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Polls point to Clinton win, as rivals blitz Pennsylvania PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 April 2008

AFP, PHILADELPHIA - Hillary Clinton accused Barack Obama of stooping to "desperate" tactics, as polls put her on track for a solid, morale-boosting win in Tuesday's Pennsylvania presidential primary.

Hillary Clinton is leading Barack Obama by 10 points in the latest Suffolk University poll The Democratic rivals launched a frenzied day of last-gasp campaigning across the gritty northeastern state, as Clinton hoped for a big win to breathe fresh life into her uphill comeback bid, while Obama aimed for a knockout.

The New York senator argued in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer that despite trailing Obama in nominating wins and elected delegates, she was still the most likely Democrat to beat Republican John McCain in November.

"He can be elected; I will be elected," Clinton said, and accused Obama of resorting to sharply negative tactics in the final hours of the battle for Pennsylvania, which heralds the end-game of the contentious White House battle.

"I think he's doing what candidates do when they get desperate at the end of an election," Clinton said. "He is now undermining his message. He has spent all this time crossing Pennsylvania talking about how he runs a positive campaign, except when he gets pressed, and he starts throwing ... the 'kitchen sink' at me."

Last minute polls appeared to show that Clinton, who once led in Pennsylvania by 20 points, but had seen the race become close, was again set for a solid win in a state packed with her working class supporters.

She led Obama 52 percent to 42 percent in a Suffolk University survey. A Quinnipiac University poll had her up seven points 51-44 percent, one point up from last week in the same survey. Clinton hopes to win big to sow doubts about Obama's viability in a general election against McCain.

She argues that only she can capture big states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, by wooing socially conservative blue-collar voters that Democrats need to piece together a route back to the White House. Obama was holding rallies in Pittsburgh and outside his Philadelphia stronghold on Monday, while Clinton was headed to Scranton, state capital Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.

She was due to wrap up her state campaign with a rally in Philadelphia late Monday night with former president Bill Clinton. On Sunday, Clinton accused Obama of cheerleading for McCain, after he said the Arizona senator would be a better president than George W. Bush, apparently contradicting Democratic strategy.

Obama's camp meanwhile looked past Tuesday's primary to warn time was running out for the former first lady. The Illinois senator said Clinton was now using on him, the kind of withering attacks that she suffered as first lady in the White House between 1993 and 2001.

"I'm thinking well, you learned the wrong lessons from those Republicans who were going after you in the same ways using the same tactics all those years," Obama was quoted as saying by CBS News. After a 15-month race, neither Democrat is expected to reach the tally of 2,025 nominating delegates to claim the nomination outright.

So Clinton needs to convince nearly 800 superdelegates -- top party officials who can vote how they like at August's party convention -- that it would be too risky to pick the inexperienced Obama to fight McCain in November. McCain meanwhile heralded a possible general election attack on Obama, rebuking the Democrat's links to a 1960s radical whom McCain called an "unrepentant terrorist."

The Arizona senator said he was sure Obama was "very patriotic" but said his relationship with William Ayers, a University of Illinois professor who was once part of the violent Weather Underground group, was "open to question."

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