Clinton Vows to Press on Through May
By Perry Bacon Jr.
SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- Hillary Clinton reshuffled her schedule to attend a rally here in what aides described as an aggressive attempt to show she had no intention of leaving the Democratic race.
"I'm staying in this race until there's a nominee and I obviously am going to work as hard as I can to become that nominee," she told reporters after giving a short stump speech on the front lawn of one of the buildings at Shepherd University.
Originally slated as an event for only her daughter Chelsea Clinton, the New York senator showed up herself to greet the audience of several hundred in West Virginia, which holds the next Democratic primary on May 13.
Her speech to a crowd of mainly supporters but also a few dozen students holding Obama signs and shouting "Get out now!" was short and did not included any blasts at the Democratic front-runner, beyond when she said her campaign was about "solutions rather than speeches." With her daughter standing a few feet beside her, Clinton did not address the state of her campaign or her dire financial situation, which required Clinton to lend her campaign more than $6 million over the past few weeks.
In a press conference afterward, she pledged to stay in the race, arguing she remained the best Democratic candidate to take on John McCain in the fall. To catch up in the delegate count, her campaign plans to press the case of the seating of the delegates from primaries in Florida and Michigan at a May 31 meeting of the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee. Clinton suggested she would protest a ruling not in her favor.
"Under the rules of the Democratic Party, the Rules and Bylaws Committee makes the first determination and if people are not satisfied with that, then people go to the Credentials Committee, so we'll see what the outcome is," Clinton said.
The Credentials Committee, which helps resolve the seating of delegates at the convention, is not even formally organized until late June, so her remark suggested Clinton planned to press the race even beyond the final primaries on June 3.
She said her decision to donate her own money to the campaign did not reflect a lack of enthusiasm among her own donors.
"It's a sign of my commitment to this campaign," Clinton said. "It's a sign of how much I believe in what were trying to do. My supporters have been incredibly generous. They are putting money into this campaign on an hourly basis."
Her campaign, which had eagerly released figures about how much it raised online after a win in Pennsylvania, refused to give a similar total following the results in Indiana and North Carolina.
In an fundraising e-mail to her supporters with the subject line "Here's Why," Clinton wrote "today, in every way that I know how, I am expressing my personal determination to keep forging forward in this campaign."
Clinton was scheduled to attend a fundraiser with her mother and daughter in Washington on Wednesday, then appear over the next few days in South Dakota, Oregon, Kentucky and West Virginia, the states that host four of the final six primaries. Clinton is heavily favored in Puerto Rico, so her best chance for an upset in the remaining contests may be in another state she may visit this weekend, Montana.
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