Hillary Pulls Off Victories in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island ; Huckabee Concedes

Hillary Clinton had chance to regroup after a string of defeats and take decisive victories in Ohio and Texas, where it counted most. She also won in Rhode Island while Obama took Vermont.

Hillary’s dogged, workmanlike and feisty campaign held back the vaunted Obama charisma, grassroots network and funding advantage, proving once again that Clinton has clout in the big states. Capitalizing on record turnouts, the Clinton campaign was able to draw support from recognized pro-Hillary blocs , namely women, white, blue-collar and older voters and Hispanics is Texas.

The Democrat slugfest remains close, however, as the endgame nears. On the G.O.P. side, John McCain wrapped up the party nomination as Mike Huckabee conceded defeat and endorsed his rival for the presidency.

What did the results reveal about the Democratic candidates’ strengths and weaknesses ? Clinton bested Barack among women, less-affluent whites, Latinos, and older voters. Obama got the youth vote, African-Americans and the upscale voters. Both camps are now girding for the next big primary in Pennsylvania.

Right now, both candidates will be looking closely at how they poll against McCain, to determine their “winnability” come November. This will also determine how they will fare among superdelegates – eminent Democrats who are given automatic seats in the party convention and who will determine the outcome of such a close race. Obama now has around 1,299 delegates, compared with 1,180 for Clinton, both still far short of the 2,025 needed to claim the party nomination.

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