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Tuesday Primaries Could Move Obama Closer to Nomination

Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama is expected to take a major step toward securing his party's presidential nomination Tuesday after the results are in from primaries in Kentucky and Oregon. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has the latest on the U.S. presidential campaign from Washington.

Senator Obama is counting on a victory in Oregon to give him a majority of what are known as pledged delegates, which are selected through the process of caucuses and primaries that began in early January.

Obama rallied supporters in Montana on the eve of Tuesday's primaries.

"And if you will fight with me and work for me and vote with me, then I promise you, we will not just win Montana, we will this nomination and we will win this general election," he said.

Obama's Democratic rival, Senator Hillary Clinton, is heavily favored in Kentucky. Clinton hopes to rely on her base support of women and white working class voters to carry her to victory.

"The last thing we need is somebody who gives up and quits as our next president," she said.

Clinton shows no signs of ending her White House campaign even though she has virtually no chance of overcoming Obama's lead in the delegate count.

Many Clinton supporters want her to continue her campaign at least through June 3, when the final Democratic primaries are held in South Dakota and Montana.

A new women's political group known as WomenCount took out a full page ad in the New York Times urging her to stay in the race until every vote is counted.

Longtime political observer Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News was a guest on VOA's Issues in the News program.

"She has to know at this point that the chances of her getting the nomination are below zero," he noted. "So, why is she in it? I think she wants to project the image of, 'I am not a quitter.' She also believes that by staying in, she increases her leverage for whatever it is she would like in exchange for endorsing Obama, and we all know one of the things she would like is help to retire her considerable debt from the campaign."

In addition to his lead in pledged delegates, Obama continues to outpace Clinton in winning the support of so-called Democratic superdelegates. The superdelegates are party activists and officeholders who can support either candidate at the national nominating convention in late August.

The latest Gallup poll also contained good news for Obama. The survey showed Obama leading Clinton among Democrats nationally by 55 to 39 percent, Obama's largest margin this year. In mid-January, Clinton was leading Obama in the same poll by 20 points.