Obama Leads in Oregon, Clinton in Kentucky

Obama hopes to move closer to a majority with a big win in Oregon.


Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton shakes hands as she enters a campaign rally in Frankfort, Kentucky.

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Barack Obama is ending the latest phase of his presidential campaign on a high note. His rally before an estimated 75,000 fans at a riverside park in Portland, Ore., on Sunday, with an additional 15,000 unable to squeeze onto the site—apparently was his biggest crowd of the campaign. "Wow, wow, wow," Obama said to the throng. "We have had a lot of rallies. This is the most spectacular setting, the most spectacular crowd we have had this entire campaign."

He was expected to follow through with a solid win in Oregon's Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, was winding up her campaign in Kentucky, where she is favored in that state's primary on Tuesday. She sang hymns at a Methodist church in Bowling Green and attended a rally of several thousand people at Western Kentucky University on Sunday. Clinton chided Obama for not campaigning in Kentucky in the final hours before the balloting and added, "I've got the whole state to myself. What a treat."

In some ways, the two candidates have traded places. Clinton started out more than a year ago as the front-runner who billed herself as the inevitable nominee. Now Obama is the front-runner—ahead in the number of delegates, states won, and the popular vote in Democratic National Committee-approved primaries and caucuses. "We still a have some contests left," Obama said, "but if Kentucky and Oregon go as we hope, then we think we will have a majority of pledged delegates at that point."

But that's only part of the story. Even with a majority of pledged delegates, Obama will still fall short of the majority needed for the Democratic nomination because nearly 800 "superdelegates" also must be accounted for. Obama has been slowly picking up support among those superdelegates—the elected party officials and activists who hold the balance of power in deciding the Democratic standard-bearer—but he hasn't reached the total needed of 2,026 and isn't likely to do so for a while.

Still, he leads Clinton by about 200 delegates and he has been acting more and more like the eventual nominee, directing his attention less at Clinton and more at Republican candidate John McCain. On Sunday, for example, Obama told a group of elderly voters that McCain would move toward privatizing Social Security, which many seniors oppose and which President George Bush tried unsuccessfully to do during his first term. A McCain spokesman said Obama was distorting the Republican's views.