Obama, Huckabee score big in Saturday races

WASHINGTON DC (CBS/AP) -- Illinois senator Barack Obama will be the winner of all Democratic contests on Saturday, defeating New York senator Hillary Clinton in the Louisiana primary and caucuses in Nebraska and Washington state.

Obama also won caucuses in the Virgin Islands, completing his best night of the campaign.

"Today, voters from the West Coast to the Gulf Coast to the heart of America stood up to say 'yes we can'" Obama told a cheering audience of Democrats at a party dinner in Richmond, Va.

Obama's winning margins ranged from substantial to crushing.

In Louisiana, Obama led Clinton, 57 percent to 36 percent, with almost all precincts reporting. In Nebraska, Obama won 68 percent to 32 percent for Clinton. In Washington, Obama had 68 percent to 31 percent with almost all precincts reporting.

On the Republican side in Lousiana, CBS News projects former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee will win over Arizona senator John McCain. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Huckabee led by almost 3,000 votes.

However, Huckabee does not receive any delegates from his primary win. The Louisiana Republican party requires that a candidate receive 50 percent to win delegates. Huckabee got 44 percent of the vote, to McCain's 42 percent. The rest of the vote was split between Texas Rep. Ron Paul, and to candidates who have dropped out of the race — Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson. Thus, 20 Louisiana delegates will go to the convention uncommitted.

Huckabee also won the Kansas Republican caucuses by a comfortable margin on Saturday afternoon. In Washington, McCain led Huckabee 26 percent to 24 percent with 78 percent of precincts reporting.

Obama and Clinton competed for Democratic convention delegates as they remain locked in a landmark struggle for the party's presidential nomination.

"These were important wins for Obama," said CBSNews.com senior political editor Vaughn Ververs. "The one thing that has been missing in the Democratic contest is momentum. With his Saturday sweep and very favorable contests coming up Tuesday in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC, Obama may be on the verge of some big 'mo. While the delegate split is almost certain to keep the race tight, these wins cannot be overlooked."

In the race for delegates, CBS News estimates that Clinton has 1,114 delegates to Obama's 1,102. It takes 2,025 delegates to win the nomination. Click here to see the latest updated state-by-state delegate scorecard.

In Louisiana, the economy was the top issue for 47 percent of Democratic primary voters, according to early CBS News exit polls, followed by the Iraq war at 27 percent and health care at 23 percent. Nearly 90 percent said the economy is in bad shape.

The most important quality in a candidate for Louisiana Democratic voters was the ability to bring change, cited by over half of respondents. Nineteen percent were looking for someone with the right experience, 16 percent wanted someone who cares about them, and seven percent wanted a candidate who could win.

According to the exit polls, 49 percent of voters in the Louisiana Democratic primary were black, and 82 percent of them backed Obama. Among white voters, 70 percent backed Clinton to 26 percent for Obama.

Among Republicans in Louisiana, according to CBS News early exit polls, 49 percent of Republicans said they were looking for a candidate who shares their values. Twenty-one percent said they wanted a candidate who says what he believes and 20 percent said they were looking for someone with the right experience. Ten percent said they wanted someone with the best chance to win in November.

Roughly three-quarters of Republican voters in the state felt positively about the Bush administration, and the same percentage approved of the war in Iraq.

The economy was the number one issue for Louisiana's Republican voters, cited by 33 percent of respondents, followed by illegal immigration at 24 percent and terrorism at 20 percent each. Seventeen percent said the war in Iraq.

Conservatives in Louisiana went for Huckabee over McCain 51 percent to 36 percent, according to the exit polls. McCain is winning among Republican moderates 55 percent to 29 percent.

Huckabee's fortunes once again are carried by white evangelical voters. They are voting 57 percent to 33 percent for Huckabee over McCain.

Huckabee's win in Kansas came a few hours after telling conservatives in Washington, "I majored in miracles, and I still believe in them."

Huckabee took 60 percent of the vote, followed by McCain with 24 percent and Paul with 11 percent. Huckabee won all 36 delegates at stake.

The results are a "pretty significant signal to John McCain that he's got a lot of work to do to get significant factions of the Republican Party solidly behind him," said Kansas Republican Party Chairman Kris Kobach.

In the Republican race for delegates, McCain leads with 706 delegates, to 201 for Huckabee, according to CBS News estimates. It takes 1,191 to secure the nomination. Click here for the full GOP race delegate scorecard..

The Democrats' race was as close as the Republicans' was not, a contest between Obama, hoping to become the first black president, and Clinton, campaigning to become the first female commander in chief.

The two rivals contest primaries on Tuesday in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, all states where Obama and his campaign are hopeful of winning.

At the speech in Richmond, Obama jabbed simultaneously at Clinton and McCain, saying the election was a choice between debating the Republican nominee-in-waiting "about who has the most experience in Washington, or debating him about who's most likely to change Washington. Because that's a debate we can win."

Clinton preceded Obama to the podium. She did not refer to the night's voting, instead turning against McCain. "We have tried it President Bush's way," she said, "and now the Republicans have chosen more of the same."

She left quickly after her speech, departing before Obama's arrival. But his supporters made their presence known, sending up chants of "Obama" from the audience as she made her way offstage.

McCain cleared his path to the party nomination earlier in the week with a string of Super Tuesday victories that drove former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney from the race. He spent the rest of the week trying to reassure skeptical conservatives, at the same time party leaders quickly closed ranks behind him.

His Kansas defeat aside, McCain also suffered a symbolic defeat when Romney edged him out in a straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference meeting across town from the White House.

The day's contests opened a new phase in the Democratic race between Clinton and Obama.

The Feb. 5 Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses in 22 states, which once looked likely to effectively settle the race, instead produced a near-equal delegate split.

That left Obama and Clinton facing the likelihood of a grind-it-out competition lasting into spring — if not to the summer convention itself.

With the night's events, 29 of the 50 states have selected delegates.

Two more — Michigan and Florida — held renegade primaries and the Democratic National Committee has vowed not to seat any delegates chosen at either of them.

Maine, with 24 delegates, holds caucuses on Sunday. Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia and voting by Americans overseas are next, on Tuesday, with 175 combined.

Then follows a brief intermission, followed by a string of election nights, some crowded, some not.

The date of March 4 looms large, 370 delegates in primaries in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Mississippi is alone in holding a primary one week later, with a relatively small 33 delegates at stake.

Puerto Rico anchors the Democratic calendar, with 55 delegates chosen in caucuses on June 7.

If Super Tuesday failed to settle the campaign, it produced a remarkable surge in fundraising.

Obama's aides announced he had raised more than $7 million on line in the two days that followed.

Clinton disclosed she had loaned her campaign $5 million late last month in an attempt to counter her rival's Super Tuesday television advertising. She raised more than $6 million in the two days after the busiest night in primary history.

The television ad wars continued unabated.

Obama has been airing commercials for more than a week in television markets serving every state that has a contest though Feb 19.

Clinton began airing ads midweek in Washington state, Maine and Nebraska, and added Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia on Friday.

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