Clinton prepares to take last stand in presidential race

June 3rd, 2008 - 10:54 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 3 (IANS) As a trailing Hillary Clinton prepared to take her last stand in the Democratic presidential primaries with rival Barack Obama close to the finish line, she sent mixed signals as to her next move. Campaigning before the final two nominating contests in Montana and South Dakota Tuesday, Clinton said she would now be making her case to super delegates, who are not bound by primary results, that she is the strongest candidate to beat Republican John McCain in November.

“The decision will fall to the delegates empowered to vote at the Democratic convention. I will be spending the coming days making my case to those delegates,” she told supporters in Yankton, South Dakota.

“We have a very strong case to make that I am the best positioned to take back the White House and put this country on the right track,” she said describing Tuesday as “the beginning of a new phase of the campaign.”

“The decision will fall to the delegates empowered to vote at the Democratic convention. I will be spending the coming days making my case to those delegates,” Clinton told supporters in Yankton, South Dakota.

Frontrunner Obama, who is about 40 delegates short of the 2,118 delegates needed to clinch the party nomination, may still fall a little short as the voting ends in Montana and South Dakota, with a combined 31 delegates at stake. However, he could reach the number quickly with help from some 180 uncommitted super delegates sitting on the fence to avoid taking sides before the end of the primary season.

“There are a lot of super delegates who are waiting for the last couple of contests but I think that they are going to be making decisions fairly quickly after that,” Obama told reporters in Michigan.

“My sense is that between Tuesday and Wednesday that we’ve got a good chance of getting the number that we need to win the nomination,” he said.

Promising to unify the party for the November election, Obama said he had told Clinton in a phone conversation Sunday that “once the dust settled I was looking forward to meeting with her at a time and place of her choosing.”

“Senator Clinton has run an outstanding race, she is an outstanding public servant, and she and I will be working together in November,” said Obama, who would be America’s first black president, during a campaign stop Monday in Troy, Michigan.

But in another sign that she isn’t yet preparing to bow out of the presidential race, the former first lady launched a new television ad Monday that highlights her claim she is beating Barack Obama in the popular vote.

“Some say there isn’t a single reason for Hillary to be the Democratic nominee,” the ad’s announcer states. “They’re right. There are over 17 million of them,” he adds arguing Clinton has won “more votes than anyone in the history of the Democratic primaries.”

Clinton’s plans to return to New York Tuesday for a rally after Tuesday’s voting were taken as a sign that she was planning to make a graceful exit. A comment by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, Monday too was taken as siganalling the impending end of her campaign. “This may be the last day I’m ever involved in a campaign of this kind,” he said at a campaign stop in South Dakota. But Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee insisted she had no plans to pull out of the race on Tuesday night,

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