It's a Tie! (Popular Vote v. Pledged Delegates)

Congratulations to both Democratic frontrunners!

Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote by over 300,000 votes.  Barack Obama has won 130 more pledged delegates.

Here are the final totals:

POPULAR VOTE  (all primaries and caucuses)
Hillary Clinton: 17,785,009
Barack Obama: 17,479,990

Barack Obama: 1766.5
Hillary Clinton: 1639.5

Currently, 2118 delegates are needed to win the nomination, according to the DNC.  A successful appeal of the RBC's recent decisions on Florida and Michigan would change that threshold to 2210, but that's less relevant now because the pledged delegate allocations are fairly final (pending completion of state conventions) and, again, neither Clinton nor Obama will have enough pledged delegates to reach either 2118 or 2210.

Since we got a lecture from party  member and SuperD Donna Brazile Saturday at the RBC meeting on the importance of her momma's lesson about following the rules, let's review the DNC's rules for winning the nomination.

It's not complex.  In a nutshell:    If a nominee does not win a sufficient number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination, the automatic (or "super") delegates must vote to determine who the nominee will be.  The automatic delegates, who are elected and unelected party officials, can use any criteria they each find appropriate when voting, but the original intent and purpose of the super delegate system was to ensure that the party nominate the most electable candidate for the general-election battle.

Most importantly:  The automatic delegates cast their votes at the Democratic National Convention along with the pledged delegates.  This year the convention will be on August 25-28 in Denver.  It will certainly be an historic event as presidential conventions go because of the extraordinary task at hand for the automatic delegates.  Their votes, by the way, will be cast by private ballot.

That's the status of the Democratic Presidential nomination process.

Now, Barack Obama can "declare himself the nominee" (FOX News characterization last night), he can throw all the big parties and make all the pretty speeches in as many hope-change-unity rallies he wants.  He can campaign with vigor against John McCain.  (And so can Hillary.)  The Clinton-hating party clique can "proclaim" that Obama is the nominee; the mainstream media can continue to ignore reality...None of this is surprising, and none of it matters...

Because there will not be a nominee until August.  There will not be -- there cannot be -- any nominee until August.   And even the "presumptive nominee" status is a stretch because normally that claim is made by a candidate who has reached the required number of PLEDGED delegates (as John McCain did).

And anyone who thinks that Hillary Clinton supporters don't understand all of delusional and seriously underestimates the loyalty and passion of her quiet yet determined army (although some of us aren't that quiet).

We are informed and engaged constituents committed to a brilliant and inspiring leader.  We are NOT going to fold our tents and hop on board Obama's train just cause that's what we are told to do by people who, frankly, are experts at losing elections.  NO.  We have collectively determined that we'd actually prefer that the Democrats win the Presidency this year.  No more McGoverns, Carters, Kerrys, Gores, Harts, Deans....Nothing personal, guys, but your track record stinks.

In the 2000 Presidential Election, Al Gore won about 550,000 more votes than George Bush.  Given the consequences of that election fraud, I thought it would be a cold day in h**l before Democrats would let anyone steal the election from another Democrat...But then again, these are the General Election losers running our party so...

So, while Obama is zipping around the country and world celebrating "victory," let the rest of us remain sober and focused in respect of these basic and indisputable FACTS:

1. Hillary Clinton has now officially won more votes than any person to seek the presidential nomination of EITHER political party in history, and her candidacy accurately represents the will of the people who voted in the Democratic primaries and caucuses.

2. Hillary Clinton won ALL of the major states except Illinois.

3. Hillary Clinton finished the primary season with momentum, out-performing expectations in several races such as, most recently, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Puerto Rico, and South Dakota (see Obama's predictions spreadsheet); Obama, in contrast, is wheezing across the finish line with a downward trajectory that bodes poorly for the general election.

4. Hillary Clinton assembled a coalition of loyal voters that can guarantee victory against McCain, including white women, hispanics, catholics, jews, and lunch-bucket workers.

