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Clinton the Spoiler

Clinton Running Hard in Campaign’s Last Laps

By PATRICK HEALY

Published: May 13, 2008

Forget the calls for her to quit the presidential race: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is determined to rack up two big primary victories in the next eight days — in West Virginia and Kentucky — as she seeks to prove her continued political viability and claim bargaining chips that might help her exit the race on her terms, her advisers say.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton chatting on Monday with Evelyn Keener at Tudor’s Biscuit World in Charleston, W.Va.  It is a risky proposition. Mrs. Clinton is behind Senator Barack Obama in both the national popular vote and the delegate count, and she could appear to be a spoiler if she damages his candidacy in those two closely fought states, her advisers acknowledge.

But she and her chief political counselor, her husband, see the two coming primaries as crucial to strengthening her standing and, if it comes to it, to allowing her to leave the race on a high note, the advisers say.

Sizable victories — the Clinton camp believes it could win West Virginia by 25 points or more — might put pressure on Mr. Obama to agree to her demands to seat the disputed delegates from Michigan and Florida, some of her advisers say, which would let her claim a victory on a battle she has fought for months. Accumulating victories this late in the primary season — as Mr. Obama looks so strong — might also bolster a bid for the vice presidency, should she decide to seek it. (Whether Mr. Obama would ask her, however, is very much in doubt.) Link to New York Time article>>

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