"We worked so hard in Pennsylvania against some pretty tough odds, and to have a 10 percent win under the circumstances was just an amazing experience for me and for all of the people who worked so hard to make that happen," Clinton told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith Wednesday morning.
In a round of morning television interviews, Clinton argued that her feisty act of political survival, defeatingin Pennsylvania, confirms her contention that she would be the stronger challenger against Republican because she has shown she can win in big, swing states.
"At the end of the day, people have to decide who they think would be not only the best president, which is the most important question, but who would be the better candidate against Senator McCain. And I think the coalition that I've put together, as demonstrated once again last night, is a very strong base for us to beat Senator McCain," Clinton told NBC's "Today."
The New York senator also said she wants to schedule new debates before the May 6 contests in North Carolina, where the flush-with-money Obama is favored; and Indiana, where the two are close.
With nearly all of the votes counted, the former first lady led Obama 55 percent to 45 percent. CBS News estimates that Clinton won 82 delegates in the Keystone State while Obama won 73, with 3 delegates still unallocated. Obama now has an overall lead of 130 delegates.
"Some counted me out and said to drop out," the former first lady told supporters cheering her triumph in a state where she was outspent by more than two-to-one. "But the American people don't quit. And they deserve a president who doesn't quit, either."
"Because of you, the tide is turning." (
Her victory, while comfortable, set up another critical test in two weeks time in Indiana. North Carolina votes the same day, and Obama already is the clear favorite in a Southern state with a large black population.
"Now it's up to you Indiana," Obama said at a rally of his own in Evansville after Pennsylvania denied him a victory that might have made the nomination his. (
Obama criticized, the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting, by name, saying he offers more of the same policies advocated by President Bush. He took aim at Clinton without mentioning her by name. "We can calculate and poll-test our positions and tell everyone exactly what they want to hear," he said. "Or we can be the party that doesn't just focus on how to win, but why we should."
Clinton scored her victory by winning the votes of blue-collar workers, women and white men in an election where the economy was the dominant concern.
She won despite being outspent heavily by her rival in a six-week campaign that allowed time for intense courtship of the voters.
"Hillary Clinton did what she needed to do in order to continue her campaign into North Carolina and Indiana two weeks from now, perhaps through the end of the primary process in June and potentially all the way to the Democratic convention in August," said CBSNews.com senior political editor Vaughn Ververs. "She almost certainly muted any calls for her to exit the race." (to read Ververs' complete analysis).
The win gave Clinton a strong record in the big states as she attempts to persuade convention superdelegates to look past Obama's delegate advantage and his lead in the popular vote in picking a nominee. She had previously won primaries in Texas, California, Ohio and her home state of New York, while Obama won his home state of Illinois.
At the same time, even some of her aides conceded she is facing another likely must-win state in Indiana in two weeks time, particularly with Obama favored to carry North Carolina on the same day.
CBS News exit polls show that most Pennsylvania Democrats made up their minds a long time ago, while only 24 percent decided within the last week.
But voters who made late decisions broke to Clinton, with those deciding in the last week supporting the New York senator 58 percent to 42 percent. (See all exit poll data.)
New Democratic voters, who either switched from another party or registered as a Democrat for the first time, strongly backed Obama at a rate of 62 percent to 38 percent.
Women made up 59 percent of Pennsylvania Democratic voters, and they voted for Clinton over Obama 57 percent to 43 percent. Obama won a majority of men (53 percent).
Clinton won the support of 62 percent of white voters, while Obama was the overwhelming choice of black voters (92 percent). Clinton won the crucial demographic of white men, garnering 56 percent of their vote.