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Obama wins Neb., Wash. state

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080210/ap_on_el_pr/campaign_rdp Obama wins Neb., Wash. state By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent 16 minutes ago WASHINGTON -
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 9, 2008
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      Obama wins Neb., Wash. state

      By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent 16 minutes ago

      WASHINGTON - Sen. Barack Obama won caucuses in
      Nebraska and Washington state and battled Sen. Hillary
      Rodham Clinton in the Louisiana primary Saturday night
      in a bid to chip away at her slender delegate lead in
      their historic race for the Democratic presidential

      Obama was winning nearly 70 percent support in
      Nebraska, compared with 31 percent for Clinton, in
      caucuses with 24 delegates at stake.

      He also had 67 percent support in Washington state
      caucuses, compared with 32 percent for Clinton with
      returns tallied from about one-half of the state's
      precincts. There were 78 delegates at stake, the
      largest single prize of the night.

      The Democratic race moved into a new, post-Super
      Tuesday phase as Sen. John McCain flunked his first
      ballot test since becoming the Republican
      nominee-in-waiting. He lost Kansas caucuses to Mike
      Huckabee, gaining less than 24 percent of the vote.

      Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, got nearly 60
      percent of the vote a few hours after telling
      conservatives in Washington, "I majored in miracles,
      and I still believe in them." He won all 36 delegates
      at stake.

      For all his brave talk, Huckabee was hopelessly behind
      in the delegate race. McCain had 719, compared with
      234 for Huckabee and 14 for Texas Rep. Ron Paul. It
      takes 1,191 to win the nomination at the national

      The Democrats' race was as close as the Republicans'
      was not.

      Clinton began the day with a slender delegate lead in
      The Associated Press count. She had 1,055 delegates to
      998 for Obama. A total of 2,025 is required to win the
      nomination at the national convention in Denver.

      Preliminary results of a survey of voters leaving
      their polling places in Louisiana showed that nearly
      half of those casting ballots were black. As a group,
      African-Americans have overwhelmingly favored Obama in
      earlier primaries, helping him to wins in South
      Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.

      One in seven Democratic voters and about one in 10
      Republicans said Hurricane Katrina had caused their
      families severe hardship from which they have not
      recovered. There was another indication of the impact
      the storm had on the state. Early results suggested
      that northern Louisiana accounted for a larger share
      of the electorate than in the past, presumably the
      result of the decline of population in the
      hurricane-battered New Orleans area.

      McCain cleared his path to the party nomination
      earlier in the week with a string of Super Tuesday
      victories that drove former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt
      Romney from the race. He spent the rest of the week
      trying to reassure skeptical conservatives, at the
      same time party leaders quickly closed ranks behind

      His Kansas defeat aside, McCain also suffered a
      symbolic defeat when Romney edged him out in a straw
      poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference
      meeting across town from the White House.

      The day's contests opened a new phase in the
      Democratic race between Clinton, attempting to become
      the first woman in the White House, and Obama, hoping
      to become the first black.

      The Feb. 5 Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses in 22
      states, which once looked likely to effectively settle
      the race, instead produced a near-equal delegate

      That left Obama and Clinton facing the likelihood of a
      grind-it-out competition lasting into spring — if not
      to the summer convention itself.

      With the night's events, 29 of the 50 states have
      selected delegates.

      Two more — Michigan and Florida — held renegade
      primaries and the Democratic National Committee has
      vowed not to seat any delegates chosen at either of

      Maine, with 24 delegates, holds caucuses on Sunday.
      Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia and
      voting by Americans overseas are next, on Tuesday,
      with 175 combined.

      Then follows a brief intermission, followed by a
      string of election nights, some crowded, some not.

      The date of March 4 looms large, 370 delegates in
      primaries in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont.

      Mississippi is alone in holding a primary one week
      later, with a relatively small 33 delegates at stake.

      Puerto Rico anchors the Democratic calendar, with 55
      delegates chosen in caucuses on June 7.

      People were turned away from a University of Maine
      student center Saturday morning as Clinton spoke to a
      capacity crowd of about 1,750 people. She urged
      supporters to participate in Sunday's caucuses.

      "This is your chance to be part of helping Maine pick
      a president," she said. "So I hope even if you've
      never, ever caucused before, tomorrow will be your
      first time ... because there is so much at stake in
      this election."

      Obama, also campaigning in Maine, looked ahead to the
      general election, criticizing Republican McCain
      without mentioning his Democratic rival.

      McCain initially "stood up to George Bush and opposed
      his first cuts," Obama said at Nicky's Diner in
      Bangor. Now the GOP senator is calling for continuing
      those tax cuts, which grant significant breaks to
      high-income taxpayers, "in his rush to embrace the
      worst of the Bush legacy."

      If Super Tuesday failed to settle the campaign, it
      produced a remarkable surge in fundraising.

      Obama's aides announced he had raised more than $7
      million on line in the two days that followed.

      Clinton disclosed she had loaned her campaign $5
      million late last month in an attempt to counter her
      rival's Super Tuesday television advertising. She
      raised more than $6 million in the two days after the
      busiest night in primary history.

      The television ad wars continued unabated.

      Obama has been airing commercials for more than a week
      in television markets serving every state that has a
      contest though Feb 19.

      Clinton began airing ads midweek in Washington state,
      Maine and Nebraska, and added Maryland, Virginia and
      the District of Columbia on Friday.

      The exit poll was conducted by Edison Media Research
      and Mitofsky International for The Associated Press
      and the television networks.
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