Hesitant Hillary Clinton refused to leave campaign stage

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HILLARY Clinton showed no sign of suspending her presidential campaign in a speech which was widely seen as the former first lady flexing her power and influence.

Speaking at Baruch College in her home city of New York, she urged her "18 million" supporters to visit her campaign website and share their views on what she should do next as she said she would be "making no decisions" last night.

But she did say that the Democratic Party was "stronger and more vibrant" as a result of Mr Obama's campaign.

Mrs Clinton said her rival had "inspired so many Americans to care about politics".

She told cheering supporters: "Now the question is, 'Where do we go from here?' And given how far we've come, and where we need to go as a party, it's a question I don't take lightly.

"This has been a long campaign and I will be making no decisions tonight."

Earlier, she said: "I understand that a lot of people are asking, 'What does Hillary want?'

"Well, I want what I have always fought for in this whole campaign."

She said she wanted to end the war in Iraq, wanted to turn the troubled US economy around and wanted universal healthcare in America.

She said she also wanted those who voted for her "to be respected, to be heard".

The tone and content of her speech was seen by some political pundits as a final refusal by Mrs Clinton to leave the stage.

Earlier, speaking to a much smaller, less-animated crowd of supporters in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mr McCain said Mr Obama would be a "formidable" opponent but criticised him for offering "the wrong change" which "looks not to the future but to the past for solutions that have failed us before and will surely fail us again".

But his speech was noted more for the stark visual contrast it presented when compared with the much bigger, livelier rally held by Mr Obama than for his criticism of the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee.

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