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While The GOP Race Is Essentially Over, Democrats Press On

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Donald Trump strengthened his hold on the Republican presidential nomination because his closest rival, Ted Cruz, suspended his campaign last night. Hillary Clinton is in a commanding position among Democrats, but her race is not quite over. Bernie Sanders is still fighting. And we expect an interview with Sanders on this program tomorrow. NPR's Tamara Keith reports on the Democratic fight.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Bernie Sanders won the primary in Indiana last night. It wasn't a big enough win to erode Hillary Clinton's massive lead in pledged delegates. But it was a win.

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BERNIE SANDERS: I understand that Secretary Clinton thinks that this campaign is over. I've got some bad news for her.

KEITH: Sanders readily admits the delegate math is not on his side. But there are favorable states for him ahead, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oregon. And he's vowing to fight on.

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SANDERS: I sense a great deal of momentum. I sense some great victories coming. And I think that while the path is narrow - and I do not deny that for a moment - I think we can pull off one of the great political upsets in the history of United States.

KEITH: To do that he'd have to convince party elites, so-called superdelegates who currently overwhelmingly support Clinton, to switch allegiances. And while Sanders is focused on drawing policy contrasts with Clinton, she isn't waiting around for him to decide the primary is over. Clinton has moved on, hiring key staff in general election swing states and yesterday campaigning in Ohio, which held its primary last month.

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HILLARY CLINTON: It is truly not worth running for and serving as president if you do not help struggling and striving Americans get ahead and stay ahead.

(APPLAUSE)

KEITH: Clinton's general election message is beginning to take shape. And she's talking more and more about Donald Trump.

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CLINTON: I'm very excited about this. You know, people ask me all the time, well, how are you going to respond to all these attacks, all these names that you're called?

KEITH: Trump is trying to stick her with the nickname Crooked Hillary.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: It's not like I haven't been dealing with that for 25 years.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: Really?

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Because, you know, it's not about me. It's about us.

KEITH: While you might not hear it in her tone, Clinton's Trump strategy could well be summed up this way. I'm rubber; you're glue.

INSKEEP: Which rhymes with Tamara Keith, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.