5. Barack Obama is still a relative unknown, remains unvetted by the media, and is teetering on the brink of being clobbered by the GOP, RNC, 527 Oppo Teams due to his treasure chest of bizarre skeletons.

In light of these cold, hard facts, Hillary Clinton bloggers and supporters will continue doing what we've been doing:  Passionately making the case that Hillary Clinton will be the best President, that she has a superior chance of beating John McCain. It's do-or-die for us, and for the country. And we have every intention -- indeed a duty -- to carry that message all the way to Denver.

Note:  popular vote totals from ABC News and pledged delegate totals from Real Clear Politics.

Cross posted at TexasDarlin
TexasDarlin, all rights reserved

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FIGHT ON, Hillary!

"People have been trying to get me out of this race since political obituary has yet to be written..."

"It's not over until the votes are cast. It's not over until there's actually a tally that gives someone the nomination."
 -- Hillary Clinton on the campaign jet, June 2, 2008

Hillary Clinton is right, morally and legally.

I'm a person who likes to deal with facts.  So let's review some.

FACT: Superdelegates don't have votes until the convention. Until then, they have preferences.

FACT: The Clinton campaign reserved its right to appeal the RBC's Michigan decision to the Credentials Committee. A favorable outcome of that appeal will change the number of delegates needed for the nomination.  Until that appeal is heard, no one should be declaring victory based on 2118.

FACT: Barack Obama literally stole 59 delegates in Michigan: 4 from Hillary Clinton and 55 from Uncommitted, a legally recognized presidential status.  In a tactical error, Obama took his name off the ballot, and now a handful of political hacks at the DNC have set aside fundamental principles of election and constitutional law to effectively reverse his voluntary action.

FACT: These same RBC hacks lecture us disenfranchised Democrats about playing by the rules, but only when the rules favor Obama. (Case in point: the rules give my candidate Hillary Clinton the absolute right and authority to stay in the race and to take her case to the convention floor no matter how many superdelegates "declare.")

FACT:  Caucuses are unfair.  If Michigan delegates can be re-allocated using hokey-pokey methods, certainly it would be reasonable to use the results of actual primary elections in states which had caucuses  to "correct" the delegate tallies so that they are a fairer reflection of the peoples' will.

FACT: Hillary Clinton has won more popular votes than Barack Obama. And, yes, that includes Michigan. You can't have it both ways -- if Obama wants delegates from Michigan, then the popular vote counts.

FACT: Hillary Clinton is the stronger candidate -- by miles -- against John McCain. She has assembled a demographic coalition that has a 100% chance of winning the Presidency for the Democratic Party. She can win crucial states in the general election like Florida and West Virginia that Obama doesn't have a prayer of winning.

FACT: Hillary Clinton still out-polls both Barack Obama and John McCain in Electoral Vote surveys even in a climate of overt misogyny and sexism, even though the media has stopped treating her like a contender, and even in the face of criticism by officials in her own party for continuing to participate in the election.

FACT: Barack Obama's momentum has been sliding downhill since February, even though he has enjoyed the most lopsided media coverage of any presidential candidate in history, and even though he has spent more money, up to 4 times the amount, on advertising than Hillary Clinton. There is no indication that Obama's trajectory will recover anytime soon, especially not given the treasure chest of ammunition he and his wife have produced for the GOP and 527's.

FACT: Barack Obama -- the candidate who promised to transcend race -- threw the race card around in this campaign without shame and with no apparent regard for the long-term consequences to the reputations of two loyal public servants, the Clintons, or the long-term impact on society.

FACT: Barack Obama, if not directly, suggested that white voters who chose Hillary Clinton over him by 30 and 40-point margins in some states did so because of racism, when HE is the one hanging out and praying with his group of racist friends and preachers.

FACT: A huge portion (some polls say up to 50%) of Hillary Clinton supporters would not vote for Barack Obama in the general election, regardless of whether Clinton endorses him or campaigns for him.

