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2851Obama wins North Carolina, Clinton leads Indiana

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  • Greg Cannon
    May 6, 2008
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      Obama wins North Carolina, Clinton leads Indiana
      Tue May 6, 2008 7:41pm EDT

      By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Barack Obama beat rival Hillary
      Clinton in North Carolina on Tuesday, moving a step
      closer to securing the Democratic presidential
      nomination after a grueling struggle.

      Clinton led Obama in early returns in Indiana as the
      two Democrats, who have been locked in a see-saw
      battle for months, appeared headed to a split of the
      two states.

      The New York senator was ahead of Obama by 57 percent
      to 43 percent with about 18 percent of votes counted
      in Indiana.

      The two states, with a combined 187 delegates to the
      August nominating convention at stake, were the
      biggest prizes left in the race to pick the party's
      presidential candidate for November's election. After
      Tuesday, only six contests remain.

      A pair of losses would be disastrous for Clinton, the
      former first lady who is struggling to overtake Obama
      in the White House race.

      Obama, an Illinois senator, has an almost unassailable
      lead in pledged delegates who will help select the
      Democratic nominee to face Republican John McCain in

      If Obama wins in both Indiana and North Carolina, it
      would end Clinton's slender hopes of catching him in
      either delegates or popular votes won in the
      nomination battle and spark renewed calls for her to
      step aside.

      A split decision in Tuesday's contests would leave the
      race largely unchanged before the last six contests,
      with 217 delegates at stake.

      But neither candidate can win enough delegates to
      clinch the race before the state-by-state voting ends
      on June 3, leaving the decision to the nearly 800
      superdelegates -- party insiders free to back any
      candidate at the Democrats' nominating convention in

      Exit polls showed the economy was the top issue for
      two-thirds of Indiana voters and about 6 of every 10
      voters in North Carolina. Clinton, who would be the
      first woman U.S. president, narrowly led among those
      voters in Indiana, while Obama led in North Carolina.

      Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president,
      won 9 out of 10 black voters in North Carolina, who
      made up about one third of the state's primary voters,
      exit polls showed.

      (Additional reporting by Caren Bohan and Jeff Mason;
      Editing by Frances Kerry)

      (To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit
      Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at
      http:/blogs.reuters.com/trail08/ )