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Hil "won't back down" ... yet

(Credit: Politirazzi)

(AP)

By Emily Ngo

Her crowd of supporters began to file out even before Sen. Hillary Clinton finished her speech at Baruch College tonight, but they did so with smiles on their faces. They had heard what they came to hear.

“This is a long campaign, and I will be making no decisions tonight,” the New York lawmaker said, indicating she would not concede tonight.

She spoke to cheers as results from the South Dakota and Montana primaries helped rival Sen. Barack Obama to secure the Democratic nomination.

“It’s not over! We’re still in it, baby!” Shouted Marcia Suldolsky, a supporter from Manhattan. Suldolsky admitted the first couple minutes of Clinton’s speech hinted at a concession.

Clinton stressed the extended length of the primary season and her emphasis on universal health care. She even complimented Obama on his success in winning over new voters. But she exited the stage to Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down.”

(continued) “She was terrific as usual,” said supporter Phyllis Herschenfeld, of the Bronx. “She is the qualified candidate. It’s the press that has done a disservice to her.”

Those who agreed with Herschenfeld on Clinton’s qualifications lined up hours before doors opened tonight to catch the speech, one of the first away from the campaign trail.

“I want to hear her continue to fight on,” said David Rosenthal, of the Upper East Side, who arrived nearly five hours before Clinton was scheduled to speak. Others in line wore “Give ‘em Hill” badges and even pink boxing gloves emblazoned with the former first lady’s name.

Obama became the presumptive nominee tonight, while the Clinton campaign claimed she had earned the majority of the popular vote. Campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe said with Montana and South Dakota, Clinton had won more votes than any candidate in presidential primary history.

Still, talk swirled about the possibilities of Clinton being offered and then accepted a vice presidential position on Obama’s ballot.

“If they were put together on a dream ticket, our [Democratic] family would grow,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas. “It would certainly bode well for November 2008.”

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