FACT: Hillary Clinton will not only be a superior general-election candidate for the Democrats, she will be the best President our country could elect during these perilous and serious times.

On behalf of millions of Hillary Clinton supporters, I want to be sure that she knows where we stand.

FIGHT ON, Hillary. For the people.

Cross posted at TexasDarlin

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La. SuperD Endorses Hillary [Update: +1 in NY!]

Louisiana Democratic Party Chair and Automatic Delegate Chris Whittington endorsed Hillary Clinton for President Monday:

"Hillary Clinton has what it takes to turn around our economy and rebuild the middle class," Whittington said. "There is no question that she is the strongest Democrat to go toe-to-toe with John McCain in a general election. It is our responsibility as automatic delegates to choose the candidate we believe best fit to beat Senator McCain. That candidate is Senator Clinton." (emphasis added)

Whittington was elected Chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party in January 2006, after serving as the Party's Legal Counsel, as a member of the Democratic State Central Committee and as a member of the Democratic Party Executive Committee.

Certainly Whittington's endorsement sends a strong signal that NOT ALL automatic delegates buy into the message being pushed by Media, some DNC elite, and Camp Obama that we should all automatically "unite" behind Obama, that the race is over.  Apparently it is NOT over.  If so, why would any Superdelegate still be announcing support for Senator Clinton?  Why not just stay quiet, or wait until the convention?

UPDATE: New York Superdelegate Delegate Endorses Hillary!

Tompkins County Democratic Committee Chair and New York automatic delegate Irene Stein announced her support for Hillary Clinton today.

Wow -- 2 superdelegates for Senator Clinton on the eve of Obama's supposed "victory party?" I guess not everyone is prepared to hop on board the Unity Express just yet...

Congratulations, Senator Clinton!

Source: HillaryClinton

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The Unity Express Derails in DC

"One final word....Mrs. Clinton has instructed me to reserve her rights to take this to the credentials committee."

-- Harold Ickes, Hillary Clinton Campaign representative, Washington, D.C., May 31, 2008

Saturday, the Democratic Party's Rules & Bylaws Committee (RBC), in a surreal act of political suicide, awarded Barack Obama 55 "uncommitted" delegates from the Michigan primary, even though he voluntarily removed his name from that ballot in a tactical move to curry favor with the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

As Ickes noted, "uncommitted" is a constitutionally recognized presidential status, the same as a named candidate, and therefore delegates earned by "uncommitted" cannot legally be reallocated to another candidate.

But the RBC didn't stop there. They also STOLE 4 delegates earned by Hillary Clinton in the Michigan primary, and transferred them to Barack Obama, as if punishing Clinton for winning an election that Obama boycotted.

Then the RBC had the audacity to call their ruling a "compromise" and cloak it in sugary calls for party "unity." Trying to shove unity down the throats of 18 million angry Democrats, a bit of a joke...Message to the RBC: See videotape of Harriet Christian from Manhattan, voter who was ejected from your meeting. That should give you a flavor of our reaction and a taste of what to expect in August, in Denver.

More from Ickes' closing statement on Michigan, which is already written into history:

"This is in the charter, this is not a bylaw..this is in the highest document of our party.. this is in the constitution of our party....fair cannot take delegates from one candidate and give them to another..."

~interrupted by raucous cheers~

"Finally...there's been a lot of talk about party unity...let's all come together, wrap our arms around each other...I submit to you, Ladies and Gentlemen, that hijacking 4 delegates.... is not a good way to start down the path of party unity."

It's ironic, given his unique history, that Barack Obama would seek to benefit from an election in which his name was not on the ballot, especially since he removed it voluntarily. If anyone understands the importance legally of being on the ballot, it should be Obama...

In 1996, when Obama first ran for public office in Illinois, he employed a cut-throat gimmick of challenging petition signatures to knock long-time community activist Alice Palmer off the ballot for the state Senate. There is much more to the story, but the bottom line is that Palmer had been a mentor and supporter of Obama's before he steam-rolled over her in his eagerness to serve the public. Ms. Palmer, not surprisingly, campaigned for Hillary Clinton this year in Indiana.

