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Clinton Rolls Out New Strategy: Ditches Primary, Moves Toward General Election


From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:

CHARLESTON, W.VA. -- Hillary Clinton brushed off any thoughts that she will be dropping out of the race today, unveiling a newly polished message for voters: forget about the delegate math, because it "may be complicated."

Her new strategy seems to be to divert attention away from the number of delegates she needs to capture the nomination and focus voters attention instead on the electoral votes needed to beat John McCain in November. She's been winning key states necessary to have the electoral votes to beat John McCain, she argues, as well as picking up important groups of voters.

"The delegate math may be complicated, but the electoral math is easy," she explained. "We need 270 electoral votes to win in November. It's what we have to have." Clinton went to say she's appealing to a broad cross-section. "I'm winning Catholic voters, Hispanic voters, blue collar voters, and seniors, the kind of people that Senator McCain will be fighting for in the general election. Some call you swing voters, I call you Americans!"

Clinton's message comes just days after squeaking out a victory in Indiana and being trounced in North Carolina. Even though there is mounting pressure and growing speculation that Clinton will drop out of the Democratic contest, she is showing no signs of an impending departure.

"My campaign is winning swing states," Clinton said, pleading with voters. "That's why I am campaigning hard in West Virginia. I know that according to the polls – and I take those with a grain of salt – I'm doing well here, but I want to do really well!"

Clinton knows that any chance she has of staying in the race is pulling off big wins in the remaining primaries. "West Virginia is a test. It's a test for me and Senator Obama because for too long we have let West Virginia slip out of the Democratic column," she said. "No Democratic president has won the White House since 1916 without winning West Virginia."

All signs seem to point to Obama as the eventual Democratic nominee, but so far that has not dissuaded Clinton from campaigning, as she holds events today in West Virginia, South Dakota, and Oregon before the end of the day.