Clinton Fights On Amid Doubts She Can Win

Sen. Hillary Clinton has loaned her campaign an additional $6.5 million of her own money, superdelegates are switching to her opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, and fundraisers and, even, many aides think she cannot win.

But despite it all, Clinton, D-N.Y., still vowed today to keep fighting.

Following her primary loss in North Carolina, Tuesday, and a squeaker of a win in Indiana, Clinton trails Obama, D-Ill. — perhaps insurmountably — with only six Democratic contests remaining over the next month.

In a hastily arranged campaign stop in West Virginia, Clinton today struggled to justify continuing her campaign in the face of the long odds.


"It's still early," she said, noting that, in a winner-take-all primary system, rather than the divided delegate system the Democratic Party uses in primaries, her wins in big states would have put her out front.

"If we had the rules the Republicans had, I'd already be the nominee," she said.

But under the Democratic primary rules, Clinton trails Obama by more than 160 delegates, according to ABC News estimates.

On Thursday, Clinton visits South Dakota, which, along with Montana, will wrap up the Democratic primary season on June 3. Between now and then, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon and Puerto Rico also hold primaries.


South Dakota is the home state of George McGovern — whose 1972 campaign was Clinton's first job in politics. McGovern endorsed Clinton last year — but today, he switched to Obama.

"I don't think that she can mathematically catch up now with enough delegates to win the nomination," McGovern said.

"One thing I want to avoid is what happened to me 36 years ago," he said. "Even after it became clear that I was going to become the nominee of the party, a desperate effort was made within the party candidates to deny me that nomination, and they carried it all the way to the convention floor.

"I don't want to see us Democrats forfeit a chance to change the direction of the country by wounding the candidate that eventually is going to be the nominee," McGovern added, "and that's what happened to me in 1972."

Trying to prevent further defections, Clinton today furtively met with superdelegates on Capitol Hill. She proposed an unlikely path to the nomination that involved:

winning four out of the last six Democratic contests,

successfully pushing the party to recognize delegates from disputed contests in Michigan and Florida against party rules,

and winning the support of a vast majority of the remaining uncommitted 250 or so superdelegates, who have been breaking for Obama overwhelmingly.

Even then, she is likely to trail Obama in delegates.

"I think, effectively, the race is over," Democratic strategist Tad Devine told ABC News. "You can concoct any scenario you want, but the bottom line is this: If you don't have the delegates, you don't win — period."

That's not to say Clinton lacks supporters hanging in there with her.

"Those voices that she represents need to be heard, as well," said Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif. "And it is not time for her to throw the towel in and back off. That's what they always expect from women."

Today, Clinton seemed to gain some high-profile support for staying in the race from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who, in the past, expressed a desire to have a clear nominee by the end of the primary season.

"I believe the races must continue, [that] the people should all have an opportunity to speak as long as two candidates wish to compete in those primaries and caucuses, and that in a few weeks, we will be on our way to nominating the next president of the United States," she said.

But can Clinton actually win?

"You never know in elections," Pelosi said. "As long as a campaign is going and the candidates are in the race, there is always a possibility."

But if Clinton intends to keep running, Democratic officials are urging her privately to at least tone down her campaign's rhetoric against Obama, whom most now expect will be the nominee.

ABC News' Dean Norland contributed to this report.