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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ohio, Texas, Vermont and R.I. Results - Live Blogging

George Wenschhof

Well, this will be interesting to follow, for the results will either pressure Hillary Clinton to withdraw or redoubled her resolve to seek the democratic nomination. Will NAFTA-gate, the Rezko trial, and the experience to lead on day one argument slow the Obama momentum? Or will "It's time for a change in Washington" and "Yes We Can" prevail today?

370 Pledged delegates and another 74 superdelegates are up for grabs.

The Breakdown:

Ohio: 141 Pledged and 20 superdelegates
Texas: 193 Pledged and 35 superdelegates
Rhode Island: 21 Pledged and 11 superdelegates
Vermont: 15 Pledged and 8 superdelegates
Totals: 370 Pledged and 74 superdelegates

Current Totals:

Obama: 1392: 1193 Pledged and 199 superdelegates
Clinton: 1279: 1038 Pledged and 241 superdelegates

Vermont Polls close at 7:00 PM ET, Ohio close at 7:30 PM ET, Rhode Island and Texas at 9:00 PM ET. Texas has caucuses after their polls close.

Here is an early story about Republicans crossing over to vote for a Democrat. Which candidate will benefit? I never liked the idea of open primaries. Why should another political party determine your party candidate?

Another story talks about both democratic campaigns complaining about the other in regard to the caucuses in Texas. -caucus-signin-fracas-par.html

7:10 PM ET NBC calls Vermont for Obama. This was expected as he was polling 30+ points ahead of Clinton.
7:50 PM The first exit polls I have seen show Ohio, Texas, and Rhode Island all virtually a tie - no surprise

The Ohio exit polls are showing 30% of those who voted Democratic were Independents or Republicans which supports the earlier story I referenced. Same exit polls also showing white women over 50 voting heavily for Clinton, younger voters and african-american for Obama. Obama requested voting to be extended in three locations in Ohio due to bad weather and lack of ballots and a Judge agreed to extend to 9:00 PM ET.

More exit polls - #1 issue of voters is the Economy. A question on if one candidate unfairly attacked the other, 52% of the voters in Ohio and Texas said Clinton and for Obama it was 33% - Ohio and 36% - Texas

Reportedly, a behind the scenes battle is unfolding pertaining to a group of superdelegates set to announce their support for Obama and the Clinton campaign working to stop it:

An interesting piece of information I just picked up from Chuck Todd, political director at NBC - In Texas, 126 of the delegates are won by state districts and the other 67 delegates by the caucuses which amazingly, can have their precinct captains mail in their results as late as Friday - How weird is this? Who wins the delegate count in Texas will most likely not be known until the weekend or next week.

Although the polls in Texas close in ten mintes, they have early voting and with 1% being reported Obama has 56% and Clinton - 43% Likewise in Ohio where Clinton has 59% and Obama 38%.

With wins in Rhode Island and Texas, Republican Senator John McCain (Ariz) has now won enough delegates to be the nominee. Tomorrow, he is expected to receive an endorsement from President George W. Bush.

First Democratic numbers from R.I. with 1% reporting: Clinton - 52%, Obama - 47% 9:25 PM ET NBC calls Rhode Island for Clinton. 13% being reported 53% Clinton, 46% Obama

9:35 PM Ohio 12% reporting, Clinton - 60% Obama - 37%. Texas 4% reporting Obama - 53% Clinton 46%

If Clinton wins Ohio and Rhode Island and stays close in Texas, her campaign will want to continue. Her campaign is already complaining on irregularities in the vote in Texas. She will make the argument of winning the big states and on to Pa. as well as push for a do-over primary in Florida-which Gov. Chris has shown his agreement here, and also Michigan.

However, the Obama campaign will claim no real change in delegate count and will push their lined up 50 superdelegates to come out and show their support. This, along with democratic party leaders concerned that now the Republicans having their nominee if the democratic primary race would continue, it could help the Republicans. The spin is already going and the results are not in yet.

McCain gives his acceptence speech, reportedly Obama calls him, congratulates him and says he is looking forward to facing him in the general election.

10:00 PM 27% reporting in Ohio Clinton 58% Obama 41% 10% reporting in Texas Obama 51% Clinton 48%

10:31 PM 39% in Ohio - Clinton 58% Obama 41% This number is holding steady early. Texas 17% in - Obama 50% Clinton 49% This is mostly the early vote being reported.

More exit polls; Texas Hispanic voters 63% - Clinton, 35% - Obama White women 59% Clinton, 40% Obama. White men 50% Clinton, 49% Obama

50% in for Ohio 57% Clinton 41% Obama 22% in for Texas 49% Obama 49% Clinton

10:52 PM msnbc calls Ohio for Clinton with 53% reporting. This was a needed win by Clinton and along with Rhode Island, she will most likely make her case to continue on regardless of the Texas outcome. We might not know Texas results until tomorrow and as mentioned earlier, the delegate split will not be known for up to another week.

11:00 PM with 33% of the vote in for Texas, Clinton has taken a slim lead 50% to 48% for Obama.

11:18 PM Clinton is speaking in Ohio thanking the voters. We are going on and all the way! Talks about experience and the ability to turn the economy around. Millions of Americans have not spoken yet and they should have their opportunity to do so. This doesn't sound like someone who will drop out of the race. Reportedly she is heading to DC tomorrow to meet with campaign staff. She is now talking about an economy that helps the working men and women and a energy policy that makes sense. Talks again about security and the 3 AM call. She congratulates McCain and says she looks forward to a serious and substantive debate with him. Says she looks forward to continuing the dialogue with Senator Obama in the weeks to come. Plays on the Obama phrase of "Yes We Can" but says "Yes We Will"! A good speech.

11:40 PM Senator Obama now is speaking from San Antonio, Texas, congratulates Clinton for her victories in Ohio and R. I. He says Texas is too close to call but they have the delegate lead and will continue to have the delegate lead after today. We were told this was not possible - then Iowa said Yes We Can! We are ready to write the next great chapter in America. He talked about how in the next weeks the debate will begin with Senator John McCain - By saying this, he is discounting Clinton staying in the race or having a chance for the democratic nomination. A good strategy. he is hammering on the failed policies of the Bush adminstration. We want new leadership and change in America. He now lumps Clinton in with McCain - not sure how his saying this will play out when the Clinton spin masters get done with this part of his speech. Also a good speech.

12:06 AM 59% reporting in Texas, Clinton 50% Obama 48% we will report numbers here later in the morning.
Update - Clinton with 51% wins Texas with 99% precinct of vote being reported to Obama with 47% Winning three out of four states puts Clinton back in the race.

Will the democratic race go all the way until Puerto Rico on June 7th and will Michigan and Florida have do-over primaries in mid June? Stay tuned!

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