Romney, Clinton Claim Nevada in Tale of Two Races

"I haven't talked to the president since he made those comments," Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson said. "It's a fair question, but it's one where I'm going to have to speak to him."

Clinton, who is campaigning hard for his wife across the country, also said that culinary workers approached him and daughter Chelsea Clinton to say that they would not follow union directives to support Obama.

Obama responded to Bill Clinton's comments about voter intimidation. "Yeah, he's been getting a little fired up, hasn't he?" Obama said. "I guess we must be doing OK. He was always really nice to me when I was 20 points down."

Obama had taken some heat from the Clinton campaign for praiseworthy comments he made this week about Republican icon and former President Reagan. Specifically, Obama said that "it's fair to say that the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10 to 15 years in that they were challenging conventional wisdom."

Despite efforts by the Clinton campaign to flame party backlash, Obama defended the comments.

An entrance poll in the Democratic caucuses found sharp racial division, with black voters overwhelmingly supporting Obama and Hispanic voters favoