Defying mounting pressure from some party leaders to bow out, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton told The Washington Post she will stick it out through the remaining primaries and the contested Florida and Michigan results are resolved.
“I know there are some people who want to shut this down, and I think they are wrong,” Hillary said in an interview in Sunday’s edition.
“I have no intention of stopping until we finish what we started, and until we see what happens in the next 10 contests, and until we resolve Florida and Michigan. And if we don’t resolve it, we’ll resolve it at the convention.”
Democrats in Florida and Michigan broke party rules and held primaries in January but the results were invalidated. Hillary won both primaries, but her rival, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, was not on the ballot in Michigan.
Hillary trails Obama in the race for 2,024 Democratic nominating delegates. But she says she can still beat the Illinois senator and that all Democrats should get a chance to vote. She has tried and failed to schedule a revote or have the votes in Florida and Michigan count.
“We cannot got forward until Florida and Michigan are taken care of, otherwise the eventual nominee will not have the legitimacy that I think will haunt us,” the New York senator and former first lady told the Post.
Some Democratic leaders want the Hillary-Obama battle resolved as soon as possible so the party’s presidential nominee can focus on defeating the presumptive Republican nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain, in the November general election.
Campaigning in Pennsylvania on Saturday, Obama said Hillary can stay in the race as long as she wants. He also expressed confidence that Democrats will coalesce around the winner, despite the often bitter contest.
“My attitude is that Senator Clinton can run as long as she wants. Her name is on the ballot and she is a fierce and formidable competitor,” said Obama, adding that the notion that Democrats have been split by the prolonged nominating contest “is somewhat overstated”.
Holding out an olive branch to her supporters, Obama said Hillary “obviously believes that she would make the best nominee and the best president, and I think that she should be able to compete and her supporters should be able to support her for as long as they are willing or able”.
Obama was on a six-day bus tour through Pennsylvania where Hillary is running well ahead in polls in advance of that state’s April 22 primary.