News, March 2008
Obama beats Clinton in Mississippi primary as expected
www.chinaview.cn 2008-03-12 08:32:55
WASHINGTON, March 11 (Xinhua) --
U.S. Democratic Senator Barack Obama of Illinois beat Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York in Tuesday's Mississippi primary, which is racially polarized.
With 88 percent of the precincts reporting, Obama led Clinton 59 percent to 39 percent.
Obama, an African-American, had been expected to win, given the demographic factors favorable to him.
The state has a larger proportion of African-Americans (37 percent of the total population) than any other state in the country.
Black voters make up nearly 70 percent of registered Democrats.
The state's Democratic voters were sharply divided among racial lines, exit polls indicate.
As has been the case in many primary states, Obama won overwhelming support from African-American voters. They went for him over Clinton 91-9 percent.
But Mississippi white voters overwhelmingly backed the New York senator, supporting her over Obama 72 percent to 21 percent.
Only two other primary states were as racially polarized -- neighboring Alabama, and Clinton's former home state of Arkansas.
In the Tuesday's race, Obama will collect a majority of the 33 delegates at stake, but Clinton will also garner a share because the delegate allocation will be proportional, not winner take all.
"What we've tried to do is steadily make sure that in each state we are making the case about the need for change in this country. Obviously the people in Mississippi responded," Obama told CNN after his win.
When asked if he thinks his contest against Clinton has gotten "too nasty," he replied:
"I've been careful to say that I think Sen. Clinton is a capable person and that should she win the nomination, obviously I would support her," Obama said.
"I'm not sure we've been getting that same approach from the Clinton campaign," he added.
However, Obama said he's sure Democrats can reunite because the nation needs "a significant shift from the Bush policies" and Sen.John McCain of Arizona, the Republican presumptive nominee for president, "represents a continuation."
Clinton's campaign issued a statement congratulating Obama on his win, and said they "look forward to campaigning in Pennsylvania and around the country as this campaign continues."
Pennsylvania is the next battleground for the Democrats. It holds its primary on April 22 and has 158 delegates at stake.
Obama's victory in Mississippi further demonstrated his appeal in the Deep South, but also added fuel to Clinton's argument that his success in the nomination race is built tenuously on states where Democrats face dim prospects in November.
His win in Mississippi, together with his 24-percentage-point victory in Wyoming's caucuses last Saturday, are his latest triumphs in smaller states.
However, if history is any guide, that will be irrelevant to Democrats in the general election.
Mississippi has not voted for a Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976 while Lyndon Johnson, in 1964, was the last Democrat to win Wyoming.
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