From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:
RAPID CITY, S.D. -- During an outdoor rally in the heart of town, Hillary Clinton told a large crowd of supporters that she's grown used to no longer being the top dog in the race and that the "underdog" status has suited her well.
"I'm here asking for your support. I'm the underdog in South Dakota, I've gotten used to that role," Clinton said. "But as this election has gone on I've gotten stronger and stronger and since February 20th. I've won more contests, won more votes, won more delegates and one of the reasons why I want your support on Tuesday is because I want you to help pick the nominee of the Democratic Party and I believe that if South Dakotans come out to vote for me that will be further evidence that I am the stronger candidate to take on John McCain."
This isn't the first time that Clinton has touted her underdog status. Most recently, she used the line in North Carolina, but the argument was lost on voters there, who delivered her opponent a double-digit victory.
Clinton and her staff have been using a new argument to try to persuade voters and, perhaps, superdelegates, to support her candidacy and that is that she is the candidate who has won more votes, more delegates, and more contests since February 20th. But the argument holds little water, since prior to that date Clinton had neither won the popular vote, nor more delegates, or contests. In fact, following Super Tuesday on February 5th, Clinton had her worst weeks on the campaign, losing 11 contests in a row.
Today, Clinton does lead in the popular vote tally, assuming you count the votes she received in Michigan and Florida, and she looks to widen that lead with a big win in Puerto Rico on Sunday. Some argue that winning the popular vote will give Clinton a strong argument in trying to persuade the remaining uncommitted super delegates.
Also at the campaign rally, Clinton made mention of the new book written by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, a book that has been critical of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq. "Today, the news is filled with stories about a book that was published by the former press secretary of President Bush and in this book this young man essentially apologizes for having been part of misleading America for three years," she said. "He talks about how difficult it was that our president and those working with him didn't either level with the American people or didn't change course when circumstance demanded it. There isn't any doubt that President Bush has misled us, the question now is, what kind of president do we need going forward?"
Clinton went on to say that a vote for John McCain "promises more of the same in the economy and more of the same in Iraq."