The Democratic Party can now be viewed as a train running on two different tracks. One track goes through Tuesday's West Virginia primary. The other spur looks like one very long track. It shows a map of the states where Barack Obama's campaign says he must challenge Republican John McCain this fall.
A West VA Victory for Clinton?
Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigned confidently in West Virginia, expecting a big victory even as political analysts say it is unlikely even a big win could turn around her quest for the White House.
Yet, West Virginians showed they are interested in the primary as polling stations reported record turnouts. But no matter what happens in The Mountaineer State or in Kentucky next week, it may be just a few weeks before Obama becomes the party's nominee.
West Virginia had 28 delegates at stake Tuesday.
Obama Focused on McCain
Obama is now targeting his campaign message toward McCain, turning his attention from his Democratic opponent. He planned to be in Missouri on Tuesday. The Show Me State is usually one of the most hard-fought for states in the fall general election.
But the lady in the pants suit hasn't sung just yet - at least not as far a Clinton is concerned.
"I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't believe that I could be the best president for West Virginia and America and that I was the stronger candidate to take on John McCain in the fall," Reuters quoted Clinton at a rally in Logan, West Virginia.
The New York senator told West Virginians Monday in all four of her stops around the state to send her onward with a huge victory.
"This may be the most important vote you've ever cast," she told an audience of supporters in Fairmont. "Let's have a huge vote in West Virginia."
She reminded them of the history of presidential campaigns in order to counter the truth of math of the delegate count that's falling into place for her rival.
"I keep telling people, no Democrat has won the White House since 1916 without winning West Virginia," she said at Tudor's Biscuit World in Charleston.
Many of these same blue-collar Democrats have said they would remain with Clinton and would not support the other candidate in the fall election. Party leaders want to bridge that gap as soon as possible. The party will have to be unified to win in November.
Obama's Only WV Speech
Obama scheduled only one campaign stop in the state. In his address to the crowd, he talked of his love of country and the conviction that military veterans deserve the best care from their government when they return home.
"At a time when we're facing the largest homecoming since the Second World War, the true test of our patriotism is whether we will serve our returning heroes as well as they've served us," he said.
Obama knows of the political fight he must face with McCain. The Arizona senator is a veteran of both politics and war. He will try to use use the Illinois senator's short national experience against him, just like Clinton tried to do.
Obama has planned a two-week tour of the remaining primary states. But he will also concentrate on fall general election battlegrounds, including Florida and Michigan
Source: The Associated Press, Reuters
Be sure to check CBNNews.com tonight for West Virginia primary results and analysis. Also watch a special live edition of The 700 Club tonight at 11:00 Eastern time on the ABC Family Channel.