Posted: February 6, 2008 3:43 AM
With Eye on Delegate Count, Obama Declares 'Our Time Has Come'
Sen. Barack Obama emerged from the Super Tuesday voting blitz with victories in 13 states and looked to garner a significant number of delegates even in the large states — notably California and New York — he failed to win.
He appeared before hundreds of raucous supporters in his hometown of Chicago, having won Illinois by a large margin.
“There is one thing on this February night that we do not need the final results to know: our time has come,” Obama told supporters. “Our time has come, our movement is real, and change is coming to America.”
But beyond his continued call for change, Obama also sharpened his message of electability, casting doubt over whether Sen. Hillary Clinton could attract independent and Republican voters to the Democratic ticket.
“It’s a choice between going into this election with Republicans and independents already united against us, or going against their nominee with a campaign that has united Americans of all parties, from all backgrounds, from all races, from all religions, around a common purpose,” he said. “It’s a choice between having a debate with the other party about who has the most experience in Washington, or having one about who is most likely to change Washington, because that’s a debate that we can win.”
Even before the flurry of Feb. 5 results, the campaign was publicly looking beyond Super Tuesday, already running campaign ads in Washington, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia — all of whom hold contests in coming weeks.
Campaign manager David Plouffe downplayed Tuesday’s overall significance and explained the expectations behind the Obama camp in a recent memo to reporters: “Our path to the nomination never factored in a big day for us on February 5th. Rather, we always planned to stay close enough in the delegate count so that we could proceed to individually focus on the states in the next set of contests.”
As of early Wednesday, it appeared Obama had scored 13 statewide victories, with a narrow win in Missouri, a dominating performance in his home state of Illinois and victories in five caucuses held Tuesday.
Experts projected Obama would garner more delegates from Tuesday’s vote than Clinton, but a final tally would not be available until later Wednesday at the earliest.
The Obama campaign hopes that this weekend’s contests — with caucuses in Washington State, Nebraska and Maine — could help him further close in on Clinton before the next major test next Tuesday with primaries in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
But Clinton’s campaign pledged to take their fight to delegate-rich states like Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania that vote in March and April.
“We feel like we’ve had a good night, but this contest is far from over,” Clinton’s chief strategist Mark Penn told reporters tonight.