McCain clinches; Clinton rallies, checking Obama's momentum
She wins three of four March 4 primaries, reviving her campaign and setting the stage for a long duel for the Democratic nomination.
WASHINGTON – Tuesday closed the book on the race for the Republican presidential nomination, with Arizona Sen. John McCain winning four states and the last batch of delegates needed to become his party's standard-bearer in November.Skip to next paragraph
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For Democrats, a day that stood to bring similar clarity ended in further indecision.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton reversed an 11-contest losing streak with victories in Ohio, Texas, and Rhode Island, resurrecting her campaign and making a credible case for continuing a difficult fight against Sen. Barack Obama.
Though Senator McCain's triumph had been expected since Super Tuesday a month ago, his sealing of the nomination is a remarkable vindication for a man whose campaign was taken for dead over the summer.
President Bush is expected to endorse McCain at the White House Wednesday, a symbolic step that analysts say will help unite the party and win over conservatives skeptical of the independent-minded senator.
"Now we begin the most important part of our campaign – to make a respectful, determined, and convincing case to the American people that our campaign and my election as president … are in the best interests of the country we love," McCain told supporters Tuesday in Dallas.
For Senator Clinton, the seven weeks until the next major primary, in Pennsylvania on April 22, buy her ample time to raise money, sharpen attacks on her rival, and convince the elected officials and party leaders known as superdelegates that she is still a contender.
Clinton narrowly won the primary in Texas, which saw a record turnout of more than 3.5 million voters. But Senator Obama was ahead early Wednesday in the state's post-primary caucus, which divvies up 67 of the state's 193 pledged delegates.
Clinton would have been hard-pressed to go on without winning at least one of the two big states, analysts said. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had set an even higher bar, saying victories were essential in both Texas and Ohio.
"She's back," Linda Fowler, a government professor at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., said of Clinton. "This gives substance to her claim that she wins in populous states like California, and he wins in the little insignificant 'red' states. It just keeps things very confused."
The day offered Clinton a bright spot ahead of another challenging week. Wyoming's Democrats, who caucus on Saturday, vote in the club of red states Obama has dominated. In Mississippi, which votes March 11, more than half the Democratic primary voters are African-American.