John McCain entered Super-Duper Tuesday with two goals — one obvious and concrete, the other more ephemeral but no less important in the long run. The first of McCain’s aims was to secure enough delegates in the 21 states in which Republicans voted to more or less lock up his party’s nomination. And the second was to win so decisively, so convincingly, that he could turn to the braying, hard-right, anti-McCain caucus and say, in effect: “Hello, people, lookee here, the party has rallied around me; it’s time for you either to get on the bus or shut the fuck up.”
If you thought race would disappear from the Democratic campaign after the controversies in South Carolina, you were horribly mistaken. This issue returned with a vengeance after last night’s Super Tuesday returns showed a stark racial divide among voters for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Barack continued to garner around 80 percent of black support, while Hillary took a strong majority of Latino and Asian voters, who turned out to be especially important in California. Whites, however, seemed to split along gender lines, further confusing things. Opinions on all this abound.
Good morning! How late did you stay up watching the Super Tuesday results come in? Did you make it to Minnesota? All the way to California? Well, now more than 90 percent of precincts are reported in all the states, and the results are more solid. John McCain has strengthened his lead on the Republican side, winning in nine states and pulling in an estimated 613 delegates. Romney, who won six states, pulled in only 269, and Huckabee, who was stronger last night than many expected, still earned only 190 delegates. On the Democratic side, things were much less clear. Late in the evening, Hillary pulled out a win by 10 percent in the hotly contested California race, putting her state total at eight and her estimated delegate total at 845. Obama won thirteen states and 765 delegates. That's still far short of the 2,025 needed for a win, so we've got a long way to go. Both had strong wins in their home states of New York and Illinois, and the closest races were in New Mexico (still uncalled) and Missouri. Obama's strong showing is going to make the next few weeks very interesting as Hillary tries to hang on to her base. We can't wait! Tears! Red-faced Bill! Badass Michelle! Hope! Change! Day One! Bring it on.
Election Index [NYT]
Super Tuesday wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were expecting a de facto national primary that finally determined our presidential candidates, but while McCain seems to have the Republican nomination locked up, judging from the ever-tighter polls it looks like the Democrats will be slugging it out long after the California returns are finally official tomorrow morning. Both campaigns will try to spin “victories” out of whatever the results actually are, having been steadily lowering expectations in the run-up to today. The media, meanwhile, won't be able to resist favoring one or the other as the winner, but what will they base it on? Who took the most states? Who took the most delegates? Who won the popular vote? Or who beat expectations? Which leaves the most important question of all — where (and when) will this all end?
Of course, tomorrow morning we're probably not going to have learned anything definitive about this year's presidential primary. But that doesn't mean that each major candidate isn't treating Super Tuesday as a do-or-die moment. Late last night and early this morning, each took the opportunity to make a final statement that would be circulated through the press throughout today as people gear up to head to the polls. Here's what they've been saying:
• "In my White House, we will know who wears the pantsuits," Hillary Clinton cracked on Letterman's show last night. Sure, it was a joke response to a question from the host about whether husband Bill Clinton would be "going through stuff" while she was busy governing the nation, but it's an important point. Since Bill got a little out-of-control campaigning on her behalf, and since she cried again yesterday, it was important for her to reiterate that she is tough and in charge. [Reuters]
• John McCain, meanwhile, stayed on message, saying that both Democratic candidates are clueless on Iraq. He also indicated that he'd set up "arrangements" to leave U.S. troops there permanently. "We've been in Kuwait right next door [to Iraq] for many years," he pointed out. [NYDN]
Name: Shepard Smith Job: Host of The Fox Report and Studio B on Fox News. Smith will also anchor a jumbo, two-hour Superbowl/Super Tuesday special, "Fox Super Sunday," on February 3 starting at 10 a.m. on Fox. Age: 44 Neighborhood: Greenwich Village.
Who's your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
What's the best meal you've eaten in New York?
"Mama's" pasta at Gradisca. She comes over from Italy every few months and makes it at a table by the front door.