Clinton hails Pennsylvania victory

New York senator says "tide is turning" in battle with Obama for Democratic nomination.

    Women turned in high numbers for the
    Pennsylvania primary [Reuters]

    "Well, the people of Pennsylvania had other ideas today."
     
    Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds in Philadelphia said Clinton had struck a defiant tone and made clear that she was going to continue the battle for the nomination.
     
    But Clinton had been hoping for a big win to keep alive her chances of becoming the Democratic nominee to face Republican John McCain in November's election, and it was unclear if the eight-point victory was enough to bolster her campaign.
     
    Clinton had seen her opinion poll lead in the state slip from more than 20 per cent to a single digit after a series of wins by Obama in other states.
     
    Protracted battle

    Pennsylvania's final delegate count is not expected until later Wednesday as many counties are split into multiple congressional districts.
     
    However, an analysis of returns by NBC indicated
    Clinton
    had won at least 75 delegates and Obama at least 65, with about 99 per cent of districts reporting.

     

    Obama now holds 1,482 delegates to Clinton's 1,326.

     

    After the 15-month race, neither Democrat is expected to reach the tally of 2,025 nominating delegates to claim the nomination outright.
     
    Reynolds said that "what Clinton wants to do is try to make her case to the superdelegates - the special delegates who are mostly party officials who are not beholden at this point to either candidate. They can choose who they support."
     
    "Clinton is going to go to them now and say, 'Look, I'm winning in the big states - Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, New York. I'm winning in all these big popular states where Democrats have to win in the fall against the Republicans [in the US presidential election]'." 
     
    However, Reynolds said that Clinton's campaign had less money than Obama, casting doubt over whether she can continue a protracted battle against her rival.
     
    US Democratic race


    Clinton rebounds in Pennsylvnia primary
    "The campaign of Hillary Clinton at this point is in debt. She has not been able to raise as much money as Obama," Reynolds said.
     
    "He had about $40m on hand at the end of March, which is when he had to report his funding to election officials. The Clinton campaign had about $9m on hand at that point, and about $10m in debts."
     
    Pennsylvania was the first state to cast ballots in six weeks and the last "big state" left for the Democrats in the race for the nomination. Nine state contests are set to follow.
     
    Older voters
     
    As Pennsylvanians went to the polls, Clinton issued a threat to "obliterate" Iran if it launched a nuclear attack against Israel, a move Obama called "sabre rattling".
     
    Tuesday's vote saw women and older voters, groups that have tended to support Clinton in previous states, come out in force.

     

    Obama had cut Clinton's lead in opinion polls
    from more than 20 per cent [AFP]

    Interviews with voters leaving the polls showed almost six-in-10 were women and three-in-10 were age 65 or over.

     

    One-in-five voters said they decided who to vote for within the last week and about one-in-10 said they made up their minds only on Tuesday, US media exit polls said.

     

    But exit polls showed Clinton won about 58 per cent of those who decided in the last week.

     

    A quarter of voters had household family income of more than $100,000 last year and about as many reported having a postgraduate degree - groups that have tended to vote for Obama.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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