Hillary Clinton celebrated victory in the Kentucky Democratic primary yesterday evening, declaring that she will continue to go “toe to toe” with rival Barack Obama in the battle to claim the White House in November.
Obama, projected to take the Oregon primary also held on Tuesday, spoke on his win from Iowa, the site of his first victory in the Democratic contests.
“I am so grateful for this victory and I am so appreciative because tonight I am thinking about why we are all here, and it’s not just to win a primary or even just to win an election,” Clinton said at her victory rally in Kentucky.
“What propels us is the struggle to realise America’s promise, a nation where every child can achieve his or her god given potential, where every man or woman has a fair chance, where we fulfill the ideals our founders pledged their lives to defend and our nation was born to uphold.”
Clinton took a moment at the beginning of her speech to recognise the work of fellow Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, who was taken to the hospital this weekend following a seizure and has since been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour.
In his victory speech from Iowa, the first state he carried in the Democratic presidential nomination race, Obama also spoke of Kennedy’s legacy and vowed to stand by him in his struggle to recover.
“You know, there is a spirit that brought us here tonight. A spirit of change and hope and possibility. And there are few people in this country who embody that spirit more than our friend and our champion, Senator Edward Kennedy,” Obama said.
“He has spent his life in service to this country, not for the sake of glory or recognition but because he cares, deeply, in his gut, about the causes of justice and equality and opportunity.”
“So may of us here have benefited in some way or another because of the battles he’s waged and some of us are here because of them,” Obama continued. “We know he’s not well right now, but we also know he’s a fighter.
“And as he takes on this fight, let us lift his spirits tonight by letting Ted Kennedy know that we are thinking of him, that we are praying for him, that we are standing with him… and we will be fighting with him every step of the way.”
During her speech, Clinton spoke out once again against those who are calling for her to drop out of the Presidential race to clear the way for Barack Obama to take the Democratic nomination.
“Tonight we have achieved an important victory. It’s not just Kentucky bluegrass that’s music to my ears, it’s the sound of your overwhelming vote of confidence even in the face of some pretty tough odds,” Clinton stated.
“Some have said that your votes didn’t matter, that this campaign was over, that allowing everyone to vote and every vote to count would somehow be a mistake. But that didn’t stop you. You’ve never given up on me because you know I’ll never give up on you.”
Obama also thanked his supporters for sticking with his cause back when many predicted his chances to become President of the United States were slim.
“Fifteen months ago, in the depths of winter, it was in this great state where we took the first steps of an unlikely journey to change America,” Obama said in his speech from Iowa.
“The sceptics predicted we wouldn’t get very far. The cynics dismissed us as a lot of hype and a little too much hope. And by the fall, the pundits in Washington had all but counted us out. But the people of Iowa had a different idea.”
“From the very beginning, you knew that this journey wasn’t about me or any of the other candidates in this race.” Obama continued. “It was about whether this country at this defining moment will continue down the same road that has failed us for so long, or whether we will seize this opportunity to take a different path, to forge a different future for this country that we love.”
“This is one of the closest races for a party’s nomination in modern history,” Clinton said, speaking from Kentucy.
“We’re winning the popular vote and I’m more determined than ever to see that every vote is cast and every ballot counted. I commend Senator Obama and his supporters and while we continue to go toe to toe for this nomination, we do see eye to eye when it comes to uniting our party to elect a Democratic President in the fall.”
While not yet declaring a full victory over Clinton, Barack Obama said in a statement emailed to his supporters that his campaign has “reached a major milestone” in the battle for the Democratic Presidential nomination as a result of yesterday’s contests in Kentucky and Oregon.
“We still have work to do in the remaining states, where we will compete for every delegate available. But tonight, I want to thank you for everything you have done to take us this far—farther than anyone predicted, expected, or even believed possible.
“Too many of us have been disappointed by politics and politicans more times than you can count.
“We’ve seen promises broken and good ideas drowned in a sea of influence, point-scoring, and petty bickering that has consumed Washington. Yet, in spite of all the doubt and disappointment—or perhaps because of it—people have stood for change.”
In the statement to his supporters, Obama attacked his possible future opponent, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, saying that “our opponents in the other party continue to embrace yesterday’s policies and they will continue to employ yesterday’s tactics—they will try to change the subject, and they will play on fears and divisions to distract us from what matters to you and your future. But those tactics will not work in this election. They won’t work because you won’t let let them. Not this time. Not this year.”
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