Senior Campaign Adviser on Clinton's Fight

This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," May 7, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D-NY) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm staying in this race until there's a nominee, and I, obviously, am going to work as hard as I can to become that nominee. That is what I've done. That's what I'm continuing to do.

I believe that I am the stronger candidate against Senator McCain and I believe I would be the best president among the three of us running, so we will continue to contest these elections and move forward.


MEGYN KELLY, CO-HOST: She is in it until there is a nominee. A defiant Hillary Clinton refusing to surrender to Barack Obama today, despite increasing calls from more Democrats for her to get out now, after her double digit loss in North Carolina and her narrow two-point win in Indiana.

Former Senator George McGovern, the party's 1972 presidential candidate, a respected party elder and long-time Clinton supporter, announcing in the wake of last night's primaries that he is switching his allegiance to Obama, urging Clinton to quit now.

Clinton, however, remains determined. Her campaign confirming today, that she is borrowing $6 million more from her own bank account to keep her campaign alive, or at least she's done that within the last month. Prior to that, we learned in February she already laid out $5 million from her own money.

Watch the interview with Clinton's senior campaign adviser

Is that, however, a waste of cash at this point? Does Hillary Clinton still have a chance?

Maria Cardona is a senior campaign adviser to Hillary Clinton. She joins us now.

Hi, Maria.


KELLY: It's our pleasure to have you. I know, obviously, in some ways last night was a disappointment, hoping for bigger margins in Indiana and hoping Obama's margins were a little slimmer in North Carolina. More and more calls, however, today from Democrats for her to get out of this race. Maria, what does it mean she's in it until there is a nominee?

CARDONA: Well, but you know what — I think that what we have to remember is that last night was actually a good night for us. Two weeks ago, the Obama campaign predicted that they would have huge wins both in North Carolina and that they would win Indiana by seven points.

We came from behind. We were outspent three to one on the air and in most of the markets. We had, you know, a huge run there, because she was very, very good at talking to voters one on one about what she would do to solve their problems, and it worked. We came from behind and we won by two points. We're very happy about where we are.

We never figured that we would win in North Carolina. That was always Senator Obama's to win. And we, frankly, closed the gap there as well. We were down 25 points at one point.

So, you know, I don't know what everybody is fretting about. Absolutely, she's going to stay in this race, as she should, until the end.

KELLY: You know, Terry McAuliffe was quoted as saying in advance of those primaries last night that he expected them to be tight, Maria. North Carolina was nowhere near tight. It was, by most accounts, a blowout in favor of Barack Obama. The one that you didn't want to be tight, Indiana, was.

Let me press you on that because I think a lot of viewers are listening, thinking this is spin for you to be saying it was a good night for you guys.

CARDONA: Well — I mean, clearly, a lot of people were optimistic, but I think if you look at the real numbers, if you look at what was really happening and the real trends in those states, North Carolina was never going to really be tight. And Indiana, frankly, we all thought it would be tight. Of course, we would have wanted a bigger margin, but we were happy with the fact that we won by two points, a win is a win as it came out it has.

KELLY: That's what she — that's what the candidates said last night as well.

CARDONA: Absolutely.

KELLY: In McAuliffe's defense, he also said that yesterday on our air.

Let me ask you now, it comes down superdelegates according to most folks. The Obama campaign, quick to point out today, that since Super Tuesday, February 5th, Obama has gotten superdelegates over Clinton at a rate of five to one. They say that if she is to come back in this race, if she is to actually have any hope of capturing this nomination, she needs to not only reverse that trend but do better. She needs to get 70 percent of all outstanding superdelegates.

How on earth does she do that, Maria?

CARDONA: I think that what we do is we continue to take our message of change, of giving these voters real solutions to the real problems that they're facing everyday. It worked for her in Ohio. It worked for her in Texas. It worked for her in Pennsylvania. It worked for her in Indiana. Well, but that.

KELLY: But the superdelegates, in particular?

CARDONA: OK. But that's part of the argument to the superdelegates. The argument to the superdelegates is that she will be the better candidate to go up against John McCain, the one that will be — that will be better able to beat him in the fall, the one that has the better experience, the most history with dealing with the problems that a president is going to have to deal with on day one, second to none command of the issues.

KELLY: But that's been the argument. Respectfully, that's been the argument and he's still been crushing her since Super Tuesday with respect to the superdelegates.

CARDONA: But you know what? He is not there in the numbers either. So, let's let this process continue.

There are five more contests that still need to be played out. Millions of voters still need to have their voices heard, and, you know, frankly, until there is a slew of superdelegates that go to him and make him the nominee, we are going to be fighting until the very end in this race to see what the voters have to say, and then to look at the superdelegates at the end of this process on June 3rd and be able to continue to make the argument that that she will make the better candidate to go up against John McCain in the fall.

And let's see where things go. But until this is over, it's not over.

KELLY: OK. Maria Cardona, thank you so much for being here.

CARDONA: Thank you for having me.

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