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Clinton Argues She Has the Broader Coalition

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) speaks with children at the West Virginia State Capitol May 8, 2008, in Charleston, W.Va.
(Getty Images)

By Perry Bacon Jr.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Looking for a rationale to continue her campaign, Hillary Clinton is more than ever making the argument that the coalition of voters backing her would make her a stronger candidate than Barack Obama in a general election.

"The delegate math may get complicated, but the electoral math is easy; we need 270 electoral votes to win in November," Clinton said at a rally at the State Capitol in Charleston, W.Va.

"We're going to have to run a vigorous, victorious campaign, and that's why I'm building such a strong and broad coalition among the states we must have to deliver the campaign. My campaign is winning swing states, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arkansas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico and, yes, Florida and Michigan."

She repeatedly referred to her appeal among "hardworking Americans" and said "I'm winning Catholic voters, Hispanic voters, blue-collar voters and seniors, the kind of people who Senator McCain will be fighting for in the general election." She did not repeat the term "white voters," after citing a poll showing her appeal with whites in an interview with USA Today.

"Some call you swing voters, but I call you Americans," she added.

Clinton's case for her electability at this point in the campaign cycle is hotly disputed. While the Democratic delegate allocation is as complicated as Clinton says, by every measure, Barack Obama holds a strong lead. Obama did not compete in Florida and Michigan, and he has won a bunch of swing states as well, including Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado, Wisconsin and Virginia.

Clinton's support among another key voting block for Democrats, African Americans, has been considerably lower than Obama's among white working-class voters, despite his struggles to attract them.

But Clinton, echoing the case she has made for weeks as some Obama supporters have encouraged her to leave the race, say she was providing an opportunity for people to vote.

"I think we ought to keep this going so the people of West Virginia's voices are heard," Clinton said.

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 8, 2008; 1:47 PM ET
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