- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 29, 2008

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — If Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is feeling heat from pundits and party elders to quit the race and back Sen. Barack Obama, you’d never know it from her crowds, energy level and upbeat demeanor on the campaign trail. “There are millions of reasons to continue this race: people in Pennsylvania, Indiana and North Carolina, and all of the contests yet to come,” Mrs. Clinton told reporters yesterday. “This is a very close race and clearly I believe strongly that everyone should have their voices heard and their votes counted.” The former first lady weathered a two-pronged blow yesterday, with influential Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Jr. endorsing Mr. Obama and another Senate colleague, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, urging her to step aside. But to hear Mrs. Clinton tell it, it was just another day in an epic primary battle whose result is still not known. “I believe a spirited contest is good for the Democratic Party and will strengthen the eventual nominee,” she said. “We will have a united party behind whomever that nominee is. … I look forward to campaigning over the next several months.” Traveling across Indiana, the former first lady was greeted by large, enthusiastic audiences who roared their approval at her proposals to help fix the state’s economic challenges.

Video: Clinton vows to stay in race

Video: Obama jabs Clinton over experience claims At events here and in North Carolina on Thursday, Mrs. Clinton raised the issue of whether she should quit the race, only to have it firmly batted down by her supporters. “There are some people who are saying, you know, we really ought to end this primary, we just ought to shut it down,” she said in Mishawaka, Ind., drawing cries of “No, no!” inside a packed gymnasium. Her husband, former President Clinton, said Saturday that Democrats calling for his wife to drop out of the presidential race should “just relax” and let the remaining states vote. Bill Clinton, marching in a belated St. Patrick’s Day parade in Girardville, a tiny town in northeastern Pennsylvania’s coal region, said it wouldn’t be fair to deprive Democratic voters in states like Pennsylvania of the opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choice. “We just need to relax and let this happen. Nobody’s talking about wrecking the party,” Mr. Clinton said. “Everywhere I go, all these working people say, ‘Don’t you dare let her drop out. Don’t listen to those people in Washington, they don’t represent us.”’ In Hammond, Mrs. Clinton compared the state’s struggling steel industry to her own efforts to fight the odds. “I know a little bit about comebacks,” she said to cheers. “I know what it’s like to be counted down and counted out. But I also know there is nothing that will keep us down if we are determined to keep on.”

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