Hillary keeps running as Obama surges ahead

May 10th, 2008 - 11:12 am ICT by admin  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 10 (IANS) Hillary Clinton gamely continued her quest for Democratic presidential nomination even as she lost her last advantage with rival Barack Obama surging ahead of her in the support of key party officials too. With odds heavily stacked against her after her massive defeat in North Carolina and a narrow win in Indiana primaries last Tuesday, Obama Friday racked up seven endorsements from super delegates who hold the balance of power in picking up the party nominee.

A New York Times count based on telephone polls conducted with CBS News as well as public endorsements showed Obama, who would be America’s first black president with 266 super delegates against 263 for the former first lady.

An ABC count too showed the Illinois senator ahead, while another by the Associated Press showed him running even with Clinton.

The super delegate count was one of the few mathematical areas where Clinton still maintained an advantage in the race starting with a lead of more than 100 super delegates in January. She trails her opponent in the popular vote and the total Democratic delegate count.

Neither candidate has the 2,025 delegates needed for the nomination. Obama has 1,860 total delegates, 165 delegates short of clinching the Democratic nod, and Clinton has 1,696, according to a CNN survey.

Obama holds a commanding lead in the number of pledged delegates awarded from primaries and caucuses: 1,592 to Clinton’s 1,424. There are 217 pledged delegates up for grabs in the remaining six contests.

Super delegates represent up to a fifth of the Democratic convention delegation, and have historically supported the front-runner at the convention. More than 250 super delegates have yet to publicly announce their decisions.

In addition to super delegates, Obama Friday also won the support of the American Federation of Government Employees. The union claims about 600,000 members who work in the federal and Washington, D.C., governments.

Determined not to go down without a fight, Clinton made pitches Friday to super delegates that she is the best candidate to lead a Democratic ticket in November.

Her campaign tried to appeal to elected Democrats in Republican-leaning districts, arguing that Clinton can win more votes there than Obama and thus help their re-election prospects.

Besides a memo signed by more than a dozen congressional Democrats arguing she is “the strongest candidate to have at the top of the ticket this fall” it sent a PowerPoint presentation to legislators detailing her ability to carry swing districts.

Obama made clear he is willing to campaign through the remaining contests if Clinton does not drop out before the last one June 3.

But amid fresh calls to Hillary Clinton to quit the White House race, a new poll released Friday suggesting she holds a commanding lead in West Virginia, the next scene of battle May 13, brought some cheer to the Clinton camp.

The new survey from the American Research Group, conducted entirely after last Tuesday’s primary results, suggested Clinton has a 43-point advantage over Obama, 66 percent to 23 percent.

The poll suggests Clinton’s white, working class base seems to be holding firm for her - at least in West Virginia, where that demographic makes up a substantial portion of the Democratic electorate.

Meanwhile, Obama supporter Ted Kennedy rejected the idea of a Clinton-Obama “Dream ticket”. In an interview airing this weekend, he told Bloomberg that despite widespread talk of a ticket featuring both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, “I don’t think it’s possible.”

He added that “…I would hope that he would also give consideration to somebody that has - is in tune with his appeal for the nobler aspirations of the American people. And I think if we had real leadership - as we do with Barack Obama - in the number two spot as well, it’d be enormously helpful.”

Kennedy also said that he had not spoken with former President Bill Clinton since endorsing Barack Obama.

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