Clinton Parties in PR, Acknowledges the Odds

She acknowledges for the first time the odds of her winning the nomination.

ByJAKE TAPPER via via logo
January 8, 2009, 1:47 AM

May 26, 2008— -- Eager to put her controversial remarks about Robert Kennedy's assassination behind her, Sen. Hillary Clinton took off to Puerto Rico this weekend, where she shimmied to Enrique Iglesias, swigged from a bottle of Presidente beer and once again proclaimed her determination to continue her longshot campaign.

But Clinton also acknowledged, for the first time, that the odds of her becoming her party's presidential nominee are stacked against her.

Puerto Ricans might not be able to vote for president this November, but they can turn out on June 1 for the Democratic primary, which Clinton is favored to win. She hopes that a victory there will enable her to argue to superdelegates that she has won a majority of the popular vote.

After that, only two primaries are left. Montana and South Dakota will wrap up the long Democratic primary season June 3, and Democrats are waiting to see whether Clinton presses her campaign beyond the primaries and into the Democrats' August convention.

Clinton acknowledged in a column in the New York Daily News Sunday that her chances are dwindling.

"I am not unaware of the challenges or the odds of my securing the nomination," she wrote.

Nevertheless, she campaigned in Puerto Rico with her usual gusto. She promised she would bring voting rights to the island, saying, "I believe you should have a vote in picking the president too."

On Sunday, however, she seemed to back off that pledge, saying, "All people are entitled to a representative form of government. And all levels of government. The people of Puerto Rico should have the right to determine by a majority vote the status you choose from among all the options."

In South Dakota, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, likewise resisted the idea that his wife concede the race to Sen. Barack Obama and accused the media of being part of a "conspiracy" to push his wife out of contention. Clinton said the media has ignored poll numbers that he claims show Hillary Clinton would run a stronger race against Republican John McCain.

"Don't you think if the polls were the reverse and he were winning the electoral college against Sen. McCain and Hillary was losing it, it would be blasted on every television station in America? You would know it wouldn't you? It wouldn't be a little secret," Clinton told a rally in South Dakota where he was campaigning for his wife.

Obama, who picked up three more superdelegates over the weekend, hopes to wrap up the nomination after next Sunday's primary. Former Pesident Jimmy Carter, who has stayed officially neutral in the race, said he he hopes Clinton doesn't press her campaign beyond the last primary.

"I have not yet announced publicly, but at that point it'll be the time for her to give it up," Carter said over the weekend.

Clinton may have hurt her chances, however, of becoming Obama's running mate by her comment last week that anything could happen and that Robert Kennedy was assassinated during his campaign.

The remark drew gasps from both campaigns. Obama's wife, Michelle, has said publicly she fears that because Obama is black he could be targeted by racists.

Clinton has said she regretted the comment.

"I was making the simple point that given our history, the length of this year's primary contest is nothing unusual," Clinton wrote in the New York Daily News. "But I was deeply dismayed and disturbed that my comment would be construed in a way that flies in the face of everything I stand for -- and for everything I am fighting for in this election."

Nevertheless, ABC News' senior political analysts Matthew Dowd said it could cost her a shot at the veep slot.

"I think it's [the chances] lower than it was," Dowd told "Good Morning America" today. "What you want is loyalty, and I think there's some question, I'm sure, in the Obama campaign how loyal will she be."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events