Clinton Says Debate Remark Not Meant as Farewell
In television interviews and at two voter rallies here in Texas, Mrs. Clinton returned to the theme of her closing remarks at the debate with Senator Barack Obama on Thursday night.
In those remarks, Mrs. Clinton said that, “whatever happens” in the election contest, she and Mr. Obama would prosper.
Aides insisted the remark was not an admission that she believed she would lose the race but rather an attempt to refocus the campaign from the drama of the two compelling and historic candidates battling for the nomination to the struggles of ordinary voters.
“You know I made it very clear that this election is about all of you,” she said at a morning rally on a chilly street corner in Dallas Friday morning. “It’s about your futures, your families, your jobs.”
“For me,” she added a moment later, “it really is about what we can do together.”
Her opponent, Mr. Obama, spent Friday campaigning in parts of southern and central Texas, targeting areas that are home to many Hispanic voters, who are seen as potentially decisive in the March 4 Texas primary. His first appearance was at the University of Texas-Pan American Friday, his first in the strongly Democratic Rio Grande Valley, where Hillary Clinton has a long history of support. After that, he planned to hold rallies in Corpus Christi and Austin.
In an interview on the CBS “Early Show,” Mrs. Clinton was asked directly if her closing debate remarks meant she thought she was going to lose the race. Mr. Obama has won 11 straight contests since the Super Tuesday races on Feb. 5, all by double-digit margins.
“No, of course not,” she said. “It is the recognition that both of us are on the brink of historic change. You know, I’m very proud that we have the two of us in this contest seeking the Democratic nomination, hoping to become our next president. Obviously, I believe that, you know, my record and my plans for what we can do for our country are ones that, you know, really are rooted in my experience and my strengths, being able to bring about the positive differences that people talk to me about.”
Her appearance in Dallas was marred by the death of the city police motorcyclist killed in a crash while escorting her motorcade. The crash occurred as Mrs. Clinton was being driven from the airport to a rally in the city. The officer was at the head of the line of vehicles. Dallas television station WFAA reported that the motorcycle may have struck a concrete abutment.
In the wake of the accident, Mrs. Clinton decided to cancel a rally in Fort Worth, speaking only briefly to the assembling crowds.
“Because of this tragedy, we cannot have a rally,” she said. “It is self-evident how much I appreciate your coming, and how important it is that every single day we not only think about those who serve us in all the ways we are served, but that we express that appreciation for those who keep community safe, caring for the sick and teaching our children. So thank you very much for being here and God bless you all.”