Expecting Big Win in W.Va., Clinton Fights On

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., is expected to win Tuesday's West Virginia primary by a landslide.

But because she's still trailing Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., by nearly 200 delegates, even a big win may do little to revive her chances of securing the party's nomination.

Long Odds But Clinton Fights On

Clinton shows no sign of giving up despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, calling the state a "crucial turning point." She and former President Clinton have made 29 campaign stops in West Virginia; Obama has made three.

In a new video for her die-hard fans, a subdued Clinton shares her appreciation: "Well, we couldn't have competed without your help, and really without your sustaining friendship and support."


Her tone is strikingly different from that cheery first message announcing her run, in which she said, "Let's talk, let's chat, let's start a dialogue."

Clinton could be staying in the race to get the vice presidency on the Obama ticket, some political observers say.

A new poll shows that 39 percent of Democrats want Clinton to be the vice presidential nominee, but ABC News' George Stephanopoulos reports that "there has been no discussion between the candidates about it [the vice presidency] at all."

Paula Shrobak, a school teacher, said a win in West Virginia might help Clinton secure the number two spot on the ticket.

"She has to go the long haul. She has to show she can get these last few states so that possibly as a vice presidential candidate she would be valuable," Shrobak said.

Loyal Clinton supporters such as Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., have even started to hint at it, according to Stephanopoulos, who added that the "Obama team may be worried that picking Clinton could undermine their message of change."

Race and the Race in West Virginia

Late Monday night in Fairmont, W.Va., Clinton made an impassioned plea to a rally of supporters, saying, "Let's show the world that West Virginia knows what kind of president we need."

For now, West Virginians, 96 percent of them white, seem determined to keep fighting alongside her.

"I don't care what the exit polls say," one female supporter said. "I don't care what the other politicians say, strategists say. I just, I want her to win and I'm gonna work for her until the end."

Janice Morgan said she still believes Clinton can win the White House.

"I still think she'll just come out. I think she'll carry West Virginia and especially if they go back and count Florida and those (other states) that will bring her up."

Morgan also said she doesn't like Obama's background. She is under the mistaken impression that Obama is a Muslim and does not believe his statements to the contrary.

"He's a Muslim you know and that has a lot to do with it. I'd just rather have Hillary."

Indeed, a nationwide poll in April 2007 showed that 15 percent of Americans still erroneously thought Obama was a Muslim. Sen. Obama is a practicing Christian.

Stephanopoulos said that the "the Obama campaign knows they have work to do to clean up the primaries" and to reach out to voters like those in West Virginia. He pointed out that Obama wore a flag pin in the state Monday.

"They have to address these perceptions that he's Muslim and not patriotic," Stephanopoulos said. "He's also going on a tour. He'll be in Missouri, an area that Sen. Clinton won during the primaries. Tomorrow he's going to a McCain country in Michigan. Next week he's spending three full days in Florida, where he's going to campaign across the state, trying to make inroads, especially with Jewish voters who have been slow to support Sen. Obama."

Turning Toward McCain

Stephanopoulos added that the Obama campaign will be playing up the issue of choice with younger independent and Republican women to draw support away from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Both Clinton and Obama are spending Tuesday morning in Washington, D.C.

With so many people wondering about a joint ticket, a lot of eyes will be watching to see whether they cross paths while attending to their Senate duties.

Clinton heads back to West Virginia Tuesday evening, seeking a big victory to stay in the race. Meanwhile, Obama heads straight to Missouri, with his sights clearly set on the general election.