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Clinton suggests she'll stay in race after Tuesday

Clinton 2008
Presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y, says she believes she'll do well in the Mar. 4 contests and looks ahead to Pennsylvania on Apr. 22.Carolyn Kaster / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton suggested Monday she'll press on with the campaign after Tuesday's crucial primaries, arguing that momentum is on her side despite 11 straight losses to rival Sen. Barack Obama.

"I'm just getting warmed up," Clinton told reporters, looking ahead to a busy day of campaign events in Ohio and Texas where polls show a close race ahead of Tuesday's primaries.

Clinton's husband, former President Clinton, has asserted that his wife must win both Texas and Ohio to keep her campaign alive. On Friday, Hillary Clinton's advisers recast the stakes, saying if Obama lost any of the four presidential primaries Tuesday — Rhode Island and Vermont also vote — it would show Democrats are having second thoughts about him.

Hillary Clinton predicted success on Tuesday and looked ahead to the next big contest — Pennsylvania on April 22.

"I think I know what's happening and I believe I'm going to do very well tomorrow," she said. "I think that's going to be a very significant message to the country, and then we move on to Pennsylvania and the states coming up."

Clinton and Obama have been waging a tough and competitive race for the party's nomination, but Obama has seized the momentum, reeling off 11 straight wins in primaries and caucuses since Super Tuesday on Feb. 5. Superdelegates, the party's elected leaders and senior officials, also have been moving toward his candidacy.

As for Tuesday, Clinton said, "Obviously it's within the margin of error in both the popular vote and the delegate count. Ohio is the key to winning the presidency and I'm excited about tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it."

Speaking with reporters on her campaign plane, Clinton argued that the competitive primary contest would be good for the party heading into the November elections, a view at odds with some in the party who fear a lengthy, divisive nomination fight would weaken the Democratic candidate.

"Hard-fought primary contests are a part of American politics," said Clinton. "We're going to have a hard-fought contest, we're going to have a unified Democratic Party, we're going to get behind whoever our nominee is and we're going to win in November."

Lacking from Clinton's comments was the traditional confident assurance of victory.

"I intend to do as well as I can on Tuesday and we'll see what happens after that," she said.

With John McCain as the Republican nominee in waiting, Clinton said she's going to focus on national security, because the former prisoner of war is certain to make that the core issue of the fall campaign.

"This is a wartime election, which Democrats haven't talked enough about in my opinion," said Clinton.

Clinton planned a town hall meeting in Texas later Monday, and had bought television time to broadcast it across the state. She was returning to Ohio on Tuesday to await election returns, but planned to fly out of Ohio after those returns were final.