Senator Barack Obama won the North Carolina primary Tuesday, while his rival, Senator Hillary Clinton was the winner of Tuesday's Democratic presidential primary in Indiana, according to U.S. news outlets. The results gave Obama an even larger lead in delegates and restored some of the momentum he has lost in recent contests. VOA's Greg Flakus has more from Indianapolis, Indiana.
With time running out and Obama expanding his lead in delegates, most political analysts see little chance now that Clinton can win the Democratic nomination. Appearing before supporters in Raleigh, North Carolina, after the results in that state had been announced, Obama spoke of leading a united Democratic Party in the contest with the Republican's presumptive nominee, Senator John McCain.
"We cannot afford to give John McCain a chance to serve out George Bush's third term. We need change in America and that is why we will be united in November," Obama said.
Obama also addressed the concerns of some of the voters who have voted against him in Democratic primaries and caucuses. He said he is not perfect, but that, in spite of his flaws, he will be able to lead America in the right direction. Exit polls have shown a majority of white, working-class voters, white women and older voters selecting Clinton over Obama. Her advantage with these groups has helped her win several other big states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, which, she argues, will be critical battlegrounds in the general election in November.
When she spoke to supporters, here in Indianapolis, before final results were known, Clinton made it clear she is still very much in the fight for her party's nomination.
"Tonight, we have come from behind, we have broken the tie and, thanks to you, it is full speed on to the White House!," she said.
The fact that Obama had won by a wide margin in North Carolina and that results in Indiana were very close did not daunt Mrs. Clinton, as she spoke of carrying on her campaign. "These next primaries are another test. I am going to work my heart out in West Virginia and Kentucky this month and I intend to win them in November, in the general election," she said.
Democrats in West Virginia go to the polls May 13th. Kentucky and Oregon hold their primaries May 20th. Puerto Rico will hold a primary on June First. The final two contests will be held in the western states of Montana and South Dakota, June Third. But, in all of these contests together, there are only 217 delegates at stake and political analysts say it is difficult to see how Clinton could win enough delegates to catch up with Obama and win the nomination.
Clinton has placed some hope in having delegates from Florida and Michigan counted at the Democratic convention in August, but party leaders are against that idea. Clinton won both states, but the contests were not supposed to count, because both states had violated party rules by moving their primaries up on the political calendar. Neither state has been able to put together a plan to re-do the contests before the convention.