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Barack Obama wins the nod from NARAL

May 14, 2008 | 12:05 pm

Amid minor movement today among Democratic superdelegates -- so far, Barack Obama has picked up 2 1/2 votes [UPDATE: make that 3 1/2] and Hillary Clinton, one -- Obama scored a coup with an endorsement from the nation's foremost abortion rights advocacy group.

In a news release, the political action committee for NARAL Pro-Choice America had kind words for Clinton but annoounded its backing for Obama, citing its reading of the status of the Democratic presidential race.

"Today, we are proud to put our organization's grass-roots and political support behind the pro-choice candidate whom we believe will secure the Democratic nomination and advance to the general election," NARAL's president said in the release. "That candidate is Sen. Obama.

Clinton's chief spokesman, Howard Wolfson, expressed "surprise" over the endorsement during a conference call with reporters (including The Times' Noam N. Levey).

But Wolfson and campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe stressed that Clinton remained full steam ahead as a candidate, particularly in light of her thumping of Obama in Tuesday's West Virginia primary.

McAuliffe mentioned that Clinton was meeting with 45 to 50 donors in Washington today and that she would keep making her case -- significantly buttressed, she believes, by the West Virginia results -- that she would be the more competitive Democratic contender in the general election.

And although she may have lost the NARAL nod, her cause will be touted Thursday in a full-page ad in USA Today paid for by the WomenCount political action committee. The ad is headlined, "Not so fast ... Hillary is OUR voice, and she's speaking for all of us."

-- Don Frederick

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