I'm still standing thanks to Sir Elton's £1.2m benefit gig says Presidential hopeful Hillary

Sir Elton John last night raised more than £1.2 million for U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with a concert in New York.

Husband Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea joined the Democrat former first lady for the gig at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

The benefit concert - Elton and Hillary: One Night Only - raised $2.5 million (£1.25 million) for Mrs Clinton's presidential campaign.

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Show me the love: Elton John is thanked by Hillary and Bill Clinton at his New York benefit

The 61-year-old pop veteran told the crowd: "I've always been a Hillary supporter. There is no one more qualified to lead America.

Sir Elton, who in 1998 performed at a White House state dinner hosted by the Clinton for Tony Blair, then Prime Minister, said last night: "I'm amazed by the misogynistic attitudes of some of the people in this country. And I say to hell with them... I love you Hillary, I'll be there for you."

He then launched into his 1970 breakthrough hits, Your Song and Border Song.

Mrs Clinton took to the stage and struck a defiant, underdog note as she described her battle against her Democratic rival Barack Obama.

Mrs Clinton borrowed the title of an Elton John hit when she told the concert audience: "What I want you to know is I'm still standing, and I believe this country is worth fighting for."

"So we're taking our campaign to Pennsylvania and all the states that haven't voted."

Pennsylvania, which votes on April 22, is the next primary election in the race for the Democratic party's presidential nomination.

Mrs Clinton leads against Mr Obama in Pennsylvania polls, though the young Illinois senator has the support of more delegates overall.

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Pucker performer: Hillary, who is behind in the polls, told the crowd, 'I'm still standing'

Earlier she had launched a stinging attack on her rivals as she went on the offensive over Iraq.

The New York senator accused Mr Obama of being all talk and no substance on the crucial topic of ending the Iraq war.

And she slammed Republican John McCain for wanting to keep US troops in Baghdad until the mission was finished.

Mrs Clinton had joined her rivals in the US capital, Washington DC, on Tuesday to listen to a day-long testimony from the top US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus.

But yesterday she was back on the campaign trail, telling a town hall audience in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania: "Senator Obama says he will end the war, but his top foreign policy adviser said he won't necessarily follow the plan he has been talking about during this campaign," she said.

And in reference to Mr McCain, Mrs Clinton said: "That's the choice - one candidate will continue the war and keep troops in Iraq indefinitely; one candidate only says he will end the war; and one candidate is ready, willing and able to end the war and to rebuild our military while honouring our soldiers and our veterans.

She added: "A great Pennsylvanian, Benjamin Franklin, once said: 'Well done is better than well-said.' Actions speak louder than words."

She described the "surge" in Iraq - the deployment last year of more than 30,000 extra US troops to tackle insurgents - as a failure.

At the Washington meeting, Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama had both pressed General Petraeus to move toward withdrawing troops.

Mrs Clinton has repeatedly said she will start to withdraw troops within 60 days of taking office at the White House.

Mr McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, fully supported the surge in Iraq and warned against a premature withdrawal of US troops.

Mrs Clinton said yesterday she was the only candidate who could "end the war safely and responsibly".

Mr Obama's campaign immediately hit back and accused his rival of a " tired and discredited attack".

Spokesman Hari Sevugan said Mrs Clinton had repeatedly misled the American people about her Iraq record.

"Barack Obama is the only candidate who had the judgment to oppose the war from the very beginning, not just from the beginning of a campaign for president," he said.

Mrs Clinton later said she was left "speechless" by a claim from the Illinois senator that he has more foreign policy experience than her.

With Mr Obama in the lead for the race for the Democratic nomination, Mrs Clinton is hoping for a big victory in Pennsylvania to keep her candidacy alive.

There are 158 delegates at stake. Mr Obama has closed in on Mrs Clinton's lead in the state and now trails her by just six percentage points, according to a poll carried out by Quinnipiac University.

His lead rose to 10 points nationally over Mrs Clinton, 51 per cent to 41 per cent, in the latest Gallup poll, which was conducted from April 6 to 8.

The latest tally of delegates showed Mr Obama with 1,638 to Mrs Clinton's 1,502, including superdelegates.


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