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Hillary Clinton speaks at BankUnited Center

POSTED MAY 22 AT 2:08 A.M.

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop at the University of Miami Wednesday after splitting Tuesday’s primaries in Oregon and Kentucky, winning the latter by more than a 2-1 margin.

Photo Credit: HILLARYCLINTON.COM

Photo Credit: HILLARYCLINTON.COM

Hosted at the BankUnited Center, the rally came just 10 days before the Democratic National Committee will decide if it will seat Florida’s delegates at the party’s national convention in August. The event was called “Solutions for America,” but Clinton’s ideas for education, healthcare and the economy took a backseat to her fight for the nomination.

“After [Tuesday] night, after my very big win in Kentucky, I have added to my vote total,” she said. She added, including the Florida and Michigan votes, “More people have voted for me than they have for my opponent.”

Clinton drew on memories from the 2000 election ballot controversy in Florida to encourage supporters to fight for their “votes to count.” The DNC stripped Florida, along with Michigan, of the right to seat delegates at the Denver convention in August because the states moved the dates of their primaries to before the Feb. 5 “Super Tuesday.”

The New York senator, who won Florida, wants the state to be counted so she can close the gap in the delegate count between her and Sen. Barack Obama.

“We cannot have a nominee who only represents 48 out of 50 states,” she said. “It is clear to me that the voters of Florida not only should have their votes counted so your choice for president is recognized, but [because]we want to win Florida in the fall.”

Leading up to the Florida and Michigan primaries, Clinton and Obama agreed to the party’s decision by not campaigning in the state.

Clinton said she is also putting up a fight for future contests, all the way through the Montana and South Dakota primaries on June 3.

“What separates [Obama and I] are less than 200 delegates out of 4,400,” she said. “Neither one of us will have the necessary delegates to get the nomination at the end of this process. That’s why it’s so important that we continue these elections.”

Ross Green, a junior who attended Wednesday’s event, said he felt like he was watching the “last nail in the coffin of Hillary’s nomination bid being hammered home.” But still, he said he admired her determination.

“She’s a fighter, she’s tough,” he said. “I think that for her to just roll over and let Obama have the nomination would be unbecoming of her.”

University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton, addressed the audience moments before Clinton took the stage. While acknowledging that she and the senator have been friends for over 30 years, she said that UM’s status as a not-for-profit organization means it does not endorse political candidates.

Clinton was last at UM in September, when she and Obama joined other Democratic hopefuls in the first-ever national political debate to be broadcast in Spanish, Univision’s Foro Presedencial Democrata.

Wednesday night’s event was the third of its kind in Florida for Clinton Wednesday, following stops in Boca Raton and Sunrise.

Obama visited Tampa and Kissimmee Wednesday and will speak Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise.

Nick Maslow may be contacted at nick@miami.edu.

May 22, 2008

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Nick Maslow

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