Clinton Camp to Obama: No Nominee Yet

This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," May 19, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, CO-HOST: Well, meantime, Hillary Clinton is saying, "It is not over until it's over."

Today, Clinton lashing out at Obama, warning him against claiming the nomination after tomorrow night's primaries saying quote, "Well, you can declare yourself anything, but if you don't have the votes, it doesn't matter. And neither of us has the votes. I actually have more votes than Senator Obama does."

Clinton's senior campaign adviser, Maria Cardona, joins us again tonight.

Video: Watch Megyn's interview

Hi, Maria.


KELLY: Thanks for being here. So, I'm sure a lot of our viewers who have been following this election are saying -- what does she mean she has more votes than Barack Obama? Explain that.

CARDONA: Well, the fact of the matter is that up until now, Senator Clinton has received more votes in this Democratic primary process than any other Democratic candidate in history, including Senator Obama.

KELLY: You are talking about popular vote, including Florida and Michigan.

CARDONA: Absolutely, we have to include Florida and Michigan because almost 3 million voters came out and voted in those states even after people said that their votes were not going to count. We cannot go up against Senator McCain in the fall and expect to win the White House without counting Florida and Michigan.

KELLY: OK. So, there was this big dustup between your campaign and Obama's campaign because he was supposedly getting ready to go out after Oregon tomorrow night and essentially declare himself the winner, declare the contest is over. Hillary Clinton, you'd already heard the statement, she said it doesn't make it so.

And then the Obama campaign came out, Maria, and they said -- all right, here's what he's going to do. He's not going to declare himself the nominee but he will say no one can take away his majority of pledged delegates, contests won and lead in the superdelegates, and this, therefore, makes him the very likely nominee.

That's what we expect to hear from him tomorrow. Your reaction to that.

CARDONA: Well, you know, the fact of the matter is that they have to tread lightly because this is not over yet. There are millions of voters whose voices still need to be heard in several contests. She has received more votes than Senator Obama. She has won the biggest states. She has won the most important battleground states: Ohio, Florida, Michigan, West Virginia -- states that we cannot win in November without taking them.

And so, I think that they have to tread very lightly because Senator Clinton, by a lot of incredibly important measures, including the will of the people, is ahead of Senator Obama and that's going to be a very important argument to make.

KELLY: You can't really say she won Florida and Michigan. You know that Maria, she ran against him uncommitted in Michigan. He wasn't even on the ballot there.

CARDONA: She can, Megyn. She won the votes and those votes were certified by the secretary of state. Go tell those voters that those votes didn't count. We have to be very careful as a party.

KELLY: I'm not saying it didn't count. I'm just saying the state she won is a little bit of a stretch given that Obama wasn't on the ballot in Michigan and the DNC rules them.


KELLY: I will let you hammer that out with the DNC committee. That's what I would say. But listen, here's what I want to pick up on. You know, you said she's still in this race and it's not over but the problem for Hillary Clinton is it feels over. Look at all of us are focused on John McCain and Barack Obama, and the back-and-forth over Iran, and Michelle Obama, and so on. And the question is: Where is Hillary in all of this?

CARDONA: Well, but you know what, Megyn? I think when you go out on the campaign trail, and you look at the people who are actually really need help in today's economy, those are the people that are talking to Senator Clinton, and who are actually saying -- yes, please, do not get out of this, we are the ones that need your help.

She is the one who is actually proposing the real plans, the real solutions, the conversations that she is having on the grounds are actually the real conversations that is happening in Middle America that we need to pay attention to.

KELLY: What's the real plan for her securing this nomination? It all comes down to the supers?

CARDONA: Well, it does come down to the supers. And the fact of the matter is that neither her nor Senator Obama at the end of this process is going to have the number of delegates required. So, at the end of this process, the superdelegates really need to take measure of a whole lot of metrics that are incredibly important. One of those is the popular vote.

We believe very strongly that at the end of this process, she's going to continue to accumulate popular votes and be able to surpass him and be able to say -- look, the majority of voters in this Democratic primary process have said that I am the most believable candidate, and the strongest candidate to go up against John McCain in the fall. And that's an incredibly important argument tonight.

KELLY: I got to wrap it up but I want to ask you quickly, I know you think she's going to win Kentucky. The polls have her way ahead. What do you think is going to happen in Oregon?

CARDONA: We'll see. She has also campaigned very hard in Oregon, and she has sent Chelsea there, she has sent former President Clinton there. So, she has fought very hard. We'll see what happens. We believe that she will win it, but we're going to continue in this process and she's going to work as hard as she can to say at the end of this process that she is the best candidate to go up against John McCain.

KELLY: Maria Cardona, thanks for being here.

CARDONA: Thank you, Megyn.

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