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Obama increases winning margin in North Carol -

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Obama increases winning margin in North Carolina

The World Today - Wednesday, 7 May , 2008 12:21:00

Reporter: Michael Rowland

ELEANOR HALL: In the United States, Democrat Senator Barack Obama has strengthened his claim to be
his party's presidential nominee with an emphatic victory in the North Carolina primary.

Senator Obama has racked up a double digit winning margin in North Carolina, an achievement that
will extend his lead over Hillary Clinton in the race for delegates.

Senator Clinton though is poised to score a much less decisive win in the Indiana primary, but a
result that will keep alive her slim White House hopes.

Joining me now with the latest is our North America correspondent, Michael Rowland.

Michael, firstly looking at North Carolina, just how impressive a victory was it for Barack Obama?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Well, with about two-thirds of the vote counted there, Eleanor, Barack Obama has
56 per cent of the vote to Hillary Clinton's 42 per cent. That's a lead of 14 per cent. A much
bigger margin than even the Obama camp would have privately conceding in the days leading up to
this critical primary.

As expected, the man hoping to be America's first black president has fared very well with North
Carolina's large black population, but he has also, according to CNN exit polls, picked up a third
of the state's white voters.

Now the key result out of this victory in North Carolina, not only on top of the momentum, the
undoubted momentum that'll give Barack Obama going forward, is that he will now get a swag of those
key nominating delegates. So much so that according to his calculations, he is now within 200 votes
of securing the Democratic Party nomination.

A short time ago he addressed a raucous crowd of supporters in Raleigh, North Carolina and he used
the opportunity to thank the voters of North Carolina.

BARACK OBAMA: I want to thank them for giving us a victory in a big state.

(Sound of cheering)

In a swing state, in a state where we will compete to win if I am the Democratic nominee for
President of the United States.

ELEANOR HALL: Well, that was Democrat Senator Barack Obama, one of the White House hopefuls.

Michael, what is the latest in Indiana? Has Hillary Clinton definitely won there?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: No, she certainly poised for what looks like a very narrow victory with about 80
per cent of the vote counted there. She leads Barack Obama by just four percentage points, 52 to
48.

Now a win will certainly allow her to stay in the White House race and keep her slim, very slim,
Presidential hopes alive but it's certainly not the decisive victory the eight or nine point
victory that the Clinton camp had been arguing that she'd get in the days leading up to this
contest, serious questions remain, Eleanor, about her long term viability in this protracted
Democratic battle.

ELEANOR HALL: So the pressure will be on her to leave, but what about the superdelegates? Where
does this Democrat nomination battle go from here?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: Well, we now have six remaining contests and the key figures are that out of these
six contests, only 217 elected delegates are up for grabs whereas there are 270 so-called
"superdelegates" votes up for grabs.

So effectively, these were the last significant primaries and the battle for the Democratic
nomination now does go to those superdelegates, now does go behind closed doors in Washington and
on phone lines between the Obama and Clinton camps and superdelegates.

They'll decide who gets the nomination but you would have to say, given when looks like a very
good, a very solid night for Barack Obama, the scales have to be slipping in his way.

ELEANOR HALL: Well Obama's chief strategist is certainly predicting that the nomination will be
wrapped up before the Democrat convention but would you be calling that at this stage?

MICHAEL ROWLAND: I wouldn't be that heroic but listen, if this win does take the wind out of
Hillary Clinton's sails, there could be some movement in the next couple of days.

She is going to firstly, have trouble raising money to go forward but you might also see some of
those superdelegates reading what looks like fairly prominent writing on the wall now and voting
for or supporting Barack Obama.

And if that happens in large numbers, then we could see an early withdrawal from Hillary Clinton,
but knowing how combative and how keen she is to get the nomination, I wouldn't be surprised if she
does battle through those six remaining primaries until the end of the primary season in early
June.

ELEANOR HALL: Michael Rowland in Washington, thank you.