Seems like the party elite and the hope-change candidate are clueless when it comes to "unity." But us regular folks have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done in Denver to unify the country.

Note on the Popular Vote: The silver lining for Clinton from the RBC's ruling is more like platinum: Now that the Michigan and Florida primaries have been "recognized," Clinton is justified in adding those votes to her popular vote total. At the end of the primaries on June 3rd, Clinton will be the official popular vote leader, even excluding Michigan. If memory serves me correctly, it wasn't so long ago that party officials such as Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, and Donna Brazile were touting the popular vote as the appropriate metric for super delegates to certify the "will of the people."

Cross posted at TexasDarlin

TexasDarlin, all rights reserved
Not affiliated with the Hillary Clinton campaign

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Argus Leader Endorses Hillary

Congratulations, Hillary!

South Dakota's largest newspaper, the Argus Leader, went on record today in support of Hillary Rodham Clinton for President.

Editorial: Clinton is top candidate for Dems

Excerpts from the endorsement:

(Clinton's) resilience and determination never should be questioned. She has met or overcome every challenge or roadblock in her way, and there have been many. Her determination to carry the nomination process through to its real conclusion has perhaps earned her a grudging respect from those who would never support her.

Obama is justifiably credited as a powerful speaker, but Clinton holds her own easily. As those who have attended her South Dakota rallies can attest, she is quick on her feet and energetic. She frames her ideas clearly in speeches and answers questions with genuine directness.

Clinton is the strongest Democratic candidate for South Dakota.

Her mastery of complex policy detail is broad and deep, and her experience as a senator and former first lady matches that.

Clinton's energy policy is forward thinking and wise. She advocates a broad federal research initiative to help solve our looming oil crisis. It's a plan that would join university researchers, private industry and individual inventors behind a common goal...Is ethanol part of the answer? Clinton believes it is but not necessarily corn ethanol...That is not precisely the answer South Dakota wants to hear. Corn-based ethanol has been a boon for farmers here. But the simple fact is that she probably is correct...

Clinton has demonstrated a real commitment to Native American issues and will have visited several South Dakota reservations before the race is over. Clinton is precisely correct when she says that people outside the region have a poor understanding of the troubling trends on our reservations...

Her truly universal health care plan would be welcomed by thousands of South Dakotans. Even on reservations, where health care is nominally universal already, such a plan would be welcome. The federal government would never be allowed to subject everyday Americans to the kind of care Native Americans living on reservations routinely receive.

(emphasis added)

The endorsement is especially gratifying to Clinton supporters given the extreme overreaction to a reference she made to RFK in the Argus Leader interview -- an incident which was shamefully exploited by Barack Obama's campaign.

And, the Argus Leader endorsement is gratifying in light of furious efforts by party elites to end the nomination process before the convention, even though neither candidate will have enough pledged delegates by then.

Thank you, Argus Leader, for confirming what 18 million people already know:  Hillary Clinton is the best Democrat to be President!

Cross posted at TexasDarlin

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Ricky Martin for Hillary!

Puerto Rican mega rock star and international humanitarian Ricky Martin endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.

"These elections will have historic repercussions both in the United States and the world. Senator Clinton has always been consistent in her commitment with the needs of the Latino community. Whether fighting for better education, universal health care and social well-being, as First Lady and Senator from New York -- representing millions of Latinos --she has always fought for what is most important for our families," said the 5-time Grammy award winning artist.

Accepting Martin's endorsement, Hillary said:

"I am honored to have Ricky Martin's support," said Senator Clinton. "In addition to his great talent, Ricky is committed to improving the world through his philanthropic work, and I am grateful for his support. He is a very important voice in the Latino community and together we will work to improve the lives of families and children across the country."

