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Democrats Follow Different 'Day After' Playbooks

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Now the day after for the Democratic presidential candidates. Yesterday, Hillary Clinton narrowly won the Indiana primary and she lost big to Barack Obama in North Carolina. Today Clinton was out to prove that the Democratic race is not over. In a few minutes, we'll ask Senator Clinton's chief spokesman how the campaign plans to stay viable against some tough odds. First, to our reporters covering the race.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

We're joined now by NPR's David Greene, who is traveling with the Clinton campaign in West Virginia today, and by NPR's Don Gonyea, who's been covering the Obama campaign. He joins us from Chicago.

Welcome to you both.

DAVID GREENE: Hi, Melissa.

DON GONYEA: Hi to both of you guys.

BLOCK: And David, let's start with you first. What was Senator Clinton doing in West Virginia today?

GREENE: Well, she wasn't supposed to be doing anything. We got back from Indiana early, early this morning, and she was supposed to have a down day, but then her campaign, before all the reporters went to sleep, said she's getting up early and we're heading out to West Virginia. And she gave a speech in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, on a gorgeous sunny day, and then came and spoke to reporters. And that's basically the message she said: she's still in this and she thinks people should keep paying attention to this race between her and Barack Obama. Here's a little of what Hillary Clinton said.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democratic, New York): What matters is what strengths you have going into the general election, who you're going to be able to bring to your side, what the electoral map will look like. Look, if we had the rules that the Republicans have, I'd already be the nominee.

GREENE: So Hillary Clinton basically saying there's a lot to still fight for, for her campaign. And Melissa, we also learned today that she has loaned herself more than $6 million, which her campaign says is another signal that she is in this and in this fight; also of course a signal that she has some catching up to do when it comes to the money games against Barack Obama.

BLOCK: And at the same time, David, she comes out of Indiana with a far narrower margin than they would have hoped.

GREENE: That's right. And the way they are talking about those races last night, they're saying that they really caught up in North Carolina. They were down by some 25 points and made that a closer race, and that Barack Obama was the favorite early on in Indiana and they were able to beat him. But the argument from the Clinton camp is that it was a good night, even though she lost one of two and only won Indiana by a bit.

BLOCK: Let's turn to Don Gonyea now. And Don, as we mentioned, a down day for Barack Obama, no campaign events scheduled. What's the plan for him?

DON GONYEA: On Friday he's off to Oregon for two days of events there, and that primary in Oregon isn't until May 20th. He's not going to be spending a lot time in West Virginia, which holds its primary next Tuesday. Again, the point there being they don't want Hillary Clinton to be able to set up West Virginia as the next big showdown state. The Obama campaign says it will compete there, but West Virginia's coming up, Oregon is important, and they'll be in all these places.

BLOCK: Don, you mentioned wooing the superdelegates, and there has been some movement in the superdelegates today.

GONYEA: The Obama campaign has announced four more superdelegates have come out in support of him. And they fully expect that they are going to be able to nail down this nomination perhaps in the next couple of weeks.

BLOCK: And David Greene, the Hillary Clinton campaign has picked up one more superdelegate, Heath Shuler, congressman from North Carolina. What are they saying about the superdelegate fight and how they might convince superdelegates to come on board?

GREENE: Their argument really seems to be coming into focus, Melissa. And Hillary Clinton is sitting down with some undecided superdelegates today, and their message is electability. Hillary Clinton is going to be telling these superdelegates, look, she is not doing well among African-Americans. Barack Obama is winning those voters, but those are voters that will come to the Democratic side no matter who the nominee is in the fall. The voters Hillary Clinton is picking up, white working class, less affluent voters, the kinds of people who might vote Republican and go for a candidate like John McCain, she's the candidate who could hold on to those voters in the fall; that's why they should keep giving her a look. And we'll see if superdelegates respond to what amounts to a plea for patience from her.

BLOCK: Okay. David and Don, thanks so much.

GONYEA: All right, you're welcome.

GREENE: Thank you, Melissa.

BLOCK: That's David Greene covering the Clinton campaign and Don Gonyea covering the Obama campaign. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Melissa Block
As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.
Don Gonyea
You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.
David Greene
David Greene is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author. He is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio news program in the United States, and also of NPR's popular morning news podcast, Up First.