Barack Obama won Saturday's Wyoming caucuses handily and should win Tuesday's Mississipi primary as well. Depending on which tally you believe, that will leave Obama somewhere between 110 and 125 delegates ahead of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential nominating contest, with only a few more state contests to go. Cutting through the spin, here is what you should and should not believe about the Obama-Clinton race as it enters its next phase, beginning with the April 22 Pennsylvania primary in which Clinton is favored. Obama-Clinton, Clinton-Obama ticket: Fuggetaboutit. There will be no dream ticket for Democrats. Former President Bill Clinton and other Clinton campaigners have been suggesting that Democrats can vote for Hillary and get Obama too. This is just so much empty posturing. If Obama should lose this year's race to Clinton, he knows that he would be far better served to maintain his position as an influential Illinois senator and national leader than to ride sidecar to Clinton. Clinton would never serve as No. 2. The vice presidency is a difficult job in the best of circumstances and dreadful in the worst. Vice President Lyndon Johnson was treated with scorn by President John Kennedy and his inner circle; Johnson treated his vice president, Hubert Humphrey, the same. Fact is, the vice presidency is a notorious burial ground for ambitious national politicians. Only George H.W. Bush, in modern history, has been elected directly to the presidency from the vice presidency. Monster mash and all that. The Clintons feigned outrage last week when Samantha Power, a Dublin-born human rights activist and volunteer Obama campaign advisor, was quoted in a Scottish newspaper as characterizing Sen. Clinton as "a monster." Power then resigned -- if you can resign from a non-paying, advisory-only position. Fact is, presidential campaigns have dozens of such volunteer policy advisors. They are not official campaign spokespersons so what they say and do is routinely dismissed as their personal business. The Clintons were clever enough to seize on the monster comment and make something of it; the Obamans were sufficiently inexperienced that they took the bait. Power's offhand characterization was far less significant than, for instance, Bill Clinton's crude playing of the race card prior to the South Carolina primary or his rude dismissals of Obama's experience along the way. Last we looked, he had not resigned from his wife's campaign. There is a long tradition, in fact, of campaign surrogates making statements which the candidates themselves would not dare make. My first thought, on hearing of Power's statement, was that Obama managers had put her up to it and would spend the next few days denying that they or their candidate really thought Hillary was a monster, thus keeping the notion alive in the electorate. Nope. In the six-plus weeks before the Pennsylvania primary, Power's monster comment will quickly be filed and forgotten. During that period both campaigns, you can be sure, will probe for and publicize far stronger stuff. The Clintons, for their part, will continue to push Obama hard on his political and professional relationship to a Chicago fixer now on trial on charges totally unrelated to Obama. The Obama campaign will continue to press for release of the Clintons' joint tax return (presumed to show millions flowing to Bill Clinton from possibly dubious sources) as well as Hillary Clinton's appointment logs as first lady. Sen. Clinton has promised to produce both the tax return and logs but, thus far, has not done so. Experience and inexperience: Let's get real. Neither Obama nor Clinton has depth of experience on national and international issues comparable to those of departed Democratic candidates Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, and Joe Biden. Voters knew that when they rejected the other guys. Both have solid Ivy-League educations. Obama went home to Chicago from Harvard Law to serve as a grassroots organizer, serving the poor. He subsequently served well in the Illinois state senate before coming to the U.S. Senate. Clinton worked for the Watergate committee, investigating President Nixon, before moving to Arkansas to marry up-and-coming politico Bill. She subsequently, as Arkansas' first lady, did a comprehensive review of public education in the state. She served as chair of the Children's Defense Fund, run by her friend Marian Edelman, in Washington, D.C. (Edelman and her husband, Peter Edelman, a former Robert Kennedy aide, later split with the Clintons when President Clinton signed a welfare reform bill they opposed). As first lady in the White House, Hillary Clinton had no security clearance and was uninvolved in national security/foreign policy issues. Her principal substantive assignment was health-care reform, which she thoroughly botched. In the Senate, she has become known as a hard working advocate of New York state and as a comparative moderate often reaching across party lines. But she has neither sponsored nor seen to passage important national legislation. Here there is an irony. Clinton, in national politics, is seen as a polarizer whereas Obama is seen as a unifier. Yet Obama's voting record is the most liberal in the Senate whereas Clinton's is more middling. Obama and Clinton have differences over health-care reform but they are small. They differ most dramatically on Iraq. Obama opposed the intervention outright; Clinton voted to authorize it, although it can be argued that, technically, she voted for application of U.N. sanctions on Iraq rather than war per se. Neither Obama nor Clinton can be rated in the top half of congressional Democrats on their substantive experience. One is not ready, the other unready. Both are comparatively unready but generally respected by their peers for their diligence and leadership qualities. Getting to There. Neither Obama nor Clinton is within easy reach of a first-ballot presidential nomination. Clinton, in particular, would have to ring up nearly 2-1 victories in remaining primaries and caucuses to get there. Obama, given his delegate lead, could do it but only with difficulty. At present, the nominating balance of power lies with "super delegates," Democratic officeholders and party leaders with a convention vote who were not elected as delegates in either primaries or caucuses. Democratic national party rules stripped delegates from states who moved their nominating contests, without authorization, into January. Michigan and Florida, knowing the rules, opted to hold January primaries anyway. Presidential candidates did not campaign there. Obama's name was not even listed on the Michigan ballot. Clinton now asserts that the states' delegations should be seated, no matter the party rules, and awarded to her. This will not happen. But, at this point, it seems likely that one or both states will do reruns in June -- if not primaries, as originally held, then less expensive caucuses. Obama does well in caucuses and, thus, Clinton can be expected to resist any formula but a rerun of primaries in both states. The big question now: Who would pay for these reruns? The states' governors currently refuse to do so. The Democratic National Committee will not do so. Unions and individual major donors may be asked to pony up the $10-20 million that would be required to run June primaries in both states, or the Obama and Clinton campaigns could be asked to share the cost. It seems inconceivable to me that either Obama or Clinton would want the nominating race decided without a) participation of these two big electoral states or b) the seating of delegations whose legimitacies were not in question. The present Clinton strategy, to back seating of the illegitimate delegations without primary or caucus reruns, seems untenable. Bottom line. Have no illusion about what is to come. Both the Obama and Clinton campaigns will throw and receive some hard punches between now and Democrats' Denver convention. Pennsylvania will be important, especially for Clinton, who is expected to win there. But, even if she carries the state decisively, she still will lag Obama in delegate totals as the contest moves on to other states where the terrain is more favorable to him. I still expect Obama, in the end, to win the nomination. But he will need to prove quickly that he can take a punch and come back strong. The minor skirmish about his advisor's "monster" comment appeared last week to throw him off his game. He should have brushed it off with a joke. Clinton will need to suppress her jugular instinct. If she overdoes competitiveness (especially against a Mr. Nice Guy) she could defeat herself. Whomever you favor, this is a heck of a game which, in the end, could go to overtime.