Obama, McCain win Wisconsin primary

Democrat Barack Obama beat rival Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin on Tuesday, extending his presidential winning streak and putting pressure on Clinton to win next month in Ohio and Texas to salvage her campaign.

Obama, McCain win Wisconsin primary

The Obama win in Wisconsin pushed his hot streak to nine straight victories in Democratic nominating contests. Democrats in Hawaii, where Obama was born and is a heavy favorite, also vote on Tuesday.

Up for grabs in the two states are a combined 94 delegates to the August convention that selects the Democratic presidential nominee in November's election. Obama has a slight lead in pledged delegates won in state presidential contests.

Republican front-runner John McCain also won in Wisconsin, taking another big step toward becoming his party's nominee in November's presidential election.

McCain, an Arizona senator, beat his last remaining major rival, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, to expand his huge and essentially insurmountable lead in delegates.

"Thank you Wisconsin for bringing us to the point where even a superstitious naval aviator can claim with providence and humility that I will be our party's nominee for president," McCain, a former Navy fighter pilot and Vietnam prisoner of war, told supporters in Columbus, Ohio.

Obama's win in Wisconsin was meaningful because it came in a state with a large population of the blue-collar workers and rural voters who have been a big part of Clinton's constituency.

The primary also was an open contest allowing participation by Republicans and independents, not the small, closed caucus states where Obama has performed well.

Democrats open their caucuses for presidential preference voting in Hawaii at 7 p.m. HST (midnight EST/0500 GMT on Wednesday).

In the Democratic race, Obama and Clinton already have turned their attention to March 4 contests in two of the biggest states, Ohio and Texas, which have a rich lode of 334 convention delegates at stake.

Democrats look ahead

Clinton is the early favourite in both, although one public opinion poll in Texas on Monday showed the race in a statistical dead heat. Clinton campaigned in Ohio and Obama in Texas on Tuesday.

In San Antonio, Obama touted his plan to target predatory lenders and give tax credits to homeowners struggling to cover their mortgage. He criticized Clinton's proposal to freeze the monthly rate on existing adjustable rate mortgages.

"It will reward people who made this problem worse but it will also reward people who are wealthy and don't need it," Obama said.

Clinton spokesman Jay Carson said Obama was out of touch with average Americans and sounding like President George W. Bush. "Senator Clinton's plan only helps subprime borrowers, a population that is disproportionately low-income," he said.

The pair's hard-fought nominating duel featured a sharp exchange on Monday over Obama's uncredited use of speech lines from a friend and ally, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Obama said he should have credited Patrick but dismissed the controversy as no big deal.

But Clinton said the incident cast doubt on the authenticity of Obama's rhetoric -- one of the Illinois senator's biggest selling points.

"The real issue here is, if your entire candidacy is about words, they should be your own words," Clinton, a New York senator and former first lady, said in a satellite interview with a Hawaii television station.

Republicans in Washington state also hold a primary, which is the second half of their two-tiered nominating contest. The state's Republicans held a caucus on Feb. 9, won narrowly by McCain.

Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Şubat 2008, 16:39
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