Obama, McCain Win Wisconsin Primaries
Obama, McCain Win Wisconsin Primaries
POSTED: 7:41 am MST February 19, 2008
UPDATED: 7:59 pm MST February 19, 2008
CHICAGO -- Barack Obama won the Wisconsin primary
Tuesday night, his ninth straight triumph over Hillary
Clinton in their epic struggle for the Democratic
presidential nomination, while John McCain won the
Republican primary with ease over former Arkansas Gov.
Obama, speaking from delegate-rich Texas, welcomed the
news and exhorted thousands of supporters at a Houston
rally to vote on that state's March 4 primary.
"The change we seek is still months and miles away,
and we need the good people of Texas to help us get
there," Obama said, vowing to "fight for every
delegate it takes."
"It is going to take more than big rallies," he said.
Obama cut deeply into Clinton's political bedrock,
splitting the support of white women almost evenly
with the former first lady and running well among
working-class voters in a blue-collar battleground,
according to polling place interviews.
The economy and trade were key issues in the race, and
seven in 10 voters said international trade has
resulted in lost jobs in Wisconsin. Fewer than one in
five said trade has created more jobs than it has
The Associated Press made its calls based on surveys
of voters as they left the polls.
In a scarcely veiled attack on Obama, the Republican
nominee-in-waiting said, "I will fight every moment of
every day in this campaign to make sure that Americans
are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for
Independents cast about one-quarter of the ballots in
the race between Obama and Clinton, and roughly 15
percent of the electorate were first-time voters, the
survey said. Obama has run strongly among independents
in earlier primaries, and among younger voters, and
cited their support as evidence that he would make a
stronger general election candidate in the fall.
Wisconsin offered 74 national convention delegates.
There were 20 delegates at stake in caucuses in
Hawaii, where Obama spent part of his youth.
Obama began the night with 1,281 delegates in the AP
count, and Clinton with 1,218. It takes 2,025 to win
the nomination at the party's national convention in
Obama began the evening with eight straight primary
and caucus victories, a remarkable run that has
propelled him past Clinton in the overall delegate
race and enabled him to chip away at her advantage
among elected officials within the party who will have
convention votes as superdelegates.
The Democrats' focus on trade was certain to
intensify, with primaries in Ohio in two weeks and in
Pennsylvania on April 22.
Obama's campaign has already distributed mass mailings
critical of Clinton on the issue in Ohio. "Bad trade
deals like NAFTA hit Ohio harder than most states.
Only Barack Obama consistently opposed NAFTA," it
Obama was in Texas, which has primaries and caucuses
on March 4, and Clinton was in Ohio as the votes were
counted in Wisconsin.
"Both Sen. Obama and I would make history," the former
first lady said in Youngstown," Ohio. "But only one of
us is ready on day one to be commander-in-chief, ready
to manage our economy, and ready to defeat the
"Only one of us has spent 35 years being a doer, a
fighter and a champion for those who need a voice."
Clinton's aides initially signaled she would virtually
concede Wisconsin, and the former first lady spent
less time in the state than Obama.
Even so, she ran a television ad that accused her
rival of ducking a debate in the state and added that
she had the only health care plan that would cover all
Americans and the only economic plan to stop home
foreclosures. "Maybe he'd prefer to give speeches than
have to answer questions" the commercial said.
Even before the votes were tallied in one state, the
campaigners were looking ahead.
Texas and Ohio hold primaries on March 4, and some of
Clinton's backers have said the one-time front-runner
cannot afford to lose either. Already, she and Obama
have begun advertising in Texas, with 193 delegates,
and Ohio, with 141, and both visited the two states in
the days before Wisconsin primary.
The Pennsylvania primary, with 158 delegates, is April
22, the last big state to vote.
In the Republican race, McCain's Wisconsin victory
came with at least 13 of the 24 delegates at stake.
That left him with 921, and Huckabee with 245.
Unlike the Democratic race, McCain was assured of the
Republican nomination and concentrated on turning his
primary campaign into a general election candidacy.
Huckabee parried occasional suggestions - none of them
by McCain - that he quit the race. In a move that was
unorthodox if not unprecedented for a presidential
contender, he left the country in recent days to make
a paid speech in the Grand Cayman Islands.
McCain picked up endorsements from former President
George H.W. Bush and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt
Romney, a campaign dropout who urged his 280 delegates
to swing behind the party's nominee-to-be.