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Clinton says she's not ready for 'political obituary'

  • Story Highlights
  • Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama campaign before Montana, South Dakota showdowns
  • Obama leads in delegates; Clinton says superdelegates can "change their minds"
  • Clinton predicts win in popular vote, that neither candidate will snare 2,118 delegates
  • Obama: Clinton is "going to be a great asset when we go into November"
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From Sasha Johnson
CNN
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(CNN) -- Hillary Clinton said she will take the race for the Democratic presidential nomination "a day at a time" and is reviewing all options as she moves forward in her campaign.

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Hillary Clinton won the Puerto Rico primary and says she will win the popular vote for her party's nomination.

"People have been trying to get me out of this race since Iowa and my political obituary has yet to be written and we're going forward," she told reporters Sunday before leaving Puerto Rico, where she snared 68 percent of the vote to win the majority of the delegates in the Caribbean U.S. territory.

After Tuesday's primaries in Montana and South Dakota -- the party's last contests -- superdelegates will push either Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama to the 2,118 delegates needed to secure the party's nomination.

Barack Obama leads among superdelegates -- 321 to 291, according to a CNN tally.

But Clinton pointed out superdelegates are free to "change their minds" and she hopes they will evaluate her wins since February and the coalition of voters she's pulled together.

"This has been such an intense process, I don't think there has been a lot of time for reflection of the sort that I'm advocating, which is OK," she said aboard her campaign plane after leaving Puerto Rico.

"We've had an extraordinary series of contests. I'm ahead in the popular vote; Senator Obama is ahead in the delegates. They've never been separated before." Video Watch Clinton outline her optimism »

Obama leads Clinton in overall delegates 2,070 to 1,915, according to CNN calculations.

"I think it's only now that we're finishing these contests that people are going to actually reflect. Who's our stronger candidate? And I believe I am and I'm going to make that case. And at some point it will either be accepted or it won't be, but I feel strongly about making it." See what's next for Clinton »

Despite Clinton's assertion that neither she nor Obama will have the necessary 2,118 delegates after Tuesday's showdown, the Obama camp expressed confidence that its candidate will clinch the nomination.

"If not Tuesday, I think it will be fairly soon," Obama campaign spokesman Robert Gibbs told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "We hope this week, absolutely."

At a campaign stop in Mitchell, South Dakota, Obama congratulated Clinton for her win in Puerto Rico and praised her for being an "outstanding public servant."

"She is going to be a great asset when we go into November to make sure that we defeat the Republicans," he said.

In its popular vote tally, the Clinton campaign includes the Michigan contest but does not award any uncommitted votes to Obama whose name was not on the ballot. Video Watch Obama vow the party will come together after the primary »

But the popular vote count is debatable.

If all the primary results including Florida and Michigan are counted, but not the caucus votes, Clinton leads in the popular vote 17,461,845 to Obama's 17,244,762, according to CNN estimates.

That number includes giving Obama all the "uncommitted" votes from Michigan.

Florida and Michigan were stripped of their delegates for scheduling their primaries too early. Clinton won both states, but Obama's name was not on the ballot in Michigan.

The Democratic National Committee decided Saturday to reinstate all of Florida and Michigan's delegates to the national convention, with each delegate getting a half-vote to penalize the states for holding their primaries earlier than party rules allowed.

The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee's move gave Clinton 87 delegates and Obama 63.

In a second scenario, which adds CNN's estimate of the caucus-goers, Obama leads Clinton 17,928,000 to 17,843,000.

And in a third scenario, which includes all of the caucuses but does not give Obama the "uncommitted" vote in Michigan, Clinton leads 17,873,000 to 17,703,000.

Clinton reiterated she "reserves the right" to challenge the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee's allocation of Michigan delegates -- a decision she said was made in "violation of the rules." She called the half-vote penalty leveled against Florida's delegation "unwarranted under the circumstances."

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When asked if she was concerned Obama could reach the 2,118 delegate mark within days, Clinton said, "It's not over until the votes are cast. It's not over until there's actually a tally that gets somebody the nomination."

Clinton said she was "thrilled" by her win in Puerto Rico. Her campaign plane stopped in Jacksonville, Florida, late Sunday evening after leaving the island to refuel en route to South Dakota where she will campaign all day Monday.

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