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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. beachnan

    How gracious of Obama to say it is okay for Hillary to stay in the race-not. The audacity of this man is appalling. As this country finds out more and more about Obama, they like him less and less, so, by all means, we should see this race go on. In fact, wouldn't it be great if he actually wanted to see all the votes counted too, places like Michigan and Florida. I know he really doesn't believe it, but there are many of us who will not vote for him, if he is the candidate. Please-it's not about race. You can't keep playing the race card. He really is not qualified for the job, and especially after recent events-more involvement with Rezko than previously stated, the untruths about Canada/Nafta, the Wright debacle, etc. The worse part is the fact that he wants everyone to believe that he never heard Wright's racist and hate sermons. Whew!! What a whopper!!! As I stated before, not qualified for the job.

    March 29, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  2. 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 NOT 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)

    Ps watch out for the sniper fire… I hear it’s really bad this time of year LOL

    March 29, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  3. Virgie

    Popular vote would really mean popular vote if all states will be counted and heard, otherwise it will just be called partial sum of votes cast.

    March 29, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  4. globescout

    Finally a decent comment from Sen. Obama towards his colleague and rival Sen. Clinton. But don't hold you breath, his hate supporters will continue to do the diry work for him, then he can wash his hands and say he is running a different kind of campaign – lol.

    March 29, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  5. jorge rodriguez

    it the tables were turned, and Hillary Clinton was just slightly ahead of Obama in delegates, do you think Obama or any of his supporters would consider quitting.. Do you think Obamas supporters would be offended if anyone suggested he quit?

    March 29, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  6. power_sam

    That's another piece of Obama. Saying one thing while meaning another like FL and MI. If he is sincere he should say in public that he did not agree with Sen. Leahy-Dodd. Looks like he wants to chage America by adding more states in the list of disenfrancised with FL, listed in 2000. If his tall talk has any meaning then he should push for FL and MI revotes sincerely like he is pushing for nominations. Remember, November voting will be direct, not caucus where people had limited opportunity to go for vote. If you cannot win a big state except IL then why the hell you want to be president! Obama's big talk that Colorado etc are big states are as sincere as his talk for change. Spining will not help in November. I woludn't have voted for you in 2008 like many. Sounds unusual/strange but I think (I'll not call) Obama should quit for best of the party and country.

    March 29, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
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