By Skeeter Sanders
If the contest for the White House was an athletic event, then Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois will likely continue to run neck and neck in what is proving to be a long, grueling marathon for the Democratic presidential nomination that may last all the way to the Democrats' Denver convention in August.
Meanwhile, for Senator John McCain of Arizona, former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Super Tuesday turned out to be the GOP's version of a triple-threat steel-cage wrestling match. While McCain and Huckabee effectively tag-teamed Romney to the canvas Tuesday, a defiant Romney refused to surrender and vowed to fight on.
In a surprise twist, Obama surpassed Clinton in at least one television network's tally of the total number of delegates the candidates have racked up after a chaotic Super Tuesday. With the delegate count still under way, NBC News said Obama appears to have won around 840 delegates in Tuesday’s contests, while Clinton earned about 830 — “give or take a few,” Tim Russert, the network’s Washington bureau chief, said Wednesday on "NBC Nightly News."
The running totals for the two, which includes previous contests and the party officials known as “superdelegates,” are only about 70 delegates apart, Russert said.
Clarity of any sort eluded the Democrats as campaigns turned to the next rounds. On Saturday, Louisiana and Washington state hold two-party contests while Nebraska Democrats and Kansas Republicans make their picks. Then comes a larger series of two-party primaries in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia on Tuesday.
For Republicans, the night was anything but unclear, as McCain piled up victory after victory -- mostly in states with winner-take-all delegate rules -- to emerge with a commanding lead for the GOP nomination.
McCain, whose campaign was left for dead last summer, came back to capture more delegates (620) than Romney (270) and Huckabee (176) combined, putting him past the halfway mark to the 1,191 delegates needed to win the top prize. His victories stretched from New York to California, the biggest prize.
Romney Derailed, But Vows To Keep Fighing
Despite his failure to attract support from evangelical voters, Romney pledged to fight all the way to the Republican nominating convention in Minneapolis this summer if necessary, despite being overpowered by both McCain and Huckabee.
"This isn't just about the heart and soul of our party, it isn't just about which party's going to win in November. This is about the future course of our country," he said to about 500 supporters, many of whom wore stunned looks on their faces as the returns came in.
With almost missionary zeal, Romney vowed to stay in the race, casting his campaign as a battle to save the future of the nation. "This isn't just about the heart and soul of our party, it isn't just about which party's going to win in November. This is about the future course of our country," he said to about 500 supporters, many of whom wore stunned looks on their faces as the returns came in.