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Mississippi Voters Prepare to Make Their Primary Picks

Mississippi's presidential primaries will be held Tuesday, and Sen. Barack Obama is heavily favored to win the Democratic contest. Judy Woodruff discusses the 'Magnolia Primary' with a political science professor and reporter from the state.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And Mississippi is next. Judy Woodruff has the presidential campaign news.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Barack Obama rallied with enthusiastic supporters in Columbus, Mississippi, this afternoon, buoyed by the good news he received from Wyoming over the weekend.

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), Illinois: Hello, Columbus!

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Obama scored 61 percent of the vote in Saturday's Wyoming Democratic caucuses to Hillary Clinton's 38 percent. He picked up seven delegates to her five.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Meanwhile, Bill Clinton was in Mississippi over the weekend, continuing to push the idea of a Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama ticket.

    BILL CLINTON, Former President of the United States: If you look at most of these places, he would win the urban areas and the upscale voters and she wins the traditional rural areas that we lost when President Reagan was president. If you put those two things together, you'd have an almost unstoppable force.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Hillary Clinton had raised the idea of selecting Obama as her running mate during a rally in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on Friday.

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), New York: Tuesday is a big day, and it's an exciting contest. Who would have thought that either a woman or an African-American — let alone both of us — vying for the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States?

    This is a moment of historic celebration for America. But you got to make a choice. A lot of people wish they didn't have to. I've had people say, "I wish I could vote for both of you." Well, that might be possible someday.

    But, first, I need your vote on Tuesday.

    And I want you to think about this like you'd think about a hiring decision. Think about who you would hire for this job.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    But during his visit to Columbus, Mississippi, today, Barack Obama threw cold water on the idea.

  • SEN. BARACK OBAMA:

    I've won twice as many states as Senator Clinton. I've won more of the popular vote than Senator Clinton. I have more delegates than Senator Clinton. So I don't know how somebody who's in second place is offering the vice presidency to the person who's in first place.

    So I don't want anybody here thinking that I — that somehow, "Well, you know, maybe I can get both." Don't think that way. You have to make a choice in this election.

    Are you going to go along with the past, or are you going to go towards the future? Are you going to do the same old thing, or are you going to try something new?

    I am not running for vice president. I do not believe Senator Clinton is about change, because, in fact, this kind of gamesmanship, talking about me as vice president, but maybe he's not ready for commander-in-chief, that's exactly the kind of double-speak, double-talk that Washington is very good at, that people who've spent a long time in Washington have a lot of experience at, but is not going to solve the problems of the country.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    But first thing's first for Obama and Clinton, and that is the 33 Democratic delegates up for grabs in tomorrow's Mississippi primary.