Obama camp spies endgame in Oregon
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Barack Obama set his sights on November's general
election Saturday as he campaigned in Oregon, where he hopes to declare
victory in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
has said Tuesday's primaries in Oregon and Kentucky could mark the end
of his drawn-out battle with rival Hillary Clinton, and his campaign
pressed home that message by announcing a symbolic return to Iowa that
Iowa was the scene of the Illinois senator's first victory
in the 2008 presidential nominating race, and his campaign noted
Saturday it is "a critical general election state that Democrats must
win in November."
Polls show Obama leading in Oregon, where 52
delegates are up for grabs, while Clinton is ahead in Kentucky, a state
with 51 delegates that has a similar demographic to West Virginia,
where she won a thumping victory Tuesday.
His campaign says he
needs just 17 more pledged delegates won through state votes to reach a
majority of 1,627, not counting the "superdelegates," party officials
who can vote either way at August's Democratic national convention.
a baseball analogy, Obama said May 8 that if after Tuesday's primaries
"we have a majority of pledged delegates, which is possible, then I
think we can make a pretty strong claim that we have got the most runs
and its the ninth inning and we have won."
The official finishing line is 2,025 delegates, including superdelegates.
a rally in Roseburg, Oregon, Saturday, Obama presented himself as the
front-runner almost without question, attacking presumptive Republican
nominee John McCain on foreign policy, the environment and healthcare.
Friday's furious row sparked by President George W. Bush's suggestion
that Democrats wanted to appease terrorists, Obama said that not
talking to North Korea and Iran had only made those states stronger.
"I want everybody to be absolutely clear about this because George Bush
and McCain have suggested that me being willing to sit down with our
adversaries is a sign of weakness and sign of appeasement," he said.
also attacked McCain's plan for a gas tax holiday to cope with rising
pump prices, which Clinton supports, as well as his other environmental
plans, saying the Republican had consistently opposed fuel efficiency
"For him to come to Oregon as an environmental
president, but his big strategy is to do more drilling and to have a
gas tax holiday for three months, that's a phony solution," he said.
his message to Oregon's environmentally-conscious voters, Obama called
on the United States to "lead by example" on global warming, and
develop new technologies at home which could be exported to developing
"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want
and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect
that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said.
"That's not leadership. That's not going to happen," he added.
Illinois senator also argued that the differences between his
healthcare plan and that of Clinton "pale in comparison to the
differences we have with John McCain," whose proposals would only work
"if you're healthy and wealthy."
The escalating rhetoric between
Obama and McCain has evoked the kind of campaign battles more common in
the immediate run-up to an election -- and emphasized further Obama's
pole position in the Democratic race.
But Clinton has vowed to
keep fighting until the end of the primary season on June 3, and
campaigning in Kentucky Saturday, she defended the plan for the gas tax
holiday and accused McCain of having no idea how to fund it.
McCain said let's give everybody a gas tax holiday but doesn't want to
pay for it. I think I've got the best plan. Let the oil companies pay
it out of their excess profits," she said.