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Clinton Savors Victory

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By Anne E. Kornblut and Alec MacGillis
PHILADELPHIA -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary decisively on Tuesday night, pulling in a victory that flirted with double-digits and bolstered her case for staying in the nominating contest.

Sen. Barack Obama downplayed a defeat that was unlikely to slash his delegate lead. Yet by giving Clinton a strong edge, Pennsylvania did nothing to clarify a Democratic race that has stretched on for nearly four months and sharply divided the party.

Clinton signaled that, despite her dramatic financial disadvantage, she had no intention of getting out before the last voting on June 3.

"It's a long road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and it runs right through the heart of Pennsylvania," Clinton said at a raucous post-campaign rally in Philadelphia. After a six-week campaign in the Keystone State, Clinton said: "You listened, and today, you chose."

"Some people counted me out, and said to drop out. But the American people don't quit and they deserve a president who doesn't quit either," Clinton said.

Describing the victory as "deeply personal," Clinton depicted once again her family history in Pennsylvania -- the story of her grandfather, and her father, a lace mill worker from Scranton, which she has folded into her biography as evidence that she will be a populist fighter.

"I am back here tonight because of their hard work and sacrifice," she said. "In this election, I carry with me not just their dreams but the dreams of people like them and like you all across our country. People who embrace hard work and opportunity, who never waver in the face of adversity, who stand for what you believe and never stop believing in the promise of America."

Clinton continued: "I'm in this race to fight for you, to fight for everyone who's ever been counted out, for everyone fighting to pay the grocery bills or the medical bills{hellip}and the outrageous price of gas at the pump today." Her campaign played the theme song from "Rocky" at its rally, part of its ongoing effort to turn Clinton's fall from inevitability as an asset.

The Pennsylvania victory, which Gov. Ed Rendell described at a post-election rally as an "earthquake" that would change the dynamic of the entire Democratic race, came as a huge relief for Clinton officials who believe their only chance of an upset is to pull off one triumph after the next.

An estimated 2 million Democrats voted, nearly triple the number in the last two presidential primaries in the state.

By Web Politics Editor  |  April 22, 2008; 11:09 PM ET
Categories:  Primaries  
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