Saturday, April 26, 2008

"Clinton Sidesteps Questions About Staying in the Race"

The Trail (WaPo's political blog):
GARY, Ind. -- Hillary Clinton, who vowed earlier this month to stay in the race until Democratic officials figured out a way to seat the delegations of Michigan and Florida at the party's national convention in August, hinted yesterday that she might reconsider the state of her campaign if she loses in Indiana.
In satellite interviews with television stations in Indiana and Kentucky, Clinton three times sidestepped questions about whether she would remain in the race if she lost Indiana's May 6 primary.

"We have a long way to go," Clinton told a Louisville station when asked if she would campaign in Kentucky if she lost Indiana. "I'm looking forward to coming up to Kentucky." The Bluegrass State holds a primary on May 20.

Pressed on the question, she said, "Well, I don't make any predictions or speculate on things that haven't happened yet."

Asked a similar question by a station in Evansville, Ind., she hewed to her message and avoided future commitments. "I'm thinking about how I'm going to do well in Indiana," she said.

More than a week before critical votes in Indiana and North Carolina, Clinton spent yesterday making stops in Obama country. The senator started off in Jacksonville, N.C., challenging Obama to a debate in the Tar Heel State four different times in a single speech. Obama holds a double-digit lead in some North Carolina polls and has not committed to a debate there.

Clinton then flew to Indiana, holding a rally at the University of Indiana in Bloomington, and also events in Gary and East Chicago, Ind., areas close to Chicago that are likely to be strongholds for her opponent. Clinton aides said that they hope to limit Obama's margin in areas where he is strong, and that the former first lady is determined to keep wooing college students and blacks no matter how strong Obama is among those groups.

Though polls show a deadlocked race in Indiana, Clinton cast herself as the underdog.

"It's going to be a tough state for me. About twenty-five percent of the state gets media from Chicago, which is certainly an advantage for Senator Obama," she said in an interview with an Evansville television station. "He is running a lot of ads, outspending me."
Howie P.S.: IMHO this is about trying to tamp down perceptions that she is a "dead-ender" who is more focused on her own campaign than Democratic prospects in November.

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