May 18, 2008 / 12:28 AM / in 9 years

Clinton plugs away as time grows short in race

BOWLING GREEN, Kentucky (Reuters) - With time running out on her White House campaign, Hillary Clinton plugged away on Sunday in her uphill battle to overtake Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.

<p>US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign visit to the Maker's Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, May 17, 2008. REUTERS/Frankie Steele</p>

“It’s not enough to show up and cheer,” the former first lady exhorted a rally at Western Kentucky University. “You’ve got to get out and vote. You’ve got to bring everybody you can find to vote.”

The New York senator started her day by attending church and then headed off to “Get Out the Vote” rallies in Kentucky, which along with Oregon holds Democratic contests on Tuesday.

Obama holds a commanding lead in the pledged delegates to this summer’s party convention that will pick a candidate to run against Republican John McCain in November. While Clinton was expected to win handily in Kentucky, Obama was ahead in the polls in Oregon, leaving only three more primaries before the party voting ends on June 3.

At a fundraiser in Oregon on Saturday night, Obama predicted he would win in the state and get enough national convention delegates to “put us over the top.”

His campaign seemed confident of achieving enough delegates to win the nomination at August’s convention that the Illinois senator planned to be in Iowa on Tuesday to celebrate where his first victory in January launched his campaign.

All polls are closed in Kentucky at 7 p.m. EDT and Oregon at 8 p.m. PDT/11 p.m. Results are expected shortly after.

ROLLING UP SLEEVES

Clinton indicated she was going to keep going. “It’s not going to be easy and it doesn’t happen by wishing and hoping for it,” she said in Bowling Green. “It happens by rolling up our sleeves and getting to work.”

Obama, whose foreign policy credentials have been questioned by McCain, campaigned in Gresham, Oregon, where he spoke of the need for compromises by Israelis and Palestinians to achieve peace in the Middle East.

<p>Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama gets some advice on what to order from a young patron during a stop at the Prince Puckler's ice cream shop in Eugene, Oregon May 17, 2008. REUTERS/Richard Clement</p>

“If we can get those accommodations, then I think it’s possible for us to see a peace deal during the next president’s two terms in office,” he said. “But it’s going to require some focus and attention from the president.”

Even with five primaries to go and the issue of Florida and Michigan disputed delegates still to be decided, Democrats were starting to focus on preparing for the November election by bringing both sides together and picking a vice presidential candidate.

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that financial backers of both Obama and Clinton have begun private talks, including a dinner in Washington last week, to discuss the two campaigns working together after June 3.

One of the approximately 35 attendees at the dinner, Philadelphia lawyer Mark Aronchick who has raised more than $1 million for Clinton, said her backers were not deserting her but realized planning for November was necessary.

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“Only if we do this right, and see this through in the right way, will there be a chance for a full, rapid and largely complete unification of the party,” he told the Post.

Speculation continued over the vice presidential picks for both parties with former Democratic New York Gov. Mario Cuomo again advocating an Obama-Clinton ticket.

Former Republican Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the last major challenger to McCain before he bowed out, had been mentioned as a possible McCain running mate. But last week he made an insensitive remark about aiming a gun at Obama.

Huckabee apologized but was asked on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether he would help McCain if he was on the ticket.

“I don’t know,” Huckabee said. “He is the only one that can know that.” But he added, “There is no one I would rather be on a ticket with than John McCain.”

On ABC’s “This Week” Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, who once sought the Democratic nomination, was asked about his vice presidential chances. Biden said he was not seeking the job, but “anybody that’s asked by their nominee to be their running mate, you’d have to consider it.”

(Writing by David Wiessler; additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Washington, Jeff Mason with Obama; editing by Bill Trott)

To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at http:/blogs.reuters.com/trail08/

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