It seems that Puerto Ricans -- just like West Virginians and Kentuckians -- didn't get the DNC memo that this race is over.

Viva la Hillary!

Cross posted at TexasDarlin

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Hillary's Swing State Advantage

The Obama camp contends that Clinton's performance in the primaries is not indicative of her performance in the general election.

A new Gallup study suggests otherwise:

Swing states won by Clinton, excluding Florida and Michigan:

Swing states won by Clinton, including Florida and Michigan:

The analysis:

In the 20 states where Hillary Clinton has claimed victory in the 2008 Democratic primary and caucus elections (winning the popular vote), she has led John McCain in Gallup Poll Daily trial heats for the general election over the past two weeks of Gallup Poll Daily tracking by 50% to 43%. In those same states, Barack Obama is about tied with McCain among national registered voters, 45% to 46%.

In contrast, in the 28 states and the District of Columbia where Obama has won a higher share of the popular vote against Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries and caucuses, there is essentially no difference in how Obama and Clinton each fare against McCain. Both Democrats are statistically tied with him for the fall election.

The Gallup study directly supports Clinton's assertion that she will be a stronger general-election candidate against John McCain in crucial battleground states, based on her primary election performance.  Obama, on other hand, cannot claim a similar advantage.

Cross posted at TexasDarlin

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A Tribute to the "Enemy"

Today, Memorial Day, I honor the American heros who have laid their lives on the front lines for the love of our country.  I honor the soldiers -- past and present -- who have battled our enemies, and often paid a tragic price.  They have paid with their lives, their mental or physical health, the heartbreak of  loved ones.

I have never lost a loved one to war, and so I have immense respect and gratitude towards those who have personally suffered to keep our country free and peaceful.  For our soldiers, for the sacrifice they and their families have made -- I am eternally proud and thankful.

It is in this spirit that I salute "the enemy," John McCain, war hero and patriot.  An honored veteran, a man of great courage and dignity who endured unimaginable suffering on America's behalf.

In the heat of political battles, it's easy to forget Senator McCain's legacy. Thank you, John McCain, for your service and your sacrifice.

I salute you, and all the brave women and men who have served our country with honor.

Cross posted at TexasDarlin

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Bill Clinton on Disrespect Towards Hillary

Finally.  I am relieved and grateful that one of the Clintons is vocally fighting back against the widespread hostility and disrespect aimed at Hillary Clinton, the presidential candidate for whom more people have voted than any other presidential primary candidate in history.

As reported by ABC News:

Former President Bill Clinton in South Dakota today delivered a harsh critique of how his wife has been treated during her presidential bid, telling the crowd that he has "never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running," and that, "she will win the general election if you nominate her. They're just trying to make sure you don't."

Clinton spent more than six minutes calmly discussing what he called a "frantic effort to push her out" of this race, saying that no one asked Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson or Gary Hart to end their presidential campaigns early.

Well, what about that?

Why are Obama and his backers and the mainstream media so afraid?  Why are they acting terrified of Hillary Clinton?  Maybe because she leads in the popular vote, the electoral math, and the national polls?  Even though the mass media are trying desperately to make her invisible?

The rest of the story from ABC is valuable reading:

President Clinton also spoke against bullying superdelegates to make up their minds, saying, "I cant believe it. It is just frantic the way they are trying to push and pressure and bully all these superdelegates to come out. 'Oh, this is so terrible: The people they want her. Oh, this is so terrible: She is winning the general election, and he is not. Oh my goodness, we have to cover this up.'"

Speaking to a crowd of about 200 in Fort Thompson, S.D., Clinton seemed slightly subdued during his 30-minute speech, which largely focused on the issues important to the Native American community.  As he wrapped up his remarks, a woman in the audience asked him a question about voting for Hillary Clinton.  

