As expected, Senator Barack Obama has won the Wyoming caucuses, gaining seven more delegates to move him closer to clinching the Democratic Party nomination. But, as VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, Senator Hillary Clinton is also fighting hard, following her recent wins in Texas and Ohio.
The western state of Wyoming has large areas of sparsely populated range land and wilderness and only a few relatively small cities, by national standards, so it offers only 12 delegates. But Senator Obama welcomes any delegates as he moves to widen his nearly 100 delegate lead over Hillary Clinton.
Both candidates campaigned in the state Friday, but analysts had long assumed Obama would have the advantage partly because he has tended to do well in states that hold caucuses, rather than primaries. As the final results were being tallied it appeared he had won almost two thirds of the total votes cast. Obama is likely to take seven delegates from Wyoming. Clinton should take five.
For the past week Clinton has been focusing much of her campaign rhetoric on what she describes as Obama's lack of experience, questioning his readiness to be commander in chief.
"Often when lives are on the line and a decision must be made, experience counts for everything,' she said. "In this election we need a nominee who can pass the commander-in-chief test, someone ready on day one to defend our country and keep our families safe."
Clinton cites her experience both as a senator from New York and her eight years working with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, in the White House as well as her claim to have visited some 80 nations. But Obama says her vote in the Senate to authorize the war in Iraq shows her lack of good judgment and he also questions the basis of her claim to experience.
"One of the things I hope people start asking is what exactly is this foreign experience that she is claiming. I know she talks about visiting 80 countries. It is not clear, was she negotiating a treaty or agreements or was she handling crises during this period of time? My sense is the answer is no," he said.
Obama supporters hailed the Wyoming victory as one more step to ultimate victory for their candidate, but Clinton supporters say the nearly even split of delegates keeps their candidate's campaign alive. Under the Democratic Party's rules delegates are split proportionally based on the vote in each contest.
The next contest for the two Democratic candidates will be in the southern state of Mississippi, which holds its primary on Tuesday. Thirty-three delegates are at stake in that contest.