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Barack Obama willing to concede Indiana

May 6, 2008 |  6:36 pm

When Barack Obama took the stage to bask in his big victory in North Carolina's Democratic presidential primary, all but one of the television networks remained unwilling to call the day's other contest, the primary in Indiana.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama campaigns in Indiana where he and Hillary Clinton ended up in a tight primary race But Obama showed no such hesitation, saying early in his remarks that he wanted to congratulate Hillary Clinton "on what appears to be her victory in the great state of Indiana."

Maybe Obama has great confidence in the number-crunchers at CBS, the one network that had broken from the pack earlier and given Indiana to Clinton. But more likely, his comment was simply in line with the tone he clearly sought to strike -- gracious about triumphing in North Carolina by a comfortable, and politically important, margin and anxious to start healing fissures within Democratic ranks.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of Obama's speech was his reference to exit poll findings that a growing portion of his partisans and -- to an even greater degree -- some Clinton backers are saying they would be unwilling to line up behind the Democratic nominee in November if their choice does not prevail.

"I don't believe it," Obama said, launching into a brief discourse on the need for Democrats to remember which side they truly need to be on.

Even as he spoke, the race in Indiana got closer -- with about three-quarters of the vote in there, Clinton's lead had shrunk to ...

... 4 percentage points.

But having easily won the race he could not afford to lose -- North Carolina -- and in doing so maintaining his edge in eventually nailing down the nomination, he was in no mood to quibble.

He also was back in his comfort zone, stressing themes of reconciliation throughout his speech, as well as emphasizing that he would keep to his commitment to running a "different" kind of campaign that accentuates the positive. And he devoted more time than usual to his family's background, obviously with an eye to chipping away at the "elitist" tag.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: Bloomberg News

[Update: Many thanks to the many readers who caught the various typos in the first draft of this item, posted with undue haste, and not enough care, as it turned out] 

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