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Clinton Wins Big in West Virginia, Obama Still Frontrunner


Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Hillary Clinton, has won an overwhelming victory Tuesday in West Virginia's primary over her opponent, Senator Barack Obama. But her victory is not likely to deter Obama, who seems to be on a clear path to clinching the Democratic nomination. VOA Correspondent Cindy Saine reports from Washington.

As expected, West Virginia's majority of white, working class voters came out to show their strong loyalty to Clinton, even though most experts say she can no longer catch up to Obama in the overall delegate count, with only five primaries left.

But it was a night for Senator Clinton to bask in her triumph, and she told her supporters she is more determined than ever to keep fighting to win the nomination. "I am in this race because I believe I am the strongest candidate. The strongest candidate to lead our party in November of 2008, and the strongest president to lead our nation starting in January 2009," she said.

Clinton also appealed to her supporters to donate more money so that she can keep going.

West Virginia only has a total of 28 pledged delegates, and Senator Clinton is likely to pick up the majority of them. But since his big victory in North Carolina and narrow loss in Indiana last week, Obama has picked up close to 30 superdelegates -- party leaders and elected officials who are free to vote as they please at the party's nominating convention in August.

Increasingly, individual superdelegates are coming out to declare their support for Obama, saying it is time for the party to unite behind him to get ready for the general election in November.

Clinton's campaign has said Democrats should ask themselves why Senator Obama failed to win West Virginia, saying she can build a stronger coalition of voters to go against the presumed Republican nominee, Senator John McCain.

Tuesday, Obama moved on to a key battleground state for the general election, Missouri, where he used all his verbal ammunition on Senator McCain. "John McCain has decided that he is running for George Bush's third term in office. That is what his campaign has been about, to offer the American people four more years of the same approach that has failed the American people for the last eight years," he said.

On Wednesday, Obama is heading to Michigan, another general election battleground state. Senator Clinton will be holding key private meetings in Washington with financial contributors and unpledged superdelegates, trying to decide what her next step should be.

The next primaries will be next Tuesday in Kentucky and Oregon.