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Published: 5/14/2008

Embattled Clinton hails West Virginia victory

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., acknowledges supporters during her West Virginia Primary night rally on Tuesday at the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, W.Va. Clinton won the primary and says she's more determined than ever to press ahead with her campaign. Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., acknowledges supporters during her West Virginia Primary night rally on Tuesday at the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, W.Va. Clinton won the primary and says she's more determined than ever to press ahead with her campaign.
STEVE HELBER / AP Enlarge

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Hillary Rodham Clinton says she's more determined than ever to press ahead with her campaign.

The New York senator welcomed her big West Virginia victory Tuesday night as an "overwhelming vote of confidence" in her Democratic presidential campaign.

Even so, her effort remains a distinct long shot, as Barack Obama moves ever closer to amassing the number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination.

Clinton told a cheering crowd in Charleston this is no time to quit.

"I am more determined than ever to carry on this campaign until everyone has had a chance to make their voices heard," Clinton told supporters as the scope of her triumph became clearer. "This race isn't over yet. Neither of us has the total delegates it takes to win."

She was beating Obama by close to a 2-to-1 margin in incomplete returns in a state abundant in the blue-collar voters who have supported her, and shunned the Illinois senator, in some other states.

Clinton used her victory rally to speak directly to undecided superdelegates, the party leaders who can support either candidate and will be needed to settle the race.

"Choose who you believe will make the strongest candidate in the fall," she said.

"The White House is won in the swing states," she said, "and I am winning the swing states."

Clinton also reassured Democrats that the protracted race was good for the party, playing down criticism that by staying in the fight, Clinton was only wounding Obama for the general election.

Clinton said she and Obama "have had a few dustups along the way" but "have always stood together on what is most important."

She again called for delegates from Florida and Michigan to be counted. Those states had their delegates taken out of the equation because they held early primaries against party rules. She will need them and then some if she is to have any hope of catching Obama in the delegate hunt.

Since losing big in North Carolina and just eking out a win in Indiana last week, Clinton has had two key talking points in West Virginia: that she would win big here, and that it mattered.

Clinton's first prediction came true and she pressed hard to make the case that her win was more than symbolic. Repeating a line from nearly every West Virginia campaign stop, she said no Democratic has won the White House since 1916 without winning here.

Clinton arranged to meet some undecided superdelegates Wednesday to try to slow their flow to Obama.

"There are some who have wanted to cut this race short," she said. "They say, give up, it's too hard, the mountain is too high. But in West Virginia, you know a thing or two about rough roads to the top of the mountain.

"We know from the Bible that faith can move mountains," she went on, "and, my friends, the faith of the Mountain State has moved me."



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