Trailing in Money, Votes, Clinton Gains Momentum

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary Tuesday night with a 10 percent victory margin. The win gives her momentum as the race moves to North Carolina and Indiana.

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This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.


And I'm Steve Inskeep.

When Bill Clinton was president, his advisers sometimes spoke of a permanent campaign. Maybe it took Hillary Clinton to show what that really meant. She won Pennsylvania by 10 points yesterday, which is just impressive enough to keep going against Barack Obama. She still trails in delegates and money, but can claim momentum entering into the next primaries.

We'll start our coverage this morning with NPR's David Greene.

(Soundbite of song, "I Won't Back Down")

DAVID GREENE: Hillary Clinton came into the ballroom to the strains of Tom Petty.

(Soundbite of song, "I Won't Back Down")

Mr. TOM PETTY (Singer, Songwriter): (Singing) You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won't back down.

GREENE: Clinton said she and Barack Obama have spent much of the past six weeks traveling from town-to-town, chatting with voters.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Democratic Presidential Candidate): You listened, and today you chose.

(Soundbite of cheering)

GREENE: Pennsylvanians chose in large numbers. Clinton won among women and voters older than 60, and she carried many of the state's smaller working class communities. Last night, she suggested she understands what it's like to be in an uphill battle.

Sen. CLINTON: I'm in this race to fight for you. To fight…

(Soundbite of cheering)

Sen. CLINTON: …to fight for everyone who's ever been counted out, for everyone fighting to pay the grocery bills or the medical bills, the credit card and mortgage payments, and the outrageous price of gas at the pump today.

(Soundbite of cheering)

Sen. CLINTON: You know, the pundits questioned whether Pennsylvanians would trust me with this charge, and tonight you showed you do.

GREENE: The race turned negative in the final days, and voters interviewed at polling stations more often blamed Clinton than Obama. But Clinton and her advisers said the lesson from Pennsylvania should be that Obama failed to close the deal.

Sen. CLINTON: He broke every spending record in this state trying to knock us out of the race. Well, the people of Pennsylvania had other ideas.

(Soundbite of cheering)

GREENE: One of those people is Shug Davis. She was at the victory party and didn't want a reporter to interrupt her celebration.

Ms. SHUG DAVIS: Make it fast, buddy. I've waited a long time for this.

GREENE: Davis is 58 years old. She is a professional dog trainer in Philadelphia, and she said too many people get the wrong impression of Hillary Clinton.

Ms. DAVIS: She talks to you and she listens. I don't know why people feel that she's a bad person or insecure. She's a mensch, you know? She's a real person.

GREENE: Davis acknowledged Clinton has a tough path to the nomination.

Ms. DAVIS: But she has tenacity. She has fight. And she's not going to give up, and neither are we. She's going to win. It's not impossible.

GREENE: You think it's okay if the superdelegates end up deciding the nomination for her?

Ms. DAVIS: I personally don't care who ends up deciding who gives her the nomination. She deserves it.

GREENE: Next up to decide who deserves it: the voters of North Carolina and Indiana.

David Greene, NPR News, Philadelphia.

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