Obama wins big; Hillary vows to carry on (Second Lead)May 7th, 2008 - 10:32 pm ICT by admin
By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 7 (IANS) Barack Obama scored a massive win in North Carolina to consolidate his lead in the Democratic presidential primaries, but Hillary Clinton vowed to carry on regardless after sneaking past him in Indiana. Ending a big-state losing streak going back more than a month, Obama’s 14 point victory (56 to 44 percent) in North Carolina helped him further pad his 1,745 to 1,608 lead in delegates who would pick the party nominee at a convention in August.
Up for grabs Tuesday were a total of 187 pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention - 115 from North Carolina and 72 from Indiana, to be distributed between the two candidates in proportion to their votes.
Obama, who has won 30 contests to 15 for Clinton, also added more votes to his popular vote margin of roughly 500,000. Either candidate is still unlikely to gather 2,025 delegate votes needed to secure the nomination, leaving the decision to nearly 800 superdelegates - elected party officials free to back any candidate.
In a victory speech in Raleigh, Obama made clear that North Carolina had not been the “game changer” that Clinton had predicted it would be.
“There were those who were saying North Carolina would be a game changer in this election,” Obama said. “What North Carolina decided is the only game that needs changing is the one in Washington, D.C.”
A narrow two point lead (51-49) percent in Indiana and her poor performance in North Carolina did nothing to bolster the former first lady’s argument that she is better placed to beat Republican John McCain in the November presidential poll than Obama who has found it hard to win over white working-class voters in bigger states.
Clinton, however, vowed to keep running in the seemingly unending Democratic contest saying: “Not too long ago my opponent made a prediction; he said I would probably win Pennsylvania. He would probably win in North Carolina. And Indiana would be a tiebreaker.
“Well, we’ve broken the tie, and thanks to you it’s full speed on to the White House,” she told supporters in Indianapolis Tuesday night, but pledged to work for the eventual Democratic nominee “no matter what happens”.
In a front-page analysis titled “Options Dwindling For Clinton”, The New York Times Wednesday said “because Clinton did not appear to come particularly close in North Carolina, despite a substantial effort there, she lost an opportunity to sow new doubts among Democratic leaders about Obama’s general-election appeal.
“… She was unable to build her base of support substantially beyond the white, working-class voters who had sustained her for the last month - and that will not be lost on the superdelegates.”
While no media outlets saw Tuesday as good outcome for Clinton, many did consider the results as neutral and non-decisive, such as the Washington Post, which noted the results “essentially maintained the status quo and kept the Democratic race grinding forward”.
“The results left the dynamics of the presidential race essentially unchanged,” according to the Los Angeles Times. The Wall Street Journal said “split decision underscored some of” Obama’s “weaknesses and the party’s fissures”.
It also “left the likelihood that the nomination marathon will continue inconclusively for a final month, to be decided ultimately by the hundreds of party leaders known as superdelegates”, it said.
Obama’s very strong showing in North Carolina, however, led some in the media to suggest that Clinton’s campaign is all but over.
Reporting from the Clinton campaign plane Wednesday morning, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell said she is “poised to throw in her lot with Barack Obama,” although Mitchell added that no firm decision had been made at that point.
CNN also reported that Clinton’s “morning schedule has been moved around a bit after the results came out which has some thinking they are discussing options internally. We expect to hear from her in West Virginia this morning.”
However, the Washington Post said Clinton aides “insisted that she had no intention of dropping out of the contest, pointing out that she had won in a state - albeit narrowly - that Obama had cast as the ‘tiebreaker’ in the nomination fight”.
ABC’s Nightline reported Clinton “was very clear” when she addressed her supporters following her Indiana win, saying, ” ‘I’m going on, I’m going to West Virginia, I’m going to Oregon,’ she said. ‘I’m going to Kentucky, don’t worry, we’ll keep on going.’ ”
Whatever Clinton’s internal decision making is, the media seems to have decided that the race is all but over.
Tags: arun kumar, barack obama, democratic contest, democratic national convention, democratic presidential primaries, first lady, hillary clinton, john mccain, losing streak, party nominee, party officials, point victory, poor performance, popular vote, presidential poll, republican john mccain, superdelegates, tiebreaker, victory speech, vote margin