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    Defiant Clinton rides West Virginia poll lead

    AFP
    13.05.2008 - 10:22 | Son Güncelleme:

    Hillary Clinton eyed a landslide in Tuesdays West Virginia primary, but was unlikely to break Barack Obama’s stranglehold on the Democratic nomination.

    The former first lady, vowing to battle on even as Obama turns his sights on Republican presumptive nominee Senator John McCain, led her foe by 36 points in the latest poll out of the mountainous state. 

     

    "West Virginia has a record of picking presidents," Clinton said in a campaign stop here, as she pressed home her claim that she, and not Democratic foe Barack Obama, was the best Democratic White House pick.

     

    "A Democrat doesn’t win the White House without winning West Virginia. So tomorrow it’s going to be your turn," she said.

     

    Clinton said some wanted to call the nomination race over, but she said, "They don’t understand politics because West Virginia really matters."

     

    The New York senator was also fairing well in Kentucky, which votes on May 20, where the latest poll said she was up 58 to 31 percent on Obama.

     

    Huge wins for Clinton in both states will do little to loosen Obama’s advantage in the epic Democratic nominating contest, which he leads in every category. But lopsided losses in the two states could underscore Obama’s struggle to win over white, working-class voters, which could be a problem in November’s election.

     

    Arizona Senator McCain, who Monday gave a major speech on global warming, and Obama are increasingly fighting the early shots in the general election campaign.

     

    The Obama campaign has launched a 50-state voter registration drive and both sides are trying to woo independent voters, plotting battle plans to be rolled out as soon as the Democratic race is over.

     

    Highlighting his growing focus on the election, Obama laid plans to campaign on Tuesday in November swing state Missouri and on Wednesday in Michigan, after stops in West Virginia and Kentucky.

     

    A potential complication to McCain’s White House bid emerged with the news that former Republican congressman Bob Barr, 59, plans to run for president on the Libertarian Party’s ticket.

     

    Barr, who played a key role in the congressional impeachment of former president Bill Clinton, said there was not "currently or anywhere on the horizon" any candidate who understood the need for fiscal conservatism and Americas founding principles. He added that if McCain fails to win the presidency, "it will be because Senator McCain did not present, and his party did not present, a vision, an agenda, a platform and a series of programs" for the American people.

     

    Clinton meanwhile poured her energy into one last days campaigning in West Virginia.

    A Suffolk University poll had Clinton leading Obama by 60 percent to 24 percent in the rural coal-mining state, which is one of Americas poorest.

     

    In a Herald-Leader/WKYT Kentucky Poll of probable Democratic voters, Clinton led by 58 percent of 31 percent, though the survey showed that either Democrat had a tough task in beating McCain in the state in November.

     

    Clinton trails Obama in the Democratic delegates, nominating contests won and the popular vote, with only six more contests left in the grueling primary season.

     

    She has also lost her lead in the super delegates, party officials who will likely decide the nomination. Now, neither Clinton nor Obama can reach the nominating threshold of 2,025 delegates on pledged delegates alone.

     

    Obama added at least four more super delegates to his tally on Monday. According to independent website RealClearPolitics, he leads Clinton by 278 super delegates to 272, and in total delegates by 1,869 to 1,698.

     

    But in a reference to President George W. Bush’s record on Iraq, Clinton strategist Geoff Garin dismissed the media’s near-universal predictions of an Obama win. "Well, you know, we’ve already had one unfortunate experience with a leader declaring mission accomplished when it really wasn’t," he told MSNBC.

     

    McCain meanwhile sharply broke with his fellow Republican Bush on climate change, in a strategy that also had one eye on independent voters who are worried about the environment. 

     

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