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Clinton Vows to Stay in the Race as North Carolina, Indiana Primaries Extend Obama’s Lead

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Senator Barack Obama scored a landslide victory over Senator Hillary Clinton in the North Carolina primary last night and lost narrowly to her in Indiana. The results moved Obama closer to clinching the Democratic nomination as the contest enters its final month. [includes rush transcript]

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Barack Obama scored a landslide victory over Senator Hillary Clinton in the North Carolina primary last night. He lost narrowly to her in Indiana. The results moved Obama closer to clinching the Democratic nomination, as the contest enters its final month.

Obama won North Carolina by 56 percent to 42 percent, or about 230,000 votes. Clinton won Indiana by 51 percent to 49 percent, or just over 22,000 votes. The results mean Obama will add both to his pledged delegate margin and his lead in the popular vote over Clinton. In his victory speech before 3,000 supporters in Raleigh, Obama highlighted the importance of the win.

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA: You know, there are those who were saying that North Carolina would be a game-changer in this election. But today, what North Carolina decided is that the only game that needs changing is the one in Washington, D.C.

    I want to start by congratulating Senator Clinton on what appears to be her victory in the great state of Indiana. I want to thank all the people — I want to thank all the wonderful people of Indiana who worked so hard on our behalf. The people in Indiana could not be finer. They worked tirelessly, and I will always be grateful to them.

    I want to thank, of course, the people of North Carolina. I want to thank them for giving us a victory in a big state, in a swing state, in a state where we will compete to win if I am the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

    This fall, we intend to march forward as one Democratic Party united by a common vision for this country, because we all agree that at this defining moment in our history, a moment when we are facing two wars, an economy in turmoil, a planet in peril, a dream that feels like it’s slipping away for too many Americans, we can’t afford to give John McCain the chance to serve out George Bush’s third term. We need change in America, and that’s why we will be united in November.

AMY GOODMAN: More than an hour after Senator Obama spoke, Senator Clinton spoke to supporters in Indianapolis before any final call on the Indiana results had been made. Clinton wasn’t declared the winner until after 1:00 a.m. Eastern Time, more than seven hours after most polls closed. In her speech, she vowed to stay in the race.

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: Not too long ago, my opponent made a prediction. He said I would probably win Pennsylvania, he would win North Carolina, and Indiana would be the tiebreaker. Well, tonight we’ve come from behind, we’ve broken the tie, and thanks to you, it’s full speed onto the White House.

    I’m going to work my heart out in West Virginia and Kentucky this month, and I intend to win them in November in the general election. You know, I want — I want the people in these upcoming states to know we’re going to work hard to reach out to all of you, because we want you to know that the Democratic Party is your party and a Democratic president will be good for you. So, please, come join us in our campaign.

    And I am running to the president of all of America — north, south, east and west and everywhere in between. That’s why it is so important that we count the votes of Florida and Michigan.

    CROWD: Count the votes! Count the votes! Count the votes! Count the votes! Count the votes! Count the votes!

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: Well, you know, it seems it would be a little strange to have a nominee chosen by forty-eight states. We’ve got a long road ahead, but we’re going to keep fighting on that path for America, because America is worth fighting for.

AMY GOODMAN: The primaries in North Carolina and Indiana were the third biggest day of the long nomination battle in terms of delegates, with 187 at stake. It was also the last big day of the calendar. An additional 217 pledged delegates remain to be chosen in the final six contests between now and June 3rd: in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota. All eyes now turn to the remaining 270-or-so undeclared superdelegates, which either candidate would need to lock up the nomination.

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