Hours after Politico.com backtracked Monday on its earlier story that Sen. Barack Obama might declare victory in the Democratic race after Tuesday’s Oregon primary, Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign sent out a memo calling the idea “a slap in the face to the millions of voters in the remaining primary states and to Senator Clinton’s 17 million supporters.”
“There is no scenario under the rules of the Democratic National Committee by which Senator Obama will be able to claim the nomination tomorrow night,” Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson wrote in the open memo entitled, “Mission Accomplished? Not so fast.”
“He will not have 2210 delegates, the number needed with Florida and Michigan included in the process, nor will he have 2025 delegates, the number needed to secure the nomination without Florida and Michigan,” Wolfson wrote.
Campaigning in Kentucky ahead of that state’s Tuesday primary, Clinton said that she had not only won more popular votes than Obama, she had won states totaling far more electoral votes.
“The states that I’ve won total 300 electoral votes,” she told about 300 people in a high school gymnasium in Maysville, the New York Times reported. “The question is who can win 270 electoral votes? My opponent has won states totaling 217 electoral votes.”
The New York senator added, “This is nowhere near over. None of us is going to have the delegates we need to get to the nomination” after results from Oregon and Kentucky are tallied Tuesday night.
She also warned Obama and his supporters not to claim the nomination based on winning a majority of pledged delegates or some other yardstick before the final primaries on June 3 and before the fate of the Michigan and Florida delegations are settled, according to the Times.
“In another sign that the Clinton campaign won’t be throwing in the towel anytime soon, it has announced its first TV ad in South Dakota, which has its contest on June 3,” MSNBC.com reported.
Obama’s camp, while backing off the idea of declaring victory this week, continued to look forward to Tuesday’s contests as a key milestone in the epic Democratic race.
“A clear majority of elected delegates will send an unmistakable message — the people have spoken, and they are ready for change,” Obama campaign manager David Plouffe wrote in a memo to supporters Monday, according to the Associated Press.
Obama also picked up the endorsement of Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia Monday, less than a week after Clinton overwhelmingly won the state’s primary. The Illinois senator reportedly attracted a record crowd of 75,000 people to a rally in Portland, Ore., on Saturday — a state Obama is looking to for a win, although recent polls show Clinton edging in on his lead.
Obama plans to speak from the general election battleground state of Iowa on Tuesday night while Clinton expects to speak in Louisville, Ky.