Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Obama shows new confidence as Democratic debate unlikely to push Clinton forward

Obama shows new confidence as Democratic debate unlikely to push Clinton forward

Barack Obama showed new confidence Wednesday hours after a debate with Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared unlikely to lift the former first lady past him ahead of must-win contests next week in the Democratic presidential race.
Clinton said she is optimistic about Tuesday's primaries in Texas and Ohio, and was not thinking about dropping her presidential bid.
"I don't think about it like that," she told reporters aboard her campaign plane between Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. "I'm doing everything I can to win. That's what I intend to do."
Obama has won 11 straight primaries and has been increasingly gathering delegates. Delegate-rich Texas and Ohio are among four states holding primaries Tuesday. Rhode Island and Vermont also have contests, and a total of 370 will be at stake.
"What keeps me going is knowing I would be the best president," Clinton said. "I know that I could handle the problems we have here at home and around the world and I believe I'm the best candidate to take on John McCain in what will be a very challenging election."
But in a setback for her, Democratic congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis dropped his support in favor of Obama. He also is a superdelegate who gets a vote at this summer's national convention in Denver.
Lewis, a Democratic congressman from Atlanta, is the most prominent black leader to defect from Clinton's campaign in the face of near-majority black support for Obama in recent voting.
"I think the candidacy of Senator Obama represents the beginning of a new movement in American political history that began in the hearts and minds of the people of this nation," he said in a statement. "And I want to be on the side of the people, on the side of the spirit of history."
Obama also picked up an endorsement from Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota.
Clinton and Obama sparred Tuesday night over health care, the war in Iraq and trade, particularly the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Bill Clinton had championed when he was president, but is seen by labor and other critics as a chief culprit in the loss of manufacturing jobs in Ohio, which holds its primary Tuesday, and other industrial Midwestern states.
Both candidates have called for renegotiating parts of the trade pact, but in different terms.
"It was a terrific debate," Obama told a cheering gymnasium audience during a stop in Columbus, Ohio. It was their final debate before the contests in Ohio and Texas.
Even some of Clinton's supporters concede she must win in both Ohio and Texas to keep her bid alive to become the first female U.S. president.
On the Republican side, John McCain, the party's presumptive nominee, took on the Democratic front-runner and mocked Obama for saying he would take action as president "if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq."
"I have some news. Al-Qaida is in Iraq. It's called `al-Qaida in Iraq,'" McCain told a crowd in Tyler, Texas, drawing laughter at Obama's expense.
McCain said he had not watched the debate, but was told of Obama's response when asked if as president he would reserve the right to send U.S. troops back into Iraq to quell an insurrection or civil war.
Obama did not say whether he would send troops, but responded: "As commander in chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests. And if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad."
Obama quickly answered back Wednesday, telling a rally at Ohio State University that he is aware that al-Qaida is in Iraq. "So I have some news for John McCain," he added, and noted that there was no al-Qaida presence in Iraq until President George W. Bush invaded the country.
The five-year-old Iraq conflict has emerged as a fault line in the general election, and throughout the primary season McCain has repeatedly attacked Obama and Clinton for saying they would withdraw the troops. The exchange between McCain and Obama also underscored that the two consider each other likely general election rivals.
The Republican race is considered settled in favor of McCain, a senator and former Vietnam prisoner of war. He has a total of 1,013 of the 1,191 delegates needed to clinch the nomination at the Republican convention in September in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, trails with 257 delegates.
The Democratic race remains unsettled. Clinton needs big wins after 11 successive Obama primary and caucus victories since Feb. 5. Obama has been steadily gathering delegates to the party's national nominating convention in Denver.
The Illinois senator currently has 1,372 delegates to Clinton's 1,274. A total of 2,025 are needed to secure the Democratic nomination at the party's convention in late August in Denver.
Clinton's supporters had hoped that the debate would shift the momentum in the race. But it seemed unlikely to provide a lift to Clinton's campaign. Neither candidate seemed to knock the other off stride.


Updated : 2021-08-03 04:46 GMT+08:00