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Democratic Presidential Candidate Obama Raises $7 Million in Under Two Days

Senator Barack Obama has raised more than $7 million for his presidential campaign in the hours since the Super Tuesday voting contests this week.  This new wave of fundraising comes as Obama's Democratic opponent, Senator Hillary Clinton, said she loaned her campaign $5 million of her own money late last month.  VOA Correspondent Cindy Saine reports from Washington.

Senators Clinton and Obama were both fundraising giants in 2007, far outpacing all other Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, with each raising $100 million.  But Obama raised $32 million in January, to Clinton's $13 million, causing concern among her supporters, many of whom have already given the maximum amount permitted by law. 

More of Obama's supporters are small Internet contributors who can give more as the campaign continues. Some of Clinton's senior campaign staff members are working without a paycheck right now.

The campaigns are looking ahead to contests this Saturday in Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington state, and February 12 primaries in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.  Polls show Obama is favored in most of those states, though Clinton says she is competitive in Virginia, where she will hold a rally later today.

Obama sounded his primary theme of bringing change to America during a campaign rally at Tulane University in New Orleans ahead of Saturday's Louisiana primary.

"What we see in New Orleans is one of the central premises of my campaign and that is change in America does not happen from the top down, it happens from the bottom up," he said.

Obama said for many, New Orleans has become a symbol of failed government since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"We can talk about what happened for a few days in 2005 and we should," he added.  "We can talk about levees that could not hold... about a president who only saw the people from the window of an airplane instead of down here on the ground, trying to provide comfort and aid."

Obama promised he would strengthen the levees so that they can withstand strong hurricanes if he is elected president.

In the all-important race for delegates, Democrats are still counting from Tuesday's 22 contests, under the complex, proportional system of awarding delegates, but Clinton and Obama are nearly even.

Republicans use a winner-take-all system in awarding delegates in most states.  Arizona Senator John McCain emerged from Super Tuesday as his party's clear frontrunner, with 707 of the nearly 1,200 delegates needed to secure the nomination. 

McCain asked right-wing talks show hosts and pundits who have criticized him to see if there are areas they can all agree on.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney dropped his bid for the Republican nomination in Washington Thursday, two days after winning some states in Super Tuesday voting, but not enough to gain on rival John McCain.

Romney had totaled 294 delegates up to this point, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has 195 and Texas Congressman Ron Paul has 14. Huckabee and Paul are still in the race.

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