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Clinton Vows To Stay in Race To Convention
Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in an e-mail: "Sen. Obama is actually interested in and working towards a solution, unlike Clinton, who is trying to change the rules she agreed to and is more interested in potshots than solving this problem."
Clinton hopes to overtake Obama in the overall popular vote to argue to superdelegates -- the nearly 800 party members and elected officials who are likely to determine the outcome of the race -- that she is ahead where it matters. Including Florida and Michigan in that equation could boost her vote and delegate totals, as well as bolster her argument that she is better positioned to capture big general-election swing states.
When asked Saturday how she could still win, Clinton immediately talked about wooing superdelegates, who she said "have a role and very important responsibility."
"We have to nominate someone who can go toe to toe with John McCain on national security and beat him on the economy," she said. "This will all be for naught if we don't win in November."
But in the lull before ballots are cast in the next contest, in Pennsylvania on April 22, Clinton has been deluged with calls for her withdrawal, provoking a backlash among her supporters and defiance from the candidate and her family and staff.
Bill Clinton sent out an e-mail, titled "Not big on quitting," on Saturday that reminded supporters that his wife is behind in the popular vote by less than one percentage point and that she trails by 130 delegates.
"With the race this close, it sure doesn't make sense to me that she'd leave now -- does it make sense to you?" the former president's e-mail read.
In the interview, Hillary Clinton brushed aside concerns from party leaders that the campaign will hurt the party's chances against McCain, who launched his first general-election television ad last week and who has spent the month raising money and attacking the Democrats.
"General elections start where there is a nominee or a putative nominee," Clinton said. "They think they have theirs, we don't yet have ours. . . . We have frozen this election."
Asked whether Obama could win in November, Clinton deflected the question. "I'm saying I have a better chance," she said. "You cannot as a Democrat win the White House without a very big women's vote. What I believe is that women will turn out for me."
Staff writer Shailagh Murray in State College, Pa., contributed to this report.