March 29th, 2008
04:40 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama: Clinton 'can run as long as she wants'

Sen. Obama turns to leave after speaking with the press after a campaign event in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on Saturday.

Sen. Obama turns to leave after speaking with the press after a campaign event in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on Saturday.

JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton should remain in the Democratic presidential race "as long as she wants," rival candidate Barack Obama said Saturday despite two of his high profile supporters urging the former first lady to give up.

"She is a fierce and formidable competitor, and she obviously believes that she would make the best nominee and the best president," the Illinois senator told reporters while campaigning in Pennsylvania. "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."

Pennsylvania is the scene of the next Democratic primary, on April 22, and the largest state that hasn't yet weighed in on the party's presidential race. Clinton, of New York, has won primaries in the biggest states so far, but Obama has won more total contests and leads Clinton in race for delegates to the party's August convention in Denver - where the nominee will be formally ratified.

Two of Obama's leading supporters, Sens. Christopher Dodd and Patrick Leahy, said Friday that Clinton should rethink her chances of overcoming that deficit and consider folding her campaign. Leahy, D-Vermont, said Clinton "has every right, but not a very good reason, to remain a candidate for as long as she wants to."

For her part, Clinton told supporters at a rally in Indiana, which holds a May 6 primary, that "The more people get a chance to vote, the better it is for our democracy."

"There are some folks saying we ought to stop these elections," she said in Indianapolis. "I didn't think we believed that in America. I thought we of all people knew how important it was to give everyone a chance to have their voices heard and their votes counted."

Obama said he did not discuss Leahy's call for Clinton to get out with the Vermont senator, who serves as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The candidate called fears that the Democratic Party would be damaged by a long campaign "somewhat overstated." But he added that both he and Clinton should avoid campaign attacks "that could be used as ammunition for the Republicans" in November.

soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Annie Amis

    GO OBAMA GO!!!! what a graceful way to handle that situation. you got to admire the man.

    March 29, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  2. tupac

    Sensible suggestion. The guy never personally attacks her,been diplomatic all along, does not need to lie even though the press want him to do so so much. Refreshing to see someone with if not new ideas at least with a new approach to this disingeneous game called politics

    March 29, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. Brian Sullivan

    Hmmmm....Obama calls for change. This is politics as usual, Obama. Wake up people. Supporters of a candidate say one thing, while the candidate says something completely different. I thought Obama wanted change. He should be ashamed. Wake up people, Obama is a politician. How can you beleive him?

    March 29, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  4. www.savetheplanetfoundation.net

    Obama, really think that he he can win against Mc Cain,
    He is dreaming.

    March 29, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  5. www.savetheplanetfoundation.net

    Because Hillary can be and will be the Best President in U.S History

    March 29, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  6. seah

    He knows the majority of the Democrats in this country want Hillary.

    He also knows that the ploy to get all the High power dems to speak out trying to get her to drop out, was a bad mistake on his part.

    His new ploy to act gracious is not going to work either.

    He is no more than a speech. He has nothing to offer America.

    A vote for America is a vote against Obama.

    March 29, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  7. Russell, NC

    She can run but she is wasting peoples money.

    March 29, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  8. Bela

    Obama has a 50 state primary and Hillary will be done after Indiana...She had no plans after Feb. 5th or March 4th. Now the date is May 6th. What is up with that...How presumptive on her part.

    March 29, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  9. Judy

    To all the people who are supporting Obama and think that Clinton should drop out now:; I live in NC; IT OK WITH YOU IF I GET A CHANCE TO CAST MY VOTE? I am sure that the people in the states that have not held their primary would also like a chance to vote.
    LEAHY: it is YOUR OPINION that she does not have "a very good reason" to stay in this race, and I for one don't think much of your opinion.

    March 29, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  10. Godwin

    Even as an Obamacrat, I agree that Hillary should be allowed to stay in the race for as long as she want. Huckabee was in the race till McCain got the required number of deligates. Besides, we still have some states left. Those states should be allowed to vote too. I know there's she can catch up with the maverick.

    March 29, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  11. Hill got Hope!

    Its obvious to me that .....well, Hill is running on what she disparaged most in her counterpart.

    HOPE!.......how funny..................,she found out what Obama has been talking about all along!........ its what you need to start change.

    How do ya like that,

    YES You can, Hill, Yes you can, too.

