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McCain, Obama Battle as Clinton Keeps Fighting

With only three relatively minor primary elections for U.S. president left - Puerto Rico, South Dakota, and Montana, Democratic White House-hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton continues to campaign aggressively for her party's presidential nomination. But her Democratic rival, Senator Barack Obama, is now focused on presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee Senator John McCain and the November general election. VOA's Jeffrey Young has this week's Political Wrap.

Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are already locked in head-to-head combat. Despite delegate shortfalls, Hillary Clinton still insists that she, not Obama, should be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee.

"Who would be the best president?" she asks. "And, who would be the stronger candidate against [presumptive Republican nominee] Senator [John] McCain? I believe I am."

Clinton's pleas come amid fading chances. Lawyers for the Democratic National Committee [DNC] say that only half of the combined 368 delegates from Michigan and Florida may be seated at the party nominating convention. The DNC penalized those states for holding primaries before the party said they could. The party could make a final determination May 31.

One of Clinton's most visible supporters now says the Clinton-Obama contest for so-called superdelegates is effectively over. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, on Bloomberg TV. "I'm a realist, and I think [that] most likely, the superdelegates will give Senator Obama the votes he needs," Rendell said. "It is very unlikely that Senator Clinton can prevail."

Meanwhile, in the battle between the two parties, Republican John McCain has broadened his attacks on Obama. "Now, why is it that Senator Obama wants to sit down with the president of Iran, but has not yet sat down with General Petraus, the leader of our troops in Iraq?" asks McCain.

Obama reacted to that barb [verbal attack] by stating that McCain and the Republican Party's strategy in Iraq is a failure. The Democratic front-runner also made fun of a Phoenix, Arizona closed-door fundraiser for McCain by President Bush.

"No cameras, no reporters, and we all know why. Senator McCain doesn't want to be seen hat-in-hand [asking for a favor] with a president whose failed policies he promises to continue for another four years," Obama said.

John McCain fueled running mate speculation last Sunday by having dinner with former rival Mitt Romney, Florida Governor Charlie Christ, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindahl.