NBC News declares Barack Obama as the projected winner in Delaware's Democratic primary.
NBC News declares Barack Obama as the projected winner in Delaware's Democratic primary.
NBC News will declare Hillary Clinton the projected winner in New York's Democratic primary.
NBC News declares Hillary Clinton as the projected winner in Massachusetts' Dem primary
NBC News declares Mike Huckabee as the projected winner in Alabama's GOP primary
NBC News has updated the delegate totals...
GOP TOTALS (As of 08:30PM 02-05)
NBC News declares John McCain as the projected winner in Delaware's GOP primary.
NBC News will declare Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee the projected winners in Arkansas.
From NBC/NJ's Carrie Dann
ST. CHARLES, Mo. -- They might end up calling it Tornado Tuesday. The two big stories coming out of Midwestern Super Tuesday states as the polls close are turnouts and twisters. Tornado watches. and/or flood warnings have been issued for Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, and Arkansas -- all holding primaries today. (Three have already been reported dead in a storm in Atkins, Arkansas -- not far from politics hotbed Little Rock.)
The weather here in eastern Missouri got worse as the day progressed, with lightning and thunder rolling in during the waning hours of open polling. That didn't dissuade turnout -- at least in this polling location -- as steady waves of voters continued to come in, shaking rain off their coats with teeth a-chatter.
At the end of thirteen hours, the number to put on the big board for this St. Louis area precinct was 1,217 ballots cast. That's a little bit better than 46% particpation -- and almost right on the money of the estimated turnout here when polls opened, when the skies were still fairly clear.
NBC News declares Hillary Clinton as the projected winner in Tennessee's Democratic primary.
NBC News will declare John McCain the projected winner in Connecticut, Illinois, and New Jersey
NBC News will declare Barack Obama the projected winner in Illinois' Dem Primary, while Hillary Clinton is the projected winner in Oklahoma.
NBC News will declare Mitt Romney the projected winner in Massachusetts' GOP primary.
From NBC's Mark Murray
The Clinton campaign just sent "talking points" to its national press list -- the first time we believe they have done this.
February 5, 2008
SUPER TUESDAY TALKING POINTS
We're excited by what we're seeing.
We have 21 states that are still outstanding where we expect to pick up a significant number of new delegates.
To be sure, both campaigns have a long night ahead of them - but we feel very good about the numbers that we're seeing.
It's very important that people in the states where the polls are still open get out and vote.
Unlike the Obama campaign, the Clinton campaign never dedicated significant resources to Georgia.
Sen. Obama spent over $500,000 dollars on ads on television and radio; we never went up on TV
The Obama campaign has 9 offices in Georgia. The Clinton campaign only has 2.
Sen. Obama has had staff and significant campaign operation across the state for 8 months. Sen. Clinton only deployed staff to the state in the last couple of weeks.
Polls have consistently showed Sen. Obama with wide lead over Sen Clinton. That lead has only widened over time.
From NBC/NJ's Carrie Dann
ST. CHARLES, Mo. -- Talk about coming down to the wire. Many voters here in St. Charles County, Missouri, tell NBC/NJ that they chose their presidential candidate within the past two weeks, and a few even say that they didn't know their pick for sure until the ballot was in their hand.
The reason for the last-minute choice? For Republicans, it might be dissatisfaction with the current field. One woman said that this election has been "frustrating" because no GOP candidate has emerged -- to her -- as an unambiguous conservative. Another St. Louis area business owner said that she's disappointed with the ascendancy of John McCain, who she says is "not truly representative" of Republican values. And one young student still wasn't sure that his vote for a Republican who "isn't a frontrunner" would make a difference.
On the Democratic side, precisely the opposite may be the case. One young voter said that she's so excited by the prospect of EITHER an African-American OR a female president that she couldn't make up her mind until she walked in the door here. (She declined to say which of the two Democratic rivals got her vote.)
As young voters, these indecisive students aren't alone. There's been a very strong showing by the under-30 crowd here, with high participation from new parents and students sporting college sweatshirts.
Another interesting phenomenon – election judges say that they've noticed that a handful of their Republican friends and neighbors have opted to take a Democratic ballot. That could be due to crossover votes from moderate GOP types. But one longtime local speculates that some Republicans aren't sure who they want in the Oval Office – "but they sure know who they DON'T want in there!"
NBC News' delegate count update:
GOP TOTALS (As of 07:00PM 02-05)
McCain 0 93
Romney 0 77
Huckabee 18 58
Paul 0 4
Others 0 7
NBC News will declare Barack Obama the projected winner in Georgia's Democratic primary.
The Republican race is too close to call.
From NBC's Bridget Nurre
After casting his ballot in Little Rock, Ark., today, Gov. Mike Huckabee held a media availability to react to his win in West Virginia. After some pleasantries about the thrill of seeing his name on the ballot after 14 months of hard work, the questions turned to his opponents. When asked for his reaction to the Romney camp's charge of a McCain-Huckabee back room deal in the Mountain State's Republican convention, Huckabee called Romney a "whiner."
"I thought he was saying yesterday no whining. So is it no whining or whining? He can't even keep a straight answer on the whining or no whining question," he said. "He was saying I was a liberal, now he said I was taking votes from him because I was too conservative and pulling conservative votes. So which is it? Am I a conservative taking votes from his conservative views or am I a liberal?"
Did a Washington-style backroom deal earn the governor the state's 18 delegates?
"Absolutely not," he said.
Huckabee's West Virginia win is significant because it is the first contest to have conclusive results of the 43 being held today and the Arkansasan could benefit from the media bump to follow. Pollsters and pundits predicted that the West Virginia convention would be in the Gov. Romney column because the Massachusetts governor had a bigger organization and had spent more money there than his opponents.
Huckabee has become increasingly frustrated in recent days with the push to consider him out of the race, repeatedly proclaiming that his campaign will not end until one of the Republican candidates "reaches 1191" -- the number of delegates needed to shore up the Republican nomination. At a press conference in Little Rock last night, the governor said it was "presumptuous" of Gov. Romney and the media to say he is a spoiler in the Republican race.
In his press conference today, he responded to the spoiler question once more. He insisted, "Nothing suggests that a vote for me would go to him."
However, Sen. John McCain's strength in 2000 and again in the current race to the White House has been among independent voters and moderate Republicans. With McCain enjoying his new "frontrunner" status after his win in Florida, this leaves the far right of the party -- the cherished "conservative" vote -- up for grabs.
From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli
SAN FRANCISCO -- Just before noon in the main foyer of City Hall, Cajun music blared as people threw beads from a balcony during a brief commemoration of Fat Tuesday. One floor below, a steady stream of city residents was voting on Super Tuesday in California's fourth largest city.
Today, however, is not the only voting day. City Elections Director John Arntz reports that 78,000 people had already voted by mail, and an additionally 4,400 people voted in person in City Hall before today. Another 50,000 ballots could come in by mail today, in addition to all those cast in person across the city.
"The early voting was definitely heavier for this than say with the last November election we had here in San Francisco," Arntz said. His office predicts, based on the flow of early votes, that turnout should exceed the 61 percent seen in the 2006 general election, which included the gubernatorial race. The turnout in the previous two presidential primaries was in the low-40 percent range. "While it's not quite a presidential turnout like it would be in November, it's been beyond our usual primary turnout," Arntz said.
Early voting by mail was heavily promoted by Hillary Clinton's campaign. "Election day has already happened for hundreds of thousands of California voters," San Francisco Mayor and Clinton endorser Gavin Newsom said last night. "Those early absentee ballots disproportionately have been cast for Hillary Clinton, and that is a big competitive advantage going into Election Day, regardless of what happens to any surge on Election Day for Barack Obama."
Yet conversations with some voters who came today here found that many did in fact support her rival, Barack Obama. "I wanted to change this dynasty if you will of Bush and Clinton, Bush and Clinton," said M. Arceo-Gardner. "I don't see a lot of huge differences in their policies; a lot of it just came down to personal choice. I liked his attitude," said Scott Dommes. "We just need somebody that will be for us. We're just ready for change," said Sylvia Thorne, who voted with her 19-year-old son. "A lot of people are going through hard times so I think he would change things so people can, you know, get ahead and move forward."
Arceo-Gardner, wearing a peace symbol button, said the war was also a critical issue, and that he wasn't even sure he'd support Clinton in the general election. "Maybe if she changed her views on the war, then yes I would support her," he said. "Anyone but Bush, obviously."
Dommes, 25, said he was a registered Republican and switched to Decline-to-State because he wanted to support a Democrat. In the end, Obama was a clear choice, he said. "He's more electable, has a better chance of winning, and I think it's time for a Democrat to be in office," he said. "I think he pulls more people from the middle." Dommes, a student at UC-Hastings, said interest in the election was high among young voters. "I heard in class just this morning people talking about, 'We still didn't know who we were going to vote for but we know we're going to vote.' People are excited about it. You just hear a lot more dialogue around about the election and about actually voting as opposed to just arguing about candidates."
Thorne, an African American, said she settled on Obama early, and cited gender, not race, as a factor. "I'd rather see a man than a woman to lead," she said. "That's just how I am. I'm not saying she's not a strong person, but I feel like a man would be able to lead the United States."
Today, the presidential contest is not the only issue on the ballot. As with any election here, there are a few ballot initiatives, the most high-profile of which are four gaming agreements with Native American tribes that could potentially generate more revenue for the state. Another proposition would change the state's strict term limits for state legislators.
Combined with the competitive presidential election, it's lead to some voter fatigue. "It seems like this has been going on for two years," Thorne said. "I'm just ready for it to be over with so we can move on."
From NBC/NJ's Tricia Miller
WEST HARTFORD, CT -- Connecticut isn't known as a political hotbed, but this week it heated up quickly in anticipation of its Feb. 5 primary.
Vying for 60 delegates and in a virtual tie here, Clinton and Obama both hit up the Constitution State in the last few days. Clinton was in New Haven for a small roundtable yesterday, and Obama was in Hartford for a huge rally on Sunday. Chelsea Clinton started primary day by bringing donuts to a polling place in New Haven.
Connecticut was considered Clinton country earlier in the race, but polls tightened not long after favorite son Chris Dodd dropped out in early January. Many elected Democrats supported Dodd, who has represented Connecticut in the Senate since 1980, until he dropped out of the race following a poor showing in the Iowa. Since then, their support has been divided. U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, and Chris Murphy endorsed Obama on Saturday. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Comptroller Nancy Wyman, meanwhile, endorsed Clinton. Dodd and freshman Rep. Joe Courtney have said they will remain neutral.
On the GOP side, McCain has held a commanding lead over former neighboring Gov. Mitt Romney in the most recent polls. He has also cleaned up the endorsements of the Republican establishment here with the support of Gov. Jodi Rell and Rep. Chris Shays, Connecticut's only remaining Republican member of the House. Shays serves as chair of McCain's Connecticut campaign with Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent Democrat and himself a failed (Democratic) presidential candidate. Thirty delegates, including three superdelegates, are at stake on the Republican side.
Adam Joseph, acting communications director under Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, said that record turnout is expected for both party primaries today despite pouring rain. Current records for presidential primary turnout were set at 36.8% for Democrats in 1988 and 43.3% for the Republicans in 1980. On Feb. 1, Bysiewicz announced that more than 34,000 new voters registered between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31; additionally, almost 17,000 unaffiliated voters joined a party so they could participate in the closed primaries.
Because the deadline to withdraw from the ballot was Dec. 27, 16 candidates total are in the running. On the Republican side that includes (on the order the appear on the ballot) former Giuliani, Thompson, Romney, McCain, Hunter, Paul, Huckabee, and even perennial candidate Alan Keyes. On the Democratic side that includes Obama, Kucinich, Gravel, Richardson, Edwards, Dodd, Biden, and Clinton. Voters can also identify their choice as uncommitted.
From NBC's Andrea Mitchell and Andy Merten
In the Clinton campaign's second conference call with reporters in the last two days, communications director Howard Wolfson said -- at least four times -- that "the results tonight will be inconclusive."
"The results will be inconclusive. Sen. Obama will do well in some parts of the country; in other parts of the country, Sen Clinton will do well. So this will be just another step, although a large step, on the road to Denver and choosing a nominee."
Asked if there won't be momentum and bragging rights coming out of the returns, Wolfson joked: "Sure, whoever wins New York can be declared the winner."
He then went on to MEGA-spin outcomes in Massachusetts and California. According to Wolfson, Massachusetts right now is "tight as a tick," and since Sen. Kennedy has what he called a "machine" -- without mentioning the Boston mayor's machine working overtime for Clinton -- Wolfson said if Obama doesn't win Massachusetts it will be a "disappointment." In fact, Clinton has held a double-digit lead in most Massachusetts polls up until now.
Similarly, he tried to suggest that if Obama doesn't win California it will be a "disappointment" because of the Maria Shriver/Oprah endorsements and campaign events -- even though polls have shown Clinton with a solid lead in the state until now.
Wolfson said the California campaign will be close, and he suspects it will be a very late night. He pointed out that Obama has put considerable resources into California and has had great surrogates.
Wolfson also made the campaign's latest argument that Michigan and Florida delegates should be seated, and when asked about the other Democratic candidates didn't even have their names on the ballot in Michigan, he said: "I think they removed their names from the ballot because they didn't think they would fare well."
And he announced the Clinton campaign has accepted a FOX debate on Feb 11th in Washington DC that would air on local FOX broadcast TV in DC/Virginia/Maryland suburbs, prior to the voting there on Feb. 12. Wolfson said that Clinton and Obama should debate once a week -- from now on.
In fact, Clinton said this herself in an interview with an affiliate TV station this morning. "I think we should debate once a week, because we're just getting down to the two of us. That's only been the case for the last week. And there are a lot of differences between us that need to be explored, and voters need to have information."
From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
With the results in of Huckabee winning West Virginia, here are the latest totals. NBC News has also allocated 18 delegates to Romney, who won Maine's nonbinding presidential preference poll Saturday night (which First Read reported on earlier.)
GOP TOTALS (As of 2:18 p.m.)
