Senator Barack Obama won the Wisconsin state Democratic presidential primary, Tuesday, the ninth win in a row for the charismatic junior senator from Illinois. On the Republican side, Senator John McCain was the winner. Now, as VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the two frontrunners are targeting each other in anticipation of the fight they see coming in November.
Voters in Wisconsin handed Barack Obama another big win, accelerating his momentum as he heads into the delegate-rich primaries here in Texas and Ohio on March 4.
Speaking to supporters in a stadium in downtown Houston, Barack Obama hailed his victory in Wisconsin.
"I am grateful to the people of Wisconsin for their friendship and support and their extraordinary civic pride. You know, in Wisconsin, when you go to vote it is five degrees outside," he said.
Obama urged his supporters here in Texas to get out and vote before the March 4 primary. Early voting began here Tuesday and volunteers from both the Obama campaign and from Hillary Clinton's campaign were already on the streets today urging people to get to the polls.
The other big winner on Tuesday was John McCain, whose win moved him closer to locking up the Republican nomination. Speaking in Columbus, Ohio, McCain thanked his supporters and praised his last viable challenger, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who, in spite of a string of losses, has refused to drop out of the race.
McCain looked beyond the nomination contest and directed his political fire at the presumed Democratic nominee. In a thinly veiled reference to Barack Obama, he said he would fight to make sure "Americans are not deceived by an eloquent, but empty call for change."
McCain also made reference to comments Obama had made in a debate last year and suggested he would make dangerously naïve decisions if he were to become president.
He said "We will risk the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan, and suggested sitting down without preconditions or clear purpose with enemies who support terrorists and who are intent on destabilizing the world by acquiring nuclear weapons?"
In Houston, Obama also targeted McCain, saying that he represents failed policies of the past. Obama criticized McCain for supporting the war in Iraq, which he said has diverted attention from the real enemy, the Al Qaeda terrorists who attacked the United States in September, 2001.
Hillary Clinton has also questioned Obama's readiness to be president. She continued in that vein speaking to supporters in Youngstown, Ohio, Tuesday night, saying Americans cannot afford someone who needs what she called "on the job training."
"They need a president ready on day one to be commander in chief, ready to manage our economy and ready to defeat the Republicans in November," she said.
Clinton used similar statements in her campaigning in Wisconsin, but it appears to have little effect. Obama won in almost every demographic group, cutting into her strongest blocs of support, including women voters, which split about evenly between the two candidates.