"Until we have a nominee, whoever she may be"

In a speech on Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton celebrated her victory in Kentucky's Democratic primary and showed she's planning to fight on.

By Alex Koppelman
May 21, 2008 5:15AM (UTC)
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Hillary Clinton's time in the sun following her big victory in Kentucky's Democratic primary Tuesday night might be brief, as later on in the night Barack Obama will deliver a victory speech of sorts. But, for a time at least, Clinton had a moment of her own, and in her victory speech, she took full advantage and delivered one of her better election-night speeches thus far.

"This continues to be a tough fight, and I have fought it the only way I know how: With determination, by never giving up and never giving in," Clinton told her gathered supporters. "I have done it not because I've wanted to demonstrate my toughness, but because I believe passionately that for the sake of our country the Democrats must take back the White House and end Republican rule." Earlier, she had made a familiar argument about electability, saying, "After all this country has been through the past seven years we have to get this right. We have to select a nominee who is best positioned to win in November."


Clinton also tried to pre-emptively play down -- sometimes with shaky basis in fact -- the declaration Obama will make later tonight, that he's won a majority of elected delegates. "Neither Sen. Obama nor I has won the 2,210 delegates required to secure the nomination," Clinton said. "And because this race is so close, still separated by less than 200 delegates out of more than 4,400, neither Sen. Obama nor I will have reached that magic number when the voting ends on June the 3rd." That 2,210 delegates number is a controversial one, as it counts the disputed delegates from Florida and Michigan, and even the Clinton campaign wasn't using it until recently.

Also up for debate is Clinton's claim that she's "winning the popular vote" and "more people have voted for me than for anyone who's ever run for the Democratic nomination." According to charts compiled by RealClearPolitics.com, out of six possible ways to tally the popular vote, Clinton is currently winning only two, and both assume that the vote totals in Michigan -- where Obama's name was not even on the ballot -- are factored in.

But that was really the most aggressive argument Clinton made the whole night, as she stayed away from making explicitly negative arguments about Obama. Even when she said things like "I'm more determined than ever to see that every vote is cast and every ballot counted" she went on to add, "I commend Sen. Obama and his supporters, and 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 in the fall." At the end of her speech, she repeated that sentiment, saying:

We will come together as a party, united by common values and common cause, united in service of the hopes and dreams that know no boundaries of race or creed, gender or geography. And when we do, there will be no stopping us.

We won't just unite our party. We will unite our country and make sure America's best years are still ahead of us.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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