Like the song says, "It's almost heaven," Hillary Clinton said, opening her victory speech in Charleston, W. Va. "There are some who wanted to cut this race short. They said give up, but here in West Virginia, you know a thing or two about rough roads to the top of the mountain."
"I am more determined than ever to carry on this campaign until everyone has had a chance to make their voices heard."
Mrs. Clinton said she and Barack Obama have always stood together on what is most important.
Then she returned to the battle. "We are in the homestretch." She made a pitch for campaign contributions.
"There are many who wanted to declare a nominee before the ballots were counted or even cast." She related her victories along the way after she had been counted out, including New Hampshire and last week's come-from-behind victory in Indiana.
"This race isn't over yet."
She renewed her plea to seat the delegates from Florida and Michigan. "I believe we should honor the votes cast by 2.3 million people from those states and seat all of their delegates." She noted that neither she nor Obama has reached the 2,209 delegates (counting Michigan and Florida) she says either she or Obama need to win the nomination.
"I want to send a message to everyone still making up their minds, I am in this race because I believe I am the strongest candidate, the strongest candidate to lead our party in the election of 2008 and the strongest president."
"The choice falls to all of you and I don't envy you. I deeply admire Sen Obama, but I believe our case is stronger." She repeated her campaign's mantra about winning the states, including West Virginia, that the Democrats will need to win in order to defeat John McCain in November.
Mrs. Clinton noted that no Democrat since Woodrow Wilson in 1916 has won the presidency without winning West Virginia.
"I will stand with you as long as you stand with me," she told the audience.