"If you vote for her and she does well in Montana and she does well in Puerto Rico, when this is over she will be ahead in the popular vote," Clinton said. "And they're trying to get her to cry uncle before the Democratic Party has to decide what to do in Florida and Michigan because they are claiming that it only takes 2029 votes on the first ballot to win, and it takes a lot more than that if you put Florida and Michigan back in. Well, they will have to unless we want to lose the election. I mean, look, so there is that that is going on."

The former president was strong in his assertion that his wife has the best chance to win against Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, arguing that many electoral map predictions have his wife winning more electoral votes than Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., the Democratic frontrunner, in a general election.

"She is winning the general election today and he is not, according to all the evidence," Clinton said. "And I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running. Her only position was, "Look, if I lose I'll be a good team player. We will all try to win but let's let everybody vote and count every vote.'"

Clinton also strongly criticized the media, saying that ever since Iowa they have been against his wife, making him feel as though he was living in a "fun house." As he concluded his thoughts on how this election has been handled, he again went back to the media's choice of coverage.  

"If you notice, there hasn't been a lot of publicity on these polls I just told you about," Clinton said. "It is the first time you've heard it? Why do you think that is? Why do you think?  Don't you think if the polls were the reverse and he was winning the electoral college against Sen. McCain and Hillary was losing it, it would be blasted on every television station? You would know it wouldn't you? It wouldn't be a little secret. And there is another Electoral College poll that I saw yesterday had her over 300 electoral votes, yeah. She will win the general election if you nominate her. They're just trying to make sure you don't."

Bill Clinton is correct, and it sounds to me like we're going to the convention.  And why not?  Neither candidate will reach the  number of pledged delegates required before then to secure the nomination, and Hillary Clinton has the mandate of the people behind her.  By at least two metrics, she is leading in the popular vote, and GE polls consistently indicate that she is the stronger candidate against John McCain.

As for party unity, the disrespect aimed at Hillary Clinton only worsens the backlash effect already underway among Hillary Democrats. When she's attacked, her supporters feel attacked, and it's a horrible mistake to assume that Hillary Democrats will rally 'round Obama once she's been kicked aside.  Not going to happen, not in a million years.

Note:  emphasis added in blockquotes.

Cross posted at TexasDarlin

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Clinton Op Ed: Why I Continue (Plus Media Mania)

In the melodramatic over-reaction to Hillary Clinton remarks last Friday, the QUESTION she was asked got lost.  That's too bad, because the Argus Leader editorial board was pressing Clinton to answer the most important question of this historic contest:  Why are people pressuring you to quit?

For anyone who bothered to watch the video of Clinton's remarks, all but Hillary-hating zealots concluded that she was innocent of any ill intention.  Even Robert Kennedy Jr. issued a statement defending Hillary, as did the Argus Leader executive editor.

Undeterred, though, the mainstream media pounced upon Clinton's gaffe like hyenas on prey in their desperation to bring her down.  The Huffington Post printed this tabloid-esque front page yesterday:

Such a to do.  Anything to deflect from the real issue, the QUESTION which was asked, and the ANSWER which was given.  Because that might force these possessed "news" organizations to report the truth, which is that Hillary Clinton is the peoples' choice for President, having won more votes than either Barack Obama or John McCain.  Why has the duty of journalism fallen upon bloggers to report that Clinton, since March 4th, has won 500,000 more votes, 15 more delegates, and more states than Barack Obama -- that Hillary Clinton, in fact, is the candidate who has the momentum to close this deal in November, that current surveys give her a crushing defeat over John McCain of 109 electoral votes?  What the hell happened to responsible journalism?

Obama supporters and bloggers -- also frightened of Clinton's popularity with the people (i.e., VOTERS) -- have been on a mission to destroy since Friday, attributing the most sinister intentions to the two-term US Senator.  And although Obama himself went on record saying that Clinton intended no harm, there are rumors that his campaign widely circulated the transcript from Keith Olbermann's scary "special comment" on Friday, in which KO distorted Clinton's words and context in further support of his psychotic obsession with ending her campaign.  

So back to the meaningful QUESTION that the Argus Leader board had the fine journalistic sense to ask Senator Clinton:

Why are people pressuring you to quit?

