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Clinton Wins W.Va., Insists 'It's Not Over'

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

But right now let's take a look at the results of last night's presidential primary in West Virginia.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

That's where Hillary Clinton won an easy victory. She beat her rival, Barack Obama, by more than two votes to one, and later she spoke with supporters in the state capital, Charleston. Her real audience, though, was undecided superdelegates, those lawmakers and party luminaries who are going to decide the nomination and who are Clinton's last hope of overtaking Obama and winning the nomination.

MONTAGNE: Clinton's campaign is fighting the perception that the race is over, a perception Barack Obama is happy to encourage. He sent his own message last night by speaking in Missouri, a state expected to be a battleground in the fall. We begin our coverage with NPR's David Greene, who's covering Hillary Clinton.

(SOUNDBITE OF CLAPPING)

CROWD: It's not over.

DAVID GREENE: Hillary Clinton's supporters last night sounded like basketball fans. Their team's losing late but they're refusing to give up.

(SOUNDBITE OF CLAPPING)

CROWD: It's not over.

GREENE: It's not over was also the message from Clinton herself.

HILLARY CLINTON: We know from the bible that faith can move mountains.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

CLINTON: And, my friends, the faith of the Mountain State has moved me.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

CLINTON: I am more determined than ever to carry on this campaign.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

GREENE: Clinton beat Obama in West Virginia convincingly, by more than two to one as in other states older, rural, less educated and less affluent white voters turned out for her. Clinton said she had shown strength in a state Democrats need to win in the fall. And she said she hoped the party's undecided superdelegates were listening to her.

CLINTON: I can win this nomination if you decide I should, and I can lead this party to victory in the general election if you lead me to victory now.

GREENE: Clinton remained well behind Obama in both pledged delegates and those free agents known as superdelegates. Yet last night she said she's fighting on, in part because she doesn't want to turn her back on millions of people who voted for her.

CLINTON: Tonight I'm thinking about Florence Steen, from South Dakota. Eighty-eight years old and in failing health, when she asked that her daughter bring an absentee ballot to her hospice bedside.

GREENE: Clinton said Steen was born before women had the right to vote and was determined to cast a ballot for Clinton.

CLINTON: Florence passed on a few days ago, but I am eternally grateful to her and her family for making this such an important and incredible milestone in her life. It means so much to me.

GREENE: In recent days, some prominent Democrats, like former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, have said the delegate math just isn't adding up for Clinton. But meanwhile Clinton supporters have been blaming the media for counting her out. At a fundraiser in New York last weekend, Congressman Charlie Rangel said he's been chatting with a lot of reporters.

CHARLIE RANGEL: And they keep asking me the same basic questions as though they went to a school to say how do we embarrass Hillary Clinton?

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

RANGEL: And they come out with the latest one, is when is she going to quit?

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

RANGEL: And I ask the questions, when in the history of this country, in the world, did winners quit?

GREENE: Unidentified Woman #2: Don't give up, Hillary.

GREENE: David Greene, NPR News, traveling with the Clinton 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.

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.