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Obama "Confident" Dems "Will Be United" Regardless of Primary Outcome

(CBS)
From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

STATE COLLEGE, PA. -- Barack Obama dismissed concerns today that the lengthy Democratic primary will divide the party and ensure a Republican win in November.

"I am absolutely confident that when this primary season is all over, Democrats will be united because we understand what's at stake in this election," Obama told a crowd of over 20,000 at Penn State University.

While campaigning in the state, Obama has expressed his support for Hillary Clinton's right to remain in the contest as long as she chooses to do so. Although he said he understands the frustration that the primary season has caused, Obama argued that the contest has generated greater interest in the political process. However, despite his optimistic view, Obama continued to argue that he is the better candidate to win in a general election.

"Do we want to debate John McCain with somebody who agreed with him on the war in Iraq or debate him with somebody who had the courage to stand up and say this is a bad idea?," Obama asked.

"Do you want to debate John McCain about who's been in Washington longer, that's a debate that John McCain will win. Or do you want to debate John McCain about who's actually going to bring about change in Washington because that's a debate we will win."

Obama was quick to portray John McCain has an extension of the Bush administration, accusing him of "clinging to the past" and of "running for George Bush's third term."

"John McCain has suggested that we might leave our troops in Iraq for a couple of hundred years," Obama said. "John McCain has suggested that he will continue the same Bush economic policies that got us into this fix right now. John McCain is clinging to the past. He is running for George Bush's third term."

Both the Republican Party and the McCain campaign fired back, accusing Obama of distorting McCain's Iraq policy and making a "cynical" attempt to unite the Democrats.

"Barack Obama's dishonest attacks are a cynical attempt to unite liberals, and completely ignores John McCain's strong support among conservative Democrats and independents," Alex Conant, RNC spokesman, said.