Clinton determined despite bleak poll prospects

A DETERMINED Hillary Clinton kept up a punishing campaign pace yesterday for the Democratic presidential nomination as the outlook for her bid to overtake front-runner Barack Obama appeared increasingly grim.

Clinton planned to travel thousands of miles to campaign in West Virginia, South Dakota, and Oregon, hitting three of the remaining six dates of the Democratic primary calendar in a single day.

“I am staying in this race until there is a nominee,” Clinton vowed on Wednesday. “I am going to work as hard as I can to become that nominee.”

But US media appeared to have decided Obama has virtually won the party prize. The Washington Post wrote in an editorial that Clinton has “no plausible route to victory“.

NBC anchor and analyst Tim Russert declared: “We now know who the Democratic nominee is going to be and no one is going to dispute it.”

A Los Angeles Times editorial concurred: “Clinton can’t win: She has run a fine race, but she has lost.”

Still, Clinton aides cast her narrow win in Indiana on Tuesday as a sign of strength. “We think the results last night strengthen the case that she will be the strongest candidate for the Democratic party in November,” strategist Geoff Garin said.

But some of the fire seemed to have seeped out of the New York senator, as she reeled off a stump speech in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Significantly, she did not once mention or attack Obama.

Obama was headed to Washington for a fundraiser and meetings with uncommitted superdelegates, after a rare day off at home in Chicago.

Obama trounced Clinton in North Carolina’s primary on Tuesday, bouncing back from weeks of missteps and controversy over his former pastor that threatened to derail his campaign.

A top Clinton adviser acknowledged that she cannot reach the 2,025 delegates needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination, The New York Times reported.

Counting delegates from discounted primaries in Florida and Michigan, Clinton would still be about 100 delegates shy of the finish line, campaign spokesman Phil Singer was quoted as saying.

With Obama only an estimated 177 delegates shy of the 2,025 needed, Clinton appears to be running out of options.

At least four more superdelegates came off the fence on Wednesday night to endorse Obama.

“It will start as a trickle and end up as a flood in June,” predicted Obama supporter Bill Daley.


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