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Clinton Camp Hopes Super Tuesday Proves Her To Be The Dominant Candidate


On this Super Tuesday, supporters of Hillary Clinton hope she can take a stranglehold on the Democratic presidential nomination. But as NPR's Sam Sanders reports, her rival, Bernie Sanders, isn't slowing down on the campaign trail.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Bernie Sanders' last rally before Super Tuesday took place in the gymnasium at Milton High School in Milton, Mass. The space was full, and it was very hot.


BERNIE SANDERS: It's getting hot in here.

S. SANDERS: So about 10 minutes into his speech, Sanders took off his suit coat.

B. SANDERS: All right, we're getting warmed up here.

S. SANDERS: And the crowd went wild. It was a metaphor of sorts for the race for the Democratic nomination itself. The senator from Vermont has been hitting Clinton on her ties to Wall Street and speeches Clinton gave to Wall Street banks.

B. SANDERS: And I'm not quite so sure you bring about real change in America if you give a speech to Goldman Sachs for $225,000 and you don't release the transcript.

S. SANDERS: He kept going.

B. SANDERS: Must be a hell of a good speech, and you don't want to share it with the American people.

S. SANDERS: Sanders said he'd do better than Clinton against Trump in a general election. And he said his big plans, which some call unrealistic, are the only way to accomplish change.

B. SANDERS: If you start off asking for half a loaf, you're going to end up with crumbs.


B. SANDERS: If you start off asking for a full damn loaf, you may actually get something.

S. SANDERS: Sanders has been campaigning in states like Oklahoma, Minnesota, Colorado and Massachusetts recently. Those are states where he's counting on working-class white voters to come through for him after a disappointing showing with black Democrats in South Carolina's primary. Just after he got off a plane in Boston yesterday, Sanders was asked on the tarmac if he'd drop out should things not go his way Super Tuesday. Through the wind, Sanders pointed out that the vast majority of states still haven't held nominating contests.


B. SANDERS: Last I heard, we have a lot more than 15 states in the United States of America. And I think it is more than appropriate to give all of those states and the people in those states a chance to vote for the candidate of their choice.

S. SANDERS: Bernie Sanders' campaign raised over $40 million in February alone, so he could stay in for the long haul, whatever happens. Sam Sanders, NPR News, Boston.


And now let's turn to NPR's Tamara Keith who is traveling with Hillary Clinton.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: If you want to understand Hillary Clinton's Super Tuesday strategy, all you need to do is look at her travel schedule.


HILLARY CLINTON: I am so happy to be in Atlanta.


CLINTON: To be back in Arkansas, to be in Pine Bluff.


CLINTON: Hello, Virginia.


CLINTON: I can't tell you how excited I am to be in Boston.


CLINTON: Hello, Nashville.

KEITH: Clinton is hoping to win in all of these states and more. Her greatest strength is in the south where she has significant support from African-American voters. But her campaign is even trying to compete in Sanders' home state of Vermont where Clinton has zero chance of winning - the reason? For Clinton, wins are nice, but delegates are more important. Jen Palmieri is the campaign's communications director.

JEN PALMIERI: Even if you don't win the state, you can pick up delegates there. And even if you're confident that you're going to win the state, you might want to spend more time there so you pick up even more delegates 'cause ultimately, that's what's going to mean you get the nomination.

KEITH: As for Clinton's closing argument, after 11 months on the trail, Clinton finally has a message her campaign believes is resonating with Democratic voters.


CLINTON: You know, America never stopped being great. We need to make America whole again.

KEITH: Clinton started using the make it whole line over the weekend.

CLINTON: And the way we will do that is to break down all the barriers - the barriers that stand in the way of America living up to its potential and every single American living up to his or hers. That's what my campaign is about.

KEITH: As Clinton delivers her stump speech, you can't help but hear subtle jabs at the Republican front-runner Donald Trump. Palmieri doesn't deny it.

PALMIERI: What she's saying is she wants to break down barriers and - not put up more walls. And that's an effective articulation of her overall message and, like I said, happens to contrast with Donald Trump as well.

KEITH: At the same time, Clinton is now barely mentioning her primary opponent Bernie Sanders. Tamara Keith, NPR News, Norfolk, Va. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.
Sam Sanders
Sam Sanders is a correspondent and host of It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders at NPR. In the show, Sanders engages with journalists, actors, musicians, and listeners to gain the kind of understanding about news and popular culture that can only be reached through conversation. The podcast releases two episodes each week: a "deep dive" interview on Tuesdays, as well as a Friday wrap of the week's news.