Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
Sen. Barack Obama waves after he leaves a town hall meeting at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa. on Monday.
Sen. Barack Obama waves after he leaves a town hall meeting at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa. on Monday. Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
Sen. Barack Obama has chipped away at Sen. Hillary Clinton's once-sizable lead in Pennsylvania. But as the state prepares to hold its Democratic primary Tuesday, Clinton remains ahead in polls by between 5 and 8 percentage points.
In the final hours before the vote, Obama tells Melissa Block that he's not predicting he will win the primary. But he says that a loss doesn't mean his campaign can't defeat Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, in November.
"I wouldn't be campaigning here if I didn't think that we could win," Obama says. "There's no doubt [Clinton] had a big advantage to start with. She comes from a border state that shares a media market with Philadelphia. She has the support of a very popular Democratic governor. That's why it's hard to extrapolate from what happens during a primary.
"I don't think there is any doubt that Ed Rendell, the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, will be pushing hard on my behalf come the general election. The same is true in Ohio with Gov. Ted Strickland. We feel confident in our ability to win in November, and I feel confident that we'll do just fine tomorrow."
The Clinton campaign argues that she should be the Democratic nominee because she can win in big swing states like Ohio. A win in Pennsylvania — which has voted Democratic in the last four presidential elections — would show that she can also win in populous "blue" states, her campaign argues.
Obama counters this by noting that he easily won the Democratic primaries in Georgia, Virginia and Minnesota — and that they, too, can be considered large states.
"There's been a tendency to cherry pick which states are important and which aren't," Obama says. "This is sort of the bias of our political pundits over the last several years — to focus on a few states and think that they're the important ones. We think we can win states like Virginia and Colorado that haven't been in play for a very long time and, frankly, [that] Sen. Clinton couldn't put in play, but I can."