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Asides

PR to Clinton / Obama close to nomination

Reuters

By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nominating contest in Puerto Rico on Sunday, but still badly trails front-runner Barack Obama as he draws closer to clinching the party’s presidential nomination.

Clinton’s win in Puerto Rico, a territory where residents are not allowed to vote in the November election, gave her more fuel for her argument that she has won more popular votes and is the best Democrat to face Republican John McCain.

But the results pushed Obama closer to the magic number of 2,118 delegates needed to become the nominee, and the Illinois senator already has turned his attention to a general election fight with McCain.

Two contests on Tuesday in Montana and South Dakota, with 31 pledged delegates to the August nominating convention at stake, conclude the voting in the Democratic presidential race.

Clinton had campaigned heavily in Puerto Rico, a Caribbean island with 55 delegates at stake on Sunday. Obama visited there for one day last week.

With a portion of the Puerto Rico delegates allocated, Obama is about 50 delegates shy of securing the nomination. He probably will be short on Tuesday, but could reach the total quickly with help from some of the approximately 180 uncommitted superdelegates — party officials who can back any candidate.

Obama picked up endorsements from at least two more superdelegates on Sunday.

With barely more than one-quarter of the vote counted, Clinton led Obama by 2-to-1. Obama, who called Clinton to congratulate her, looked past the New York senator to focus on her role in his general-election race against McCain.  Link to complete story ..

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