Perhaps the analogy was inevitable: Hillary Rodham Clinton as Rocky Balboa, the scrappy underdog boxer from Philadelphia memorably depicted in the 1976 Oscar-winning film. Even if Rocky did lose his first big fight.
Addressing a meeting of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Tuesday, the former first lady and New York senator said that she, like Rocky, wasn't a quitter.
Recalling a famous scene on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Clinton said that ending her presidential campaign now would be as if "Rocky Balboa had gotten halfway up those art museum steps and said, 'Well, I guess that's about far enough.'"
"Let me tell you something, when it comes to finishing a fight, Rocky and I have a lot in common. I never quit. I never give up. And neither do the American people," Clinton said.
She promised the labor group that as president, she would create 3 million new jobs through investments in public infrastructure like roads and bridges.
Clinton also warned that Democrats won't have an easy time against Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain in the general election, and implied that her rival for the nomination, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, may not be up to the task.
"The Republicans aren't going to give up without a fight," Clinton said. "And no matter how beautiful your rhetoric, the Republicans aren't going to turn off their attack machine — it doesn't have an off-switch."
"But one thing you know about me is that when I say I'll fight for you, I'll fight for you," she said. "I know what it's like to stumble. I know what it means to get knocked down. But I've never stayed down, and I never will."
In recent days, Clinton has made an issue of calls from some leading Democrats for her to abandon the race. Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, a prominent Obama backer, last week called on her to step aside, arguing that she was never going to win enough delegates and suggesting that she should bow out in "the interests of a Democratic victory in November."
"Now, this is one of the most important elections we've ever had," Clinton said Tuesday. "There is so much at stake. But just as it's getting time to vote here in Pennsylvania, Senator Obama says he's getting tired of it. His supporters say they want it to end."
Obama disputed that notion in an interview Tuesday.
"You know we had one supporter, Pat Leahy, say something and they've been, you know, working that pretty hard for the last week now," Obama told Pittsburgh radio station KDKA. "I've said for the last three days that I think that Senator Clinton should stay in the race as long as she wants. ... She has every right to compete and I'm looking forward to competing against her."