WASHINGTON -- "You know I never give up."
The voters of West Virginia handed a very determined Sen. Hillary Clinton a big victory on Tuesday, and she said she was "more determined than ever to carry out this campaign until everyone has had a chance to make their voices heard."
Meanwhile, on the 11th floor of the Chicago high-rise campaign headquarters of Sen. Barack Obama, the shift is on to the general election campaign mode -- no matter the expected thumping Obama got in West Virginia. Obama was campaigning Tuesday in the key swing state of Missouri and heads to Michigan and Florida, central November battlegrounds.
Due diligence, of course, is being given to the four states and Puerto Rico still left to vote in the primary. Michelle Obama was dispatched to Puerto Rico to stump there today in advance of a June 1 vote, catching up to Chelsea Clinton, already on the island.
Clinton Tuesday night methodically ran through the reasons she should stay in the race, even as she noted most of the media and many influential pundits -- who can add -- have declared Obama the all-but-certain Democratic presidential nominee.
Grit, she's got. Numbers, she don't.
But neither does Obama, though he is very close. Quitting while she is on a roll -- don't count on it. As her spokesman, Howard Wolfson, told CNN, "No one in the history of American politics drops out after a 30 point win."
Her speech spoke to her transformation to a blue-collar champion of nurses, waitresses, farmers, coal miners, truckers, soldiers, vets or college students -- not a hedge fund trader in the state, apparently.
Clinton's options remain narrow. Obama is acting like the winner, even if he is not, yet. Perception in politics is important and Obama is being crowned the nominee. That will make it less likely the Democratic National Committee rules and bylaws committee will give Clinton a favorable ruling in the seating of disputed Michigan and Florida delegates if it means denying Obama the nomination.
Running this out a few more weeks is not destructive to the Democratic Party. Anyway, Clinton has made it clear -- or clearer -- she'll fight until she loses. She wants Obama to have to win the remaining delegates he needs and not have them handed to him. If the 200 plus undeclared superdelegates just make a choice -- in public -- this race will be wrapped up soon. It's in their hands. Not hers.