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Obama wins Oregon, moves to brink of nomination

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080521/ap_on_el_pr/primary_rdp Obama wins Oregon, moves to brink of nomination By DAVID ESPO and SARA KUGLER, Associated Press
    Message 1 of 1 , May 20, 2008
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      Obama wins Oregon, moves to brink of nomination

      By DAVID ESPO and SARA KUGLER, Associated Press
      Writers 7 minutes ago

      LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Barack Obama stepped to the brink of
      victory in the Democratic presidential race Tuesday
      night, defeating Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Oregon
      primary and moving within 100 delegates of the total
      he needs to claim the prize at the party convention
      this summer.

      "You have put us within reach of the Democratic
      nomination," he told cheering supporters in Iowa, the
      overwhelmingly white state that launched him, a black,
      first-term senator from Illinois, on his improbable
      path to victory last January.

      Obama lavished praise on Clinton, his rival in a race
      unlike any other, and accused Republican John McCain
      of a campaign run by lobbyists.

      "You are Democrats who are tired of being divided,
      Republicans who no longer recognize the party that
      runs Washington, independents who are hungry for
      change," he said, speaking to a crowd on the grounds
      of the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines as well as the
      millions around the country who will elect the
      nation's 44th president in November.

      Clinton countered with a lopsided win in Kentucky, a
      victory with scant political value in a race moving
      inexorably in Obama's direction.

      The former first lady vowed to remain in the race,
      telling supporters, "I'm more than determined than
      ever to see that every vote is cast and every ballot
      is counted."

      But in a sign of confidence on the front-runner's
      part, party officials said discussions were under way
      to send Paul Tewes, a top Obama campaign aide, to the
      Democratic National Committee to oversee operations
      for the fall campaign.

      And in a fresh indication that their race was coming
      to an end, Clinton and Obama praised one another and
      pledged a united party for the general election.

      "While we continue to go toe-to-toe for this
      nomination, we do see eye-to-eye when it comes to
      uniting our party to elect a Democratic president this
      fall," said Clinton, whose supporters Obama will need
      if he is to end eight years of Republican rule in the
      White House.

      Clinton won at least 47 delegates in the two states
      and Obama won at least 32, according to an analysis of
      election returns by The Associated Press. All the
      Kentucky delegates were awarded, but there were still
      24 to be allocated in Oregon, and Obama was in line
      for many of them.

      He had 1,949 delegates overall, out of 2026 needed for
      the nomination. Clinton had 1,769 according the latest
      tally by the AP.

      Obama's total includes more than a majority of the
      delegates picked in the 56 primaries and caucuses on
      the calendar, a group that excludes nearly 800
      superdelegates, the party leaders who hold the balance
      of power at the convention.

      With about 50 percent of the votes counted in Oregon's
      unique mail-in primary, Obama was gaining a 58 percent
      share to 42 percent for Clinton.

      The former first lady's victory in Kentucky was bigger
      yet — 65 percent to 30 percent — and the exit polls
      underscored once more the work Obama has ahead if he
      is to win over her voters.

      Almost nine in 10 ballots were cast by whites, and the
      former first lady was winning their support
      overwhelmingly. She defeated him among voters of all
      age groups and incomes, the college educated and
      non-college educated, self-described liberals,
      moderates and conservatives.

      "We have had our disagreements during this campaign,
      but we all admire her courage, her commitment and her
      perseverance," Obama said of his rival and partner in
      a marathon race through the primaries. "No matter how
      this primary ends, Senator Clinton has shattered myths
      and broken barriers and changed the America in which
      my daughters and yours will come of age."

      As for McCain, he said he would leave it up to the
      Arizona senator "to explain whether his policies and
      positions represent long-held convictions or
      Washington calculations, but the one thing they don't
      represent is change."

      McCain's spokesman countered quickly.

      "This election is fundamentally about who Americans
      can trust to secure peace and prosperity for the next
      generation of Americans. Without a doubt, Barack Obama
      is a talented political orator, but his naive plans
      for unconditional summits with rogue leaders and
      support for big tax hikes on hardworking families
      expose his bad judgment that Americans can ill-afford
      in our next president," said Tucker Bounds in a

      In the fundraising chase, Obama reported cash on hand
      of $46.5 million, all of which can be used for the
      general election. Unless he takes federal funds, he is
      permitted to raise as much as he can.

      Unlike Obama, McCain is expected to take federal
      funds, which total about $85 million and bar him from
      raising other donations for his campaign's use.

      "We still have work to do to in the remaining states,
      where we will compete for every delegate available,"
      Obama said in an e-mail sent to supporters. "But
      tonight, I want to thank you for everything you have
      done to take us this far — farther than anyone
      predicted, expected or even believed possible."

      Both candidates paused during the day to express best
      wishes to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts
      Democrat suffering from a brain tumor.

      "So many of us here have benefited in some way or
      another because of the battles he's waged, and some of
      us are here because of them," Obama said.

      Said Clinton: "As a lifelong champion for social
      justice and equality, his work has made the path
      easier for me, for Senator Obama and for countless
      others. He's been with us for our fights and we're now
      with him in his."

      The Clinton campaign expressed irritation at Obama's
      decision to return to Iowa and mark his success in
      amassing a majority of delegates won in primaries and

      But he paid no attention. "The question then becomes
      how do we complete the nomination process so that we
      have the majority of the total number of delegates,
      including superdelegates, to be able to say this
      thing's over," Obama told The Associated Press in an

      Clinton looked for a consolation for the strongest
      presidential campaign of any woman in history. She
      hoped to finish with more votes than her rival in all
      the contests combined, including Florida and Michigan,
      two states that were stripped of their delegates by
      the national party for moving their primary dates too
      early. A Democratic convention committee is to meet on
      May 31 in Washington to decide how — and whether — to
      seat delegates from the two states.

      Not counting the results in Kentucky and Oregon, Obama
      was ahead of Clinton by slightly more than 618,000
      votes out of 32.2 million cast in primaries and
      caucuses where both candidates competed.

      The numbers do not include Iowa, Maine, or Nevada
      caucuses, nor do they count — as Clinton does in her
      totals — Florida and Michigan.

      The only primaries remaining are Puerto Rico, on June
      1, followed two days later by South Dakota and


      David Espo reported from Washington. Brendan
      Farrington in Florida contributed to this report.
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