AT the beginning of the US primaries voting in January, when Barack Obama's campaign was first showing its strength, I wrote in this space that I believed Hillary Clinton would nonetheless “prevail”. Now, for reasons that are all too apparent, I am not so sure. She has fallen behind in all the key indicators, she is short of money and Senator Obama has recovered surprisingly well from the attacks on him by his former pastor, the Rev Wright. Furthermore, his oratory - which still matters in the United States - is on a far higher level than Senator Clinton's. His words following victory in the North Carolina primary this week had an almost Rooseveltian ring: “At this defining moment in history - a moment when we're facing two wars, an economy in turmoil, a planet in peril - we can't afford to give John McCain the chance to serve out George Bush's third term.” Why does Hillary Clinton go on? Pride, stubborness, self-belief? Is it also because she genuinely thinks that she has a better chance of stopping McCain than Barack Obama? Some polls have shown this may well be the case although they have stopped short of finding out why. It has been left to Obama himself to face the issue: “Yes, we know what's coming“, he said this week, “the attempts to play on our fears and exploit our differences, to slice and dice this country into blue-collar and white-collar; white, black and brown, young, old; rich, poor.”