DES MOINES, Iowa - Barack Obama took a major stride in the marathon campaign for the Democratic nomination last night, locking up a majority of the elected delegates to the Democratic National Convention and declaring that the title is within his grasp.

The Illinois senator reached the milestone by winning some delegates in Kentucky - even though he lost the statewide vote by more than 2-1 - and more in Oregon, where he won handily, according to the Associated Press.

Hillary Clinton remained unbowed, vowing to campaign on and pointing to her crushing win in Kentucky as evidence that at least some Democrats want the race to continue.

Obama still needs to win dozens more unelected delegates, called superdelegates, to clinch the nomination. But he hoped they'd feel compelled to ratify the choices made by voters in caucuses and primaries, and he used a rally in Iowa, the scene of his first breakthrough victory four months ago, to drive the point home in dramatic fashion.

"You came out on a cold winter's night in January in numbers that this country has never seen, and you stood for change . . . . And because you did, a few more stood up. And then a few thousand stood up. And then a few million stood up," he told cheering supporters.

"And tonight . . . we have returned to Iowa with a majority of delegates elected by the American people, and you have put us within reach of the Democratic nomination for president of the United States."

Addressing supporters in Louisville, Clinton insisted that she still has a shot at the nomination, and that she'll keep fighting for it.

"I'm going to continue making our case until we have a nominee, whoever she may be," she said to whoops and cheers. *