Obama wins in Vermont
By David Espo / Associated Press
Article Launched: 02/28/2008 03:33:31 PM MST
WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama defeated Hillary Rodham
Clinton in the Vermont primary Tuesday night, and the
two Democratic rivals dueled in Ohio, Texas and Rhode
Island in their riveting race for the party's
The Vermont victory was Obama's 12th straight over the
former first lady, desperate to rebound later in the
night in the other three states holding elections.
The Associated Press made its calls based on surveys
of voters as they left the polls.
In all there were 370 Democratic delegates at stake in
Rhode Island, Vermont, Ohio and in Texas, which used
an unusual primary-caucus system.
Hispanics, a group that has favored Clinton in earlier
primaries, cast nearly one-third of the Election Day
votes in Texas, up from about one quarter of the
ballots four years ago, according to interviews with
voters as they left their polling places. Blacks, who
have voted heavily for Obama this year, accounted for
roughly 20 percent of the votes cast, roughly the same
as four years ago.
The economy was the No. 1 concern on the minds of
Democratic voters in Texas, Rhode Island and
especially in Ohio. But in Vermont, almost as many
voters said the war in Iraq was their top concern.
More than three-quarters of Ohio Democrats said
international trade had cost their state more jobs
than it had created. The interviews did not take into
account early voting, which was heavy in Texas and in
parts of Ohio.
Roughly six in 10 of the Democrats who were questioned
said that so-called superdelegates, who are party
officials, should vote at the national convention
based on the results of primaries and caucuses. That
was unwelcome news for Clinton, who trails Obama among
delegates picked in the states but holds a lead among
After 11 straight victories, Obama had the momentum
and the lead in the delegate chase in The Associated
Press count, 1,389-1,276.
His margin was larger - 1,187-1,035 - among pledged
delegates chosen in primaries and caucuses. The former
first lady had an advantage among superdelegates, but
Obama picked up three during the day, narrowing her
advantage to 241-202.
That left Clinton in desperate need of a comeback with
time running out - if it hadn't already.
Some of her supporters, her husband the former
president among them, said she needed to outpoll Obama
in both Texas and Ohio to sustain her candidacy.
Without conceding anything, Obama's allies said even
that wouldn't be enough, given his lead in the
delegate count and party rules that virtually assure
primary losers a significant share of the spoils.
Nevertheless in appearances Tuesday, Clinton sounded
like she might continue her campaign if she won only
Ohio, and Obama sounded almost resigned to an
extension of the nomination battle.
"You don't get to the White House as a Democrat
without winning Ohio," Clinton said in Houston.
"My husband didn't get the nomination wrapped up until
June (in 1992). That has been the tradition," she
added, without mentioning that this year most
primaries were held much earlier than in 1992. "This
is a very close race."
In San Antonio, Obama called Clinton "a tenacious and
determined candidate" and predicted little shift in
his delegate lead no matter who won Texas and Ohio,
"which means that either way, we'll go on through
Mississippi and Wyoming next week." Pennsylvania, the
biggest single prize left, follows on April 22.
"All those states coming up are going to make a
difference," he said. "What we want to do is make sure
we're competing in every single state."
It takes 2,025 delegates to win the Democratic
nomination, and slightly more than 600 remained to be
picked in the 10 states that vote after Tuesday.