By Jeff Mason
SHEPHERDSTOWN, West Virginia (Reuters) – Hillary Clinton pressed ahead with her come-from-behind presidential bid on Wednesday, putting a brave face on a slim victory in Indiana and vowing to fight on until the last Democratic nominating contest concludes.
The New York senator, whose loss to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in North Carolina on Tuesday added to his nearly insurmountable lead in the race for their partyâ€™s nomination, rearranged her schedule to begin campaigning in the next state she hopes to win.
â€œItâ€™s a new day, itâ€™s a new state, itâ€™s a new election,â€ Clinton told reporters after a rally in West Virginia, which holds its nominating contest next week.
The Clinton campaign arranged the event hastily, telling reporters traveling with her from Indianapolis shortly before 3 a.m. on Wednesday that it would take place.
She had been scheduled to remain in Washington, meeting with superdelegates — party leaders and elected officials whose support she needs to overcome Obamaâ€™s lead — and holding an evening fundraiser.
Advisers said Clinton wanted to show her determination to keep fighting by campaigning on Wednesday, and she used the opportunity to remind voters she would compete in all of the remaining contests, which wrap up in early June.
â€œIâ€™m staying in this race until thereâ€™s a nominee,â€ she said. â€œI obviously am going to work as hard as I can to become that nominee. That is what Iâ€™ve done. Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m continuing to do.â€
Tired staff said Clinton remained â€œunflappableâ€ and focused on winning the nomination.
At times appearing subdued, the former first lady, who slept about three hours on Tuesday night according to an aide, ran through her campaign speech before the crowd of students. She made only brief mention of her proposal to lift a tax on gasoline this summer without mentioning Obamaâ€™s opposition.
A sampling of people in the crowd, including Obama supporters as well as one Republican, said she should stay in the race.
â€œI want her to keep fighting until the very end,â€ said Maggie Lauria, 58, a retired school teacher and Clinton supporter.
â€œI think she has a shot. Sheâ€™s a fighter. I think when the superdelegates look at the big picture, they may go her way.â€
At a news conference, Clinton reiterated her call for a solution to the disqualified Florida and Michigan votes and said she had the best chance to beat Republican John McCain in the November election.
But she did not openly criticize her opponent, and kept the news conference short in order to return to Washington.
â€œWeâ€™re getting on the road again,â€ she said.
(Editing by Sandra Maler)