Hillary Clinton addressed this question in a special op ed in today's New York Daily News:

Hillary: Why I continue to run

Sunday, May 25th 2008, 4:00 AM

This past Friday, during a meeting with a newspaper editorial board, I was asked about whether I was going to continue in the presidential race.

I made clear that I was - and that I thought the urgency to end the 2008 primary process was unprecedented. I pointed out, as I have before, that both my husband's primary campaign, and Sen. Robert Kennedy's, had continued into June.

Almost immediately, some took my comments entirely out of context and interpreted them to mean something completely different - and completely unthinkable.

I want to set the record straight: I was making the simple point that given our history, the length of this year's primary contest is nothing unusual. Both the executive editor of the newspaper where I made the remarks, and Sen. Kennedy's son, Bobby Kennedy Jr., put out statements confirming that this was the clear meaning of my remarks. Bobby stated, "I understand how highly charged the atmosphere is, but I think it is a mistake for people to take offense."

I realize that any reference to that traumatic moment for our nation can be deeply painful - particularly for members of the Kennedy family, who have been in my heart and prayers over this past week. And I expressed regret right away for any pain I caused.

But I was deeply dismayed and disturbed that my comment would be construed in a way that flies in the face of everything I stand for - and everything I am fighting for in this election.

And today, I would like to more fully answer the question I was asked: Why do I continue to run, even in the face of calls from pundits and politicians for me to leave this race?

I am running because I still believe I can win on the merits. Because, with our economy in crisis, our nation at war, the stakes have never been higher - and the need for real leadership has never been greater - and I believe I can provide that leadership.

I am not unaware of the challenges or the odds of my securing the nomination - but this race remains extraordinarily close, and hundreds of thousands of people in upcoming primaries are still waiting to vote. As I have said so many times over the course of this primary, if Sen. Obama wins the nomination, I will support him and work my heart out for him against John McCain. But that has not happened yet.

I am running because I believe staying in this race will help unite the Democratic Party. I believe that if Sen. Obama and I both make our case - and all Democrats have the chance to make their voices heard - in the end, everyone will be more likely to rally around the nominee.

I am running because my parents did not raise me to be a quitter - and too many people still come up to me at my events, grip my arm and urge me not to walk away before this contest is over. More than 17 million Americans have voted for me in this race - the most in presidential primary history.

I am running for all those women in their 90s who've told me they were born before women could vote, and they want to live to see a woman in the White House. For all the women who are energized for the first time, and voting for the first time. For the little girls - and little boys - whose parents lift them onto their shoulders at our rallies, and whisper in their ears, "See, you can be anything you want to be." As the first female candidate in this position, I believe I have a responsibility to finish this race.

I am running for all the men and women I meet who wake up every day and work hard to make a difference for their families. People who deserve a shot at the American Dream - the chance to save for college, a home and retirement; to afford quality health care for their families; to fill the gas tank and buy the groceries with a little left over each month.

I believe I won a 40-point victory two weeks ago in West Virginia and a 35-point victory in Kentucky this past week - despite voters being repeatedly told this race is over - because I'm standing up for them. I'm standing up for the deepest principles of our party and for an America that values the middle class and rewards hard work.

Finally, I am running because I believe I'm the strongest candidate to stand toe-to-toe with Sen. McCain. Delegate math might be complicated - but electoral math is not. Our campaign is winning the popular vote - and we've been winning the swing states we need to get 270 electoral votes and take back the White House: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arkansas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Michigan, Florida and West Virginia.

But no matter what happens in this primary, I am committed to unifying this party. Ultimately, what Sen. Obama and I share is so much greater than our differences. And I know that if we come together, as a party and a people, there is no challenge we cannot meet, no barrier we cannot break and no dream we cannot realize.

(emphasis added)

Thanks to Taylor Marsh and No Quarter for the HuffPo image.

Cross posted at TexasDarlin

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