Another stunning political night

McCain Clinches, Clinton Wins Texas and Ohio
March 5, 2008 5:50:41 AM PST
Four states held their primaries Tuesday: The big fish - Texas and Ohio. In the democratic race for the White House, Hillary Rodham Clinton bagged two of those big fish: Ohio, where she won handily and where her campaign got the revitalizing shot she was looking for and Texas, where the race with Barack Obama was neck and neck into the early morning.

Clinton won in Rhode Island as well. In Vermont, a decisive Obama victory in that state's Democratic Primary. He won by more than 20 points.

John McCain won the night's Republican contests, and enough delegates to secure his position as the Republican nominee. The victory is an extraordinary comeback for a candidate whose White House hopes were dashed eight years ago and whose second bid was left for dead eight months ago.

McCain's only real opponent, Mike Huckabee bowed to reality Tuesday and out of the Republican presidential race. "We kept the faith," he told his end-of-the-road rally Tuesday after John McCain clinched the nomination. "I'd rather lose an election than lose the principles that got me into politics in the first place."

Clinton and Obama, who waged an expensive Texas campaign that blanketed the state with television ads, drew a record number of voters to the polls. With her back against the wall in a pair of contests that seemed virtually must-win, the New York senator seemed to be limiting Barack Obama to groups that have supported his candidacy from the start of this year's Democratic presidential contest.

The Illinois senator was getting overwhelming support from blacks, young voters and the college educated. But his recent inroads into some of her core support groups, at least for now, seemed to be limited.

In part, Clinton was benefiting from disproportionate support from voters who picked their candidates in the past week - a period that has seen her aggressively accuse her rival of inexperience. In Texas, nearly six in 10 voters who recently made their choices were supporting Clinton, and nearly the same were doing so in Ohio.

In both states, Clinton was even showing signs of eating into pivotal sources of Obama's support. They were equally dividing independent voters - whom Obama has dominated - and liberals, another group that has tilted toward him.

In all there were 370 Democratic delegates at stake in Rhode Island, Vermont, Ohio and in Texas, which used an unusual primary-caucus system.

Whoever wins the Democratic presidential nomination will have some fence-mending to do in Texas before the November 4th election. An exit poll for The Associated Press and TV networks found that only about half of those who voted today for Barack Obama said they'd be satisfied if Hillary Rodham Clinton wins.

Even fewer Clinton supporters - just over one-third - said they would be satisfied with Obama.

AP reports Texas Democrats were more likely to view Clinton as better qualified to be commander in chief and said she offered clear and detailed plans to solve the country's problems. They viewed Obama as more inspirational.