Video: Clinton's last hurrah?

msnbc.com news services
updated 6/2/2008 5:39:16 PM ET 2008-06-02T21:39:16

Hillary Rodham Clinton will give her post-primary speech in New York Tuesday night, a rare departure from the campaign trail.

Staffers who have worked for her on the ground in Puerto Rico, South Dakota and Montana have been invited to attend the event in New York or go home for further instructions, campaign aides said.

But campaign officials are saying no staff cuts are planned.

Clinton is under increasing pressure to cede the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama after the final primaries. There is a sense of denouement in the Clinton campaign.

She planned to rally with husband and former President Clinton and their daughter Chelsea in South Dakota Monday night — a reunion usually reserved for election nights.

The last two Democratic primaries are on Tuesday in South Dakota and Montana.

The news of her post-primary speech back in New York came at the same time the senator sounded defiant, starting the week with an insurgent strategy not only to win over undecided superdelegates but potentially to peel away rival Barack Obama's support from those party leaders and elected officials who already have committed to back him for the nomination.

"My political obituary has yet to be written, and we're going forward," Clinton said aboard her campaign plane Sunday night. "It is not over 'til it's over."

She told reporters, "One thing about superdelegates is that they can change their minds."

Meanwhile, Obama displays no sign of worry.

The Illinois Senator told a rally in the Detroit suburb of Troy that he understands that people wonder whether the Clinton folks are going to support the Obama folks and vice versa.

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Saying Clinton has run an outstanding race, the Democratic front-runner also said that he and Clinton and will be “working together in November.”

"Whatever differences Senator Clinton and I may have, those differences pale in comparison to the other side," he said.

The Illinois senator also said he has asked Clinton for a meeting on her terms "when the dust settles" from their race, adding, "The sooner we can bring the party together, the better."

The final primaries
South Dakota and Montana are the last Democratic nominating contests. Obama is favored in both states and he goes into them with 2,074 delegates, 44 away from the number now needed to secure the nomination. Clinton has 1,918 delegates, according to the NBC News count. Video: Clinton adviser: ‘We are still making our case’

Obama has made up most of the ground he lost Saturday when the national party's rules committee agreed to reinstate delegates from Michigan and Florida. The party had initially refused to seat the delegates as punishment for scheduling their contests in violation of party rules.

With 31 delegates at stake Tuesday, Obama could close the gap further and cue undecided superdelegates to come to his side. One of them, Nancy DiNardo, chairwoman of the Connecticut Democratic Party and the state's last uncommitted delegate, said Monday she is backing Obama. She had held back her endorsement for months, saying she wanted to wait until the primaries were over.

"It's pretty close to the end now," she told The Associated Press, though she added: "I would not count Senator Clinton out. She has shown that she's a strong fighter and a great candidate."

But Clinton argues she now leads in the popular vote — a debatable point given that she relies on Michigan and Florida outcomes. None of the candidates campaigned in either state and Obama received no votes in Michigan because he removed his name from the ballot. Clinton also continues to present herself as better able to confront McCain in the fall.

She and her campaign's national chairman, Terry McAuliffe, both made it clear Sunday night that Obama's supporters were now fair to pluck with those arguments.

To drive the point home, Clinton invited Virgin Islands superdelegate Kevin Rodriguez, a recent convert, to travel with her to South Dakota where she planned to campaign Monday. Rodriguez had initially supported Clinton, switched to Obama, and recently returned to her camp.

"This has been such an intense process," she said, "I don't think there has been a lot of time for reflection. It's only now that we're finishing these contests that people are going to actually reflect on who is our stronger candidate."

Her decision, if prolonged, is not likely to sit well with party leaders and some of her own supporters. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have both called on the contest to end shortly after the final primaries.

Clinton supporter sees Obama win
Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa governor and a national co-chairman of Clinton's campaign, said Sunday: "It does appear to be pretty clear that Senator Obama is going to be the nominee. After Tuesday's contests, she needs to acknowledge that he's going to be the nominee and quickly get behind him."

Video: Russert analysis Eager to make amends for avoiding Michigan's primary and build general election support, Obama on Monday planned to hold a town hall meeting on the economy in Troy, Mich.

Clinton, meanwhile, said she was still contemplating whether to challenge the decision by the Democratic Party's rules committee to split the Michigan delegates 69-59 in her favor. Each delegate would have a half vote. The agreement granted Obama 55 uncommitted Michigan delegates and four who would have been assigned to Clinton based on the state's results.

McAuliffe Sunday night called the panel's judgment "outrageous."

"People are angry," he said. "This does not unify our party, this crazy, cockamamie thing they came up with in Michigan."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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