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How Sweep It Is for Obama and McCain.

We'll be updating here, as per usual, on big primary nights, as Obama and Clinton, and McCain and Huckabee square off. Dennis Kucinich and Duncan Hunter, we hardly knew ye. All times below ET.

To comment or read more, go to blog

10:40: Adam Nagourney in The New York Times: "The lopsided nature of Senator Barack Obama's parade of victories on Tuesday gives him an opening to make the case that Democratic voters have broken in his favor and that the party should coalesce around his candidacy."

More importantly, the AP delegate count now shows Obama in the lead (even counting super-delegates) for the first time in the campaign.

9:40: Obama takes Maryland and McCain is given Virginia and Maryland.

9:15: Tim Russert does math, showing that Obama has better chance in Texas than people think -- in 2004, 20% of vote in Dem primary came from blacks, and that is sure to rise now. Andrea Mitchell, meanwhile, got off good line, after revealing that Obama had taken a lot of white male voters from Clinton tonight: "This prove white men CAN jump."

8:40: Nothing much new, McCain and Huckabee still even in Virginia.

Big dustup at MSNBC over wildly misreported there (and earlier on blogs and elsewhere) quote by Gov. Ed Rendell, a big Clinton backer, who simply said that "some" Democrats in his state of Pennsylvania will not vote for Obama because of his race. This seems like a slam-dunk, but commentators have alleged that he was saying that large numbers felt that way or that Obama could not carry the state. But Rendell in his remarks (to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board, as passed along by Tony Norman) clearly said he was talking about no more than 3% and probably less of the voters. Who, not wearing rose-colored glasses, would argue with that? But many have.

After much outrage expressed by MSNBC by Andrea Mitchell and others, Chris Matthews of all people stepped iin to save the day, later pointing out that Rendell's statement was actually "unexceptional."

7:15: All the networks call Virginia for Obama, hinting at a landslide, with solid white vote this time -- at least according to exit polls. Huckabee in close fight with McCain.

Interesting bit: Virginia is open primary and exit polls show 30% of Obama's vote came from indies and Republicans. So speculation that this flocking to him left the GOP side ultra-conservative, helping Huck.

7:55: Maryland keeping polls open until 9:30 due to weather. Chris Matthews says his son took bus down from NYC just to vote. Reports of massive lines everywhere in all three states/districts.

Landslide for Obama seems to be in the cards, Hillary is in Texas, looking ahead, not back. She just needed a fairly close showing tonight, which will probably be denied.

6:55: More exit polls on TV suggest a pretty fair white vote for Obama and the anchors keep hinting that he is doing well overall. Fox's exit polls show Hillary barely beating Obama among whites -- and actually losing within her base of women and seniors. If so we are talking backbreaking landslide. If not: More fibbing to pollsters.

Exit polls from Virginia seem to suggest the Huckabee may do well, with larger share of conservatives voting compared to four years ago.

Chuck Todd on MSNBC doing math on delegates: Obama needs about a net pickup of 25 to be able to claim that he is now clearly in the lead, counting the super-delegates.

Linda Caputo, the former Hillary press secretary, on CNN makes the outrageous claim that she really "won" Michigan and Florida in a true fight. Wolf Blitzer four times pushes back that they were not real contests -- Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan -- but she holds firm. This type of arrogance may cost Clinton votes in long run.

Asked why Obama keeps sweeping caucus states, she replies, "He used to be a community organizer." Yeah, that's the ticket.

6:00: As usual, exit polls in the day's presidential primaries started leaking out in late afternoon for the "Potomac" showdown in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. Sometimes they carry actually voting patterns (frequently wrong) or just general trends on issues and demographics.

Fox News suggest this will be a "big" day for Obama and McCain.

CNN reveals that Republican voters who frequently listen to talk radio are backing Mike Huckabee nearly two to one (42 percent to 23 percent for McCain). It's about 2-1 for Huckabee among evangelicals, too.

Here's AP's summary:

As they helped decide whether their party will nominate the first woman or first black for president, more than eight in 10 voters in the Maryland and Virginia Democratic primaries said the country is ready to elect a black or female president.

Democratic voters in Virginia were a little more likely than their counterparts in Maryland to say the country "definitely" was ready for a black or female president, rather than just "probably" ready.

Blacks in Virginia were a little less likely than whites there to say the country is ready to elect a female president.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Blacks made up more than a third of the Democratic electorate in Maryland, a little less than that in Virginia. In both states women outnumbered men in the Democratic contests. Men and women were pretty evenly divided in the Republican primaries in both states.

ISSUES

Voters in both parties in both states most often picked the economy as the most important issue facing the country.

From partial samples conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International in 30 precincts each in Maryland and Virginia for The Associated Press and television networks. Sample sizes: Maryland Democratic 790; Maryland Republican 439; Virginia Democratic 864; Virginia Republican 461. *To comment or read more, go to blog
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Author:Mitchell, Greg
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Date:Feb 12, 2008
Words:968
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