Clinton Cuts Wisconsin Visit Short

(CBS)
From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:

KENOSHA, WIS. -- Hillary Clinton descended upon the snowy fields of Wisconsin for her first official campaign visit as she hopes to be competitive here for Tuesday's primary. But Clinton, who was supposed to be in the Badger State through Tuesday morning, has abruptly cut her visit short by one day.

When asked if it affects her chances here she said, "No it shouldn't at all. You've been following me for a long time. In Nevada, for example, I was in and out. This is what happens when you've got the kind of schedules that we are trying to keep up with. I care deeply about what happens here in this election. I'm going to do everything I can and my campaign has been active and on the ground for a long time to get our message across."

Clinton continued her criticism of Barack Obama, claiming he's refusing to debate her in Wisconsin. Clinton had accepted a debate that was scheduled to take place in Wisconsin this weekend but Obama didn't, however the two will debate later in the week in Texas followed by a debate in Ohio on Feb. 26.

"I have to say that I was somewhat surprised that Senator Obama wouldn't debate me. I thought that was going to happen and we accepted early and were very committed to it. I think the fact that he won't debate me says a lot about his campaign frankly. You know doesn't matter how people try to get their information, this is the best way to get information to the people of Wisconsin and he won't participate."

Polls show Clinton to be close to Obama in Wisconsin, but it's clear that by her early departure she intends to focus on Texas on Ohio whose primaries are on March 4th. Clinton continued to deny that she was giving up on Wisconsin.

"Given the press of all the other events going on, Chelsea will be back in the state. Bill was obviously here. We have great surrogates like Wes Clark who are here…I'm really excited to be here," she said adding, "We intend to campaign hard over the next few days."

Clinton was also asked about the current controversy over Florida and Michigan delegates who, at this point, are not allowed to be seated at the Democratic National Convention due to a violation of party rules when both states moved up their primary dates. The Clinton campaign has been trying to overturn this penalty since she won the popular vote in both states.

"The rules provide for a vote at the convention to seat contested delegations. This goes back as long as I've been in politics to the 1940's to my memory and maybe before that," said Clinton.

"There is nothing unusual about this. I know that some of you have only covered the '04 and 2000 campaign which were really kind of anomalies. The nominees were determined early. But that's not the usual pattern. My husband didn't wrap up the nomination in '92 until June, and usually it takes a while to sort all of this out."

Clinton added, "That's why there are rules – Democratic Party rules – that if there are contested delegations, the convention votes on them. Those are the rules."

With the delegate race in flux, Clinton was asked whether she has it in her to continue all the way to the final contest on June 7 in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

"I campaigned with my husband until he wrapped up the nomination in June [1992]. I thought it was fun, we had a good time. I am prepared to go the distance that is what I've always been committed to do and that's what I will do."

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