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Obama takes winning streak into U.S. contests

  Politics  -   POSTED: 2008/02/12 14:01

Democrat Barack Obama looked to continue his winning streak in three mid-Atlantic presidential primaries and brushed aside questions Tuesday about future contests to which rival Hillary Rodham Clinton has turned her attention. Republican John McCain sought to rebound from two weekend losses to Mike Huckabee and reinforce his position as the inevitable GOP nominee.

"It's very early," Obama said when asked about his prospects in the March 4 Texas primary during an appearance near a polling place here. "We haven't even gotten through this yet, come on, man," he added, referring to Tuesday's Democratic presidential primaries in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Clinton planned to spend election night at a rally in El Paso, Texas.

Obama surprised customers at a Dunkin' Donuts shop across from a school with a polling place. Autographs-seekers jostled with reporters, cameras and Secret Service agents as Obama worked his way through the crowd with Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty to deliver donuts and coffee to his poll workers.

Coming off weekend victories in five contests, Obama was favored to win the mid-Atlantic primaries which draw a heavy blend of black and better educated voters, blocs that have aided his wins in earlier matchups against Clinton. Likewise, McCain was favored on the GOP side.

Democrats picked 168 delegates and Republicans 116 on Tuesday.

"We need something new," Obama told a huge rally at the University of Maryland on Monday, dismissing the former first lady's suggestions that he is not tough enough for the rigors of the presidency.

The Illinois senator was traveling late Tuesday to Wisconsin, which votes next week, along with Hawaii, where Obama grew up.

With the Clinton campaign all but conceding losses Tuesday, as well as in other primaries during the month, the New York senator prepared to fly to Texas, which holds its primary on March 4. She is banking on strong showings there and in Ohio, which votes the same day, to blunt Obama's momentum.

"I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think I would be the best candidate," Clinton told reporters Monday as she campaigned near Baltimore. "So I'm going forward — every day, we get to make our case to the American people."


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