NBC News declares Mike Huckabee the projected winner in the West Virginia - GOP caucus.
*** UPDATE *** Romney Campaign Manager Beth Myers released the following statement on the West Virginia result:
"Unfortunately, this is what Senator McCain's inside Washington ways look like: he cut a backroom deal with the tax-and-spend candidate he thought could best stop Governor Romney's campaign of conservative change.
"Governor Romney had enough respect for the Republican voters of West Virginia to make an appeal to them about the future of the party based on issues. This is why he led on today's first ballot. Sadly, Senator McCain cut a Washington backroom deal in a way that once again underscores his legacy of working against Republicans who are interested in championing conservative policies and rebuilding the party."
*** UPDATE 2 *** From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
For some context on why the Romney campaign likely sent out this statement, this contest worked on two votes. In the first round of voting, Romney actually led Huckabee, 41%-33% with McCain third at 16% and Paul fourth at 10%. But since no one got 50%, the required threshold to win, they voted again. They took an hour recess, came back, eliminated anyone lower than third, and voted. Huckabee came out the winner, 52%-47%. McCain got just 1%.
From NBC's Janet Shamlian
It's a cold and rainy, curl-up-in-bed kind of day in Missouri, but you'd never know it at the VFW hall in St. Charles. When I arrived at 5:30 this morning for a Today Show report, the line had already formed in the dark and damp as people waited for the doors to be unlocked.
It's a slice of another era in here, as so many VFW Halls are, with a tiny disco ball hanging from the center of the room. Off to the side, there's a small wood-paneled area designated as a bar and the walls are filled with patriotic posters and framed flags. A small coffee pot has gone dry, but sugar donuts are still plentiful.
The dozen or so volunteers here haven't had time to eat because the line rarely ends. I just watched a little boy drop his mom's choices into the ballot box. The room is full of energy and people seem very happy to be here. Sitting on the sidelines, it's great political theater in a state where the race is tight.
From NBC's Gabriel Herman
Ron Paul was the first Republican to speak this morning at the West Virginia GOP convention, which today awards 18 winner-take-all delegates. In his speech that stressed strict dedication to the US Constitution, Paul addressed limiting government and said, "If you are a true conservative, and a true constitutionalist, and understand the limited scope government should be, then we really don't need the 16th Amendment. We really don't need the IRS. We really don't need the income Tax. That should be eliminated."
Paul rejected US involvement with international organizations including the IMF, WTO, and NAFTA, and he labeled them "entangling alliances." Of US involvement in foreign wars under United Nations' mandate, Paul stated, "We are supposed to only go to war with a declaration of war. The purpose of the declaration of war is so that the people, the Congress, and everybody gets behind it. So if there is a need for war, and we agree to go to war, we go to war, we build up, we win it, and we get it over with. That is what we need to do."
From NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy and NBC's Megan Marcus
McCain spent a few minutes before his plane took off this morning criticizing Romney over his comments about Bob Dole. Dole wrote a letter to Rush Limbaugh defending McCain's conservative record, and this morning on Fox News, Romney said that Dole was the last person he'd want writing a letter on his behalf.
McCain called Dole a "hero" who helped build the Republican Party and said that Romney should apologize. McCain's campaign also passed around a clip of Romney's remarks on Dole, as well as a full statement criticizing the former Massachusetts governor.
"Governor Romney's attack on Bob Dole is disgraceful, and Governor Romney should apologize. Bob Dole is a war hero who has spent his life in service to this nation and nobody has worked harder to build the Republican Party. Bob Dole deserves the respect of every American and certainly every Republican."
Yet here were Romney's full comments this morning:
Fox News' Steve Doocy: Governor, what do you make of the letter that Bob Dole wrote to Rush Limbaugh that says, lay off of John McCain, he is conservative enough? Do you buy that from Bob?
Romney: Well, it's probably the last person I would have wanted to have write a letter for me. I think there are a lot of folks that tend to think that maybe John McCain's race is a bit like Bob Dole's race. That it's the guy next who's next in line, he's the inevitable choice and we'll give it to him and that it won't work. I think the right course for a winning campaign against someone like Barack Obama is going to be somebody who can speak with energy and passion about the future of America -- not another senator who can say here's what I did on bill H1, 2, 3, 4, here's what I did on my committee assignment. The American people are so tired of listening to Senators talk about their bills and their committees.
When asked how he was feeling going into today, McCain said he as "feelin' good."
"I think we are doing very well," he said. "We need a big voter turnout. We always need a big voter turnout." McCain added that poor weather in California was concerning ,but he was looking forward to getting back to Arizona. He reiterated that he is a very superstitious person, which keeps him on edge.
"[I'm] always nervous," he said. "Always worried, worried about every state... I'm always a pain in a certain part of the anatomy to some of my associates."