    Too bad it took so long. Day late, Dollar short, and worse for it. Your political lust is showing, Hill.....thanks for showing us your true colors.

    March 29, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  12. NOT AN OBAMA ZOMBIE

    As if it's up to him What a tool Obama is!!
    Anybody but Obama !!!!!!!! HEY OBAMA YOU'ER GOING TO WIN SO DROOP OUT AND SAVE THE DEM PARTY HILLARY 08

    March 29, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  13. Shelley Stephens

    Love this Hillary quote: "There are some folks saying we ought to stop these elections," she said in Indianapolis. "I didn't think we believed that in America. I thought we of all people knew how important it was to give everyone a chance to have their voices heard and their votes counted."
    I guess this belief of Hillary's stops when it comes to Superdelegates. Then, suddenly, it is not so important for everyone to "have their voices heard." This is a major contradiction and you can't have it both ways, Hillary. Give up already. You and Bill have major character issues that are becoming increasingly apparent to the electorate.

    March 29, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  14. NOT AN OBAMA ZOMBIE

    As if it's up to him What a tool Obama is!!
    Anybody but Obama !!!!!!!! HEY OBAMA YOU'ER NEVER GOING TO WIN SO DROOP OUT AND SAVE THE DEM PARTY HILLARY 08

    March 29, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  15. ABG

    The DNC is the reason the Democratic Party is a mess. They could care less if FL & MI votes are counted. Howard Dean is putting it all on the superdelegates. Hillary Clinton must continue to fight. Obama agrees. So DNC and all others, BUTT OUT!! Let the other states vote and use your energy to help the MI & FL voters be heard. SEAT THEIR DELEGATES OR HAVE NEW ELECTIONS!

    March 29, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  16. aware

    Give it up Obama!

    You might be surprised how many people are willing and able to support Hillary or Mccain for president but not you, Obama!

    You, Obama, are not electable! Your story that keeps changing and your onesided racial view of America reveals your lack of authenticity, honesty and integrity. You do not have the appropriate values for an American president. You can't bring about change in America until you, yourself and Michelle change.

    You, Obama, are a follower not a leader, and you are a ticking time bomb for America.

    People will not follow the party line if you, Obama, are the Dem. nominee! 😦

    Hillary or McCain 08! 🙂

    March 29, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  17. Christine D

    Well isn't that big of him.

    March 29, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  18. ObamaRocks

    Candidate Obama's benevolent treatment of the almost defeated candidate is a very good omen of how President Obama will deal with people once in office.
    Soon-to-be-President Obama Rocks!

    March 29, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  19. Obama Pelosi

    Hillary can stay in the race as long as she wants. But quit with the Karl Rove tactics – lying, exaggerating experience, personal attacks on Obama and any of this supporters, be more transparent and release your income tax.

    Stop using the race card against Obama and stop blaming everything on the gender card.

    Talk about your policies and why you think they are better. I know its tough when Obama's policies are better and he does a much better job delivering them, but please, its all about the the American people not your selfish ambitions.

    March 29, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  20. Djools from the Netherlands

    It is time for a new generation. Hillary would make a good president but Barack can even do better. His background and his youth gives him an advantage in experience.

    March 29, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  21. Jesse

    The longer Clinton stays in the race the more divided the party becomes and the more the republicans sit back and laugh

    Obama is numerically ahead in delegates, popular vote and contests won... Clinton can catch up or win

    Can someone who can show Clinton how to count and tell her the truth (something she has a great deal of trouble with)

    March 29, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  22. Nando

    I agree she needs to run for Senate as long as she wants after April 22 she has to get off the POT!!!!!!!!!!

    March 29, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  23. Susan

    We were first for Obama, but not now. He will say anything to be in the news.......a little too 'star struck'. He acts as though he will be the one who wins the democratic race. We are now for Clinton. America, do not be afraid to vote for a woman for our president. We have women lawyers, doctors, and the majjority of teachers are women....who teach our children. I hope you will vote for Clinton.

    March 29, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  24. Donald Johnson

    This is why I deeply repect the man!!! Go Obama!!!

    March 29, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  25. Jason

    Of course Hillary is going to continue. It is her right!
    Obama I am disappointed that you allow your dogs, like Leahy & Richardson to stay out. Kissing butt is not very becoming...

    March 29, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
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