stoked by the Bushies themselves, of course.
In league with the campaign - which is preparing talking points about the Electoral College's essential unfairness - a massive talk-radio operation would be encouraged. "We'd have ads, too," says a Bush aide, "and I think you can count on the media to fuel the thing big-time. Even papers that supported Gore might turn against him because the will of the people will have been thwarted."
Local business leaders will be urged to lobby their customers, the clergy will be asked to speak up for the popular will and Team Bush will enlist as many Democrats as possible to scream as loud as they can. "You think 'Democrats for Democracy' would be a catchy term for them?" asks a Bush adviser.
The universe of people who would be targeted by this insurrection is small - the 538 currently anonymous folks called electors, people chosen by the campaigns and their state party organizations as a reward for their service over the years.
If you bother to read the small print when you're in the booth, you'll notice that when you vote for President you're really selecting presidential electors who favor one candidate or the other.
Generally, these electors are not legally bound to support the person they're supposedly pledged to when they gather in the various state capitals to cast their ballots on Dec. 18. The rules vary from state to state, but enough of the electors could theoretically switch to Bush if they wanted to - if there was sufficient pressure on them to ratify the popular verdict.
And what would happen if the "what if" scenario came out the other way? "Then we'd be doing the same thing Bush is apparently getting ready for," says a Gore campaign official. "They're just further along in their contingency thinking than we are. But we wouldn't lie down without a fight, either."