Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Scope Of Things Today+Clinton wins Pennsylvania primary

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

An inane situation and all the trouble it seems to be creating has been plaguing you. Your peace of mind absolutely must come first, so separate yourself from this nonsense. You are under no obligation to get completely absorbed by it.

Gemini (May 21 — June 21)

The reality of your dilemma is far better than the fearful fantasy which currently has gripped your imagination. A certain truth has been tough, but you'll learn to love it as you notice how life improves from here on in.

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Clinton wins Pennsylvania primary

Margin of victory will be key in determining whether Clinton campaign can pick up momentum


Washington Bureau

PHILADELPHIA–A punishing battle for the Democratic presidential nomination will continue at least another two weeks after former first lady Hillary Clinton scored a clear victory over Illinois Senator Barack Obama tonight in the Pennsylvania primary.

Clinton won the vote by about 10 points, close enough to the blowout win which could change the landscape of this epic struggle, and certainly enough to take the campaign to North Carolina and Indiana amid fears within the party that an often nasty battle is exacting a deep toll on its electoral prospects in the fall.

"Here in Pennsylvania, you made your voices heard,'' Clinton told jubilant supporters in a downtown hotel ballroom here.

"And, because of you, the tide is turning.''

Clinton still faces long odds and a short calendar but Tuesday night's win may provide her campaign with some badly-needed cash, give her momentum and provide credence to her argument that she, not Obama, is the choice of the core of traditional Democratic voters in states the party's nominee must win if he or she is to prevail against Republican John McCain in November.

"We were up against a formidable opponent who outspent us three-to-one,'' she said.

"He broke every spending record in this state trying to knock us out of the race. Well, the people of Pennsylvania had other ideas.''

While Clinton painted her victory as a blow for all Americans who will not quit, she dealt directly with one reality — she is running out of money, and unless she can parlay this win into a financial windfall, it could be money which finally pushes her to the sideline.

She made a direct appeal for money in her nationally-televised speech, saying she could only keep winning if she could compete with an opponent flush with cash.

Obama countered in Evansville, Ind., telling voters in that state the fate of this race was now in their hands.

He said Democrats could not lose sight of what this race was all about and he urged the party to be the party it aspires to be, not one that will do or say anything to win the next election and lurch from one poll-tested position to the next.

"It's easy to get caught up in the distractions and the silliness and the tit-for-tat that consumes our politics,'' he said, "the bickering that none of us are entirely immune to, and it trivializes the profound issues: two wars, an economy in recession, a planet in peril, issues that confront our nation.''

Tuesday night marked the fourth opportunity Obama has squandered to potentially force Clinton out of the race, with the New York senator confounding pollsters in New Hampshire, pushing back against an Obama surge on February's Super Tuesday, taking Ohio last month and again surviving a win-or-else state Tuesday.

Clinton went into Pennsylvania as the prohibitive favourite, once holding a 20-point lead in the state, but a go-for-broke spending campaign by Obama narrowed that gap, although it could not get him the victory which could have ended the Democratic marathon.

North Carolina and Indiana offer Obama yet another chance in two weeks for the knockout blow he has been unable to administer.

He is heavily favoured in North Carolina, but the real battleground will be Indiana, a state where the demographics skew in Clinton's favour, but which borders on Obama's home state, Illinois.

Obama has been running ads in Indiana for a month already, with Clinton putting up her first ads in the past two weeks.

That is another sign of the wide financial gap between the pair.

Clinton began April in debt, with about $9 million (U.S.) cash in hand, but $10 million (U.S.) in debts.

Obama had $42.5 million (U.S.) in hand to begin the month with only negligible debt.

Should the May 6 votes settle nothing, five more states will weigh in — West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Montana and South Dakota.

Guam and Puerto Rico have also yet to vote.

All Democratic votes will be in by June 3.

"I've come to the conclusion that this race will continue until the last primary or caucus vote is cast,'' Obama said Tuesday before departing Pennsylvania for Indiana.

"That's not that far away.''

There were 158 pledged delegates to allocated in Pennsylvania, a state with 4.2 million Democrats - including some 300,000 who have switched party affiliation or registered for the first time.

Obama had 1,648.5 delegates before last night's vote ahead of Clinton's 1,509.5, according to the Associated Press count.

To win, a candidate needs 2,025 delegates.

About one in five voters said the race of the candidates was among the top factors in their vote. About as many said that about the candidates' gender.

White voters who cited race as a factor voted for Clinton by about a three-to-one margin.

Some familiar voting patterns in this Democratic race held true in Pennsylvania.

New voters went to Obama, and according to one exit poll, the Illinois senator won 92 per cent of the African-American vote.

Clinton scored big with older, white women and she won about six in 10 of those who made their choice at the last moment.

She also won among union voters and was the choice of gun owners in Pennsylvania, a huge constituency, even among Democrats.

The exit polling indicated four in 10 voters had a gun owner in their household.

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