With the race clearly headed to Feb. 5, if not beyond, split decisions could give both Clinton and Obama plenty of room to run. "Party rules allow each to claim delegates in every state, even where they finish second," McClatchy's Stephen Thomma writes. "Both can stay in and slug it out coast to coast, perhaps for months." LINK
The Saturday Showdowns provide plenty of reasons for both big winners to celebrate -- but no reasons for anyone to get cocky. McCain and Clinton both triumphed in spite of (and, in part, because of) deep splits within their parties.
"A battle between opposing wings of the Republican Party made it a tight contest in South Carolina, where evangelicals and strong conservatives boosted former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee -- but not by enough to overcome Arizona Sen. John McCain's broad support from moderates and independents," ABC Polling Director Gary Langer writes. LINK
Langer continues: "There was another kind of division 2,200 miles to the west, in the Nevada Democratic caucuses: Black caucus-goers overwhelmingly supported Illinois Sen. Barack Obama over New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, 83 percent to 14 percent; Clinton won whites by 18 points, and Hispanics by an even broader ratio, more than 2-1."
Like she did in New Hampshire (and Obama hasn't done since Iowa), Clinton got her folks to show up. "Clinton won almost every casino site and dominated among women and Latino voters, while Obama drew overwhelming support from blacks -- a potential foreshadowing of how the contest could play out when almost two dozen states vote on Feb. 5," Shailagh Murray and Anne Kornblut write in The Washington Post. LINK
The "Nevada caucus turned Iowa on its head," J. Patrick Coolican and Michael Mishak write in the Las Vegas Sun. In Iowa, "Clinton hit her original goal but was deluged by the Obama turnout. Here, the turnout was nearly double the 60,000 forecast -- standing at 115,800 late Saturday. . . . Although the Clinton victory was decisive, especially with women, her victory among Hispanics was especially striking, beating Obama 2-1 with a demographic that comprised 15 percent of the voters." LINK
The fact that New Hampshire's winners won again on Saturday brings at least a smidge of sanity to the race; finally, someone can claim to have won more than one real contest. "Hillary Clinton's victory in the Nevada caucuses and John McCain's win in the South Carolina primary were close enough to keep the competition going on both sides," David Broder writes for The Washington Post. "But the winners gained significant advantages for the coming rounds." LINK
It puts all the pressure the race can muster on Obama. As he heads to an African-American church in Atlanta on Sunday, he knows he needs black voters to stand with him in South Carolina next weekend.
"Clinton's campaign continues to show a mastery of narrative by creating the perception that she -- who started out as a quasi-incumbent with $100 million in the bank -- was an oppressed underdog who had rallied to victory" in Nevada, Michael Tackett writes in the Chicago Tribune. "Now comes the most pressure Obama has faced as they head to South Carolina. A loss there would put his campaign in peril." LINK
Since New Hampshire, Obama has been outmaneuvered by Clinton, whose scattershot attacks have kept the campaign storylines on her terms. The question from here: which Obama do we get now?