McCain Wins Nomination
Huckabee endorses former rival as Democratic race still uncertain
Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain speaks at his Ohio and Texas primary election night rally in Dallas, Texas, March 4, 2008. (Photo:©Mike Stone/Reuters)
Victory was in the air as Arizona Senator John McCain stepped onstage to claim victory in Dallas, Texas, on Tuesday night. Supporters swarmed the Fairmont Hotel downtown to hear the winner of four more Republican primaries start his general election campaign. McCain spoke about his decisive win, his top issues, and the concession of former rival Mike Huckabee.
"I know that all of us want to commend my friend Mike Huckabee who is a great and fine an decent American and we appreciate him," he said.
As the results of the primaries began to come in, they were projected on a giant screen. Huckabee's endorsement of McCain played to the crowd as well, as part of Huckabee's concession speech. McCain waited until Huckabee's speech was over to begin his own.
"I am very pleased to note that tonight, my friends, we have won enough delegates to claim with confidence, humility, and a sense of great responsibility that I will be the Republican nominee for President of the United States," he said.
McCain said his campaign is "more than another tired debate of false promises, empty sound-bites, or useless arguments from the past that address not a single American's concerns for their family's security."
He argued that his opponents [Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama] do not have strong policies on trade, the economy, or creating jobs.
"My friends, now we begin the most important part of our campaign—to make a respectful, determined, convincing case to the American people that our campaign and election to [be] President are in the best interest of the country we love," he said.
As he concluded his speech, people cheered and red, white, and blue confetti and balloons rained down from the ceiling. Photographers aggressively jockeyed for position to get their shots of the Senator as he signed autographs and shook hands in a mad crush of supporters.
Tomorrow, McCain will fly to Washington, D.C., to receive an endorsement from President George W. Bush at the White House.
Democratic Vote Still Out
As McCain celebrated, Obama and Clinton were still waiting for returns from Texas. Texans were still caucusing in part two of a two-step voting process, while Clinton, having won Ohio, gave a victory speech in Columbus, the state capital. Obama spoke about 10 minutes later from his election night party in San Antonio, Texas.
Clinton told supporters in Ohio that she was "counted out but refused to be knocked out." The Senator from New York slowed some her opponent's momentum with strong wins in Ohio and Rhode Island.
As she spoke, votes were still being tallied in Texas, where she and Obama were neck in neck throughout the night. Obama won Vermont, but Texas was the big prize he was banking on. He watched returns from his hotel room in San Antonio.
Obama spoke at the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium on a balmy evening. He put the evening's losses in perspective by focusing on the delegate count, which is still in his favor.
"We have nearly the same delegate lead we had this morning, and we are on the way to winning this nomination," he said.
His speech was short but eloquent and punctuated with his catch-phrase, "Yes We Can!"
"We are ready to write the next great chapter in America's story," he said.
Both candidates declared they are ready to take the race all the way to the convention in August, if necessary.
The next contest is a caucus in Wyoming on Saturday. Mississippi follows with a primary election on March 11. The biggest prize left is in Pennsylvania on April 22 with 188 delegates at stake. Big delegate contests still remain in Indiana and North Carolina, which vote on May 6, and in Kentucky and Oregon, which vote May 20. The final Democratic contest is in Puerto Rico on June 7. If neither candidates has amassed at least 2,025 delegates after the contest, the nomination will be decided at the August convention.
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