Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton split a pair of New England primaries Tuesday night and vied for bigger prizes in Ohio and Texas in a riveting Democratic presidential race. Arizona Sen. John McCain, an unflinching supporter of the war in Iraq, clinched the Republican nomination.
"We are in Iraq and our most vital security interests are involved there," said McCain at a victory celebration nearly a decade in the making.
Obama won Vermont's Democratic primary, gaining nearly 60 percent of the vote for a 12th straight victory over the former first lady.
Hillary Clinton has been declared the winner of the Democratic primary in Rhode Island giving her one race out of four with contests in Ohio and Texas still undecided.
With eight percent of the vote counted, Clinton had 53 percent of the vote, compared to 45 percent for Barack Obama.
Obama was declared the winner in Vermont earlier in the evening. The races in Ohio and Texas are still too close to call.
With Arizona Sen. John McCain clinching the Republican nomination, former Arizona Gov. Mike Huckabee dropped out of the race Tuesday night, saying he ran a good race and did not want to call it quits until the race was officially over.
Huckabee spoke to supporters shortly after McCain officially clinched the nomination, surpassing the required 1,191 votes needed for the Republican nomination.
Huckabee compared his race to a stalled computer, saying it was "time to hit the reset button."
John McCain, the Arizona Senator declared DOA last summer, clinched the Republican nomination for President Tuesday, clinching primaries in Ohio, Vermont, Rhode Island and Texas.
McCain now has more than 1,200 delegates pledged, including those originally pledged to former candidate Mitt Romney, who withdrew and endorsed McCain. He needed 1,191 to clinch.
Mike Huckabee is expected to withdraw from the race on Wednesday.
While Republicans appear settled on a nominee, Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continue to battle it out in Texas and Ohio. With polls closed in both states, the race is still considered too close to call.
Democratic Presidential frontrunner Barack Obama won an easy victory in Vermont Tuesday, giving him 12 straight primary wins but early returns in Ohio appear to give Hillary Clinton a new lease on her political life.
John McCain won handily in Vermont and Ohio and appeared well on his way to officially capturing the GOP nomination.
Polls closed in East Texas at 8 p.m. EST and Obama held a 100,000 edge with 1 percent of the vote in. West Texas polls close at 9 p.m. EST.
A week ago, a surging Barack Obama looked towards today's primary races in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont as deal closers -- the elections that would send Hillary Clinton packing and seal his drive towards the Democratic Presidential nomination.
Today, with lingering questions about his ties to a corrupt Chicago deal maker and conflicting reports about what his trade adviser may or may not have told the Canadian government, Obama could hit a roadblock on his road to inevitability.
As in past elections, Obama's chances for another round of primary wins depends heavily on turnout. Early voting in Texas shows signs of a record count and long lines at polling places are expected in the other states but polls in Ohio and the Lone Star state show a race that is deadlocked.
Tracking polls suggest Obama's race may be stuttering under the glare of increased scrutiny but -- as New Hampshire and other states have shown in this unpredictable primary season -- polls don't always predict the final outcome.
My part of the country -- deep South Texas -- doesn't usually get as much political attention as it has gotten during the last two weeks. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama both addressed large crowds here, Ted Kennedy rallied Obama supporters on the campus of the college where I work, and Bill Clinton has been to town twice.
But the stakes down here are high; by the time you read this, the Texas Democratic Party primary (March 4) could be over, and so could Clinton's campaign.
Most Americans have simple dreams. A job that can support a family. Health care we can count on and afford. A retirement that is dignified and secure. Education and opportunity for our kids.
But today, the price of the American dream is going up.
All across the country, Americans are working harder for less. We've never paid more for health care or for college. It's harder to save, and it's harder to retire. There are things we need to do right now to give our economy a boost, but a short-term stimulus is not enough. We have to put the American dream on a firmer foundation.
Each week, I receive at least one letter or e-mail from a white person asking me to explain why blacks hyphenate their identity, referring to themselves as African-Americans. And each week, I receive a least one correspondence admonishing blacks for bringing up the past. "I didn't own slaves, and I'm sick and tired of you people always whining about old history," one man wrote the other day. "We need to be one nation and one people."
Barack Obama's senior economic policy advisor threw a monkey wrench into the Democratic frontrunner's smooth-running campaign machine recently by telling Canadian government officials the candidate's tough talk on NAFTA was just campaign rhetoric.
The campaign turned up the spin machine Sunday in an effort to blunt a memo about the meeting, saying the Canadian official who wrote the memo misquoted Obama policy advisor Austan Goolsbee.
Suggestions of campaign doublespeak come as Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton head into crucial big state primaries in Texas and Ohio.