ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday February 24, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 39

Presidential race: Hillary not hale but no farewell

Democratic presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton debate at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. AFP

DALLAS, Saturday (Reuters) - Sen. Hillary Clinton fended off questions about the future of her presidential bid yesterday, insisting her remarks at a debate were not a farewell but declining to promise she would stay in the race after must-win votes in Ohio and Texas on March 4.

She also renewed her jibes at Sen. Barack Obama over his emphasis on hope and promises of change, saying that there was a big difference between words and action.

“Americans have never lost hope, Americans have always had hope,” she told a packed high school gym in Toledo, Ohio, at a late night rally. “What Americans need is help. We need help.” In appearances on three morning TV news shows, Clinton was questioned about her emotional remarks on Thursday at the close of a debate with Obama and what they signaled about her trailing bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Clinton was asked during the debate to recall a time when she had been tested by crisis. She alluded to the sexual scandal that led to the impeachment of her husband, President Bill Clinton, then talked emotionally about the problems Americans face, her meetings with disabled soldiers and how honored she felt to compete with Obama.
“Whatever happens, we're going to be fine,” she said, looking at Obama seated beside her, adding that she and Obama had strong support from family and friends.

Asked on CBS whether her remarks marked the beginning of the end of her campaign, Clinton replied: “No. Of course not. It is a recognition that both of us are on the brink of historic change.” Clinton, the New York senator, would be the first woman US president if she won the November general election, and Obama, the Illinois senator, would be the first black US president.

An ABC interviewer asked her if her comments meant she had come to terms with the possibility of losing, but Clinton replied: “Well, I intend to win, obviously. I'm working very hard. And Ohio and Texas are critical states.” Asked on NBC whether she would stay in the race after Ohio and Texas no matter the outcome, Clinton avoided a direct answer.

The string of victories has put him ahead in the race for delegates to a nominating convention this summer where the party will pick a candidate for the November election. Many analysts say Clinton must win elections in the delegate-rich states of Texas and Ohio on March 4 in order to cut Obama's lead and still have a chance at the nomination.

Democratic front-runner Obama rallied college students at the University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg on Friday, touting his plans to make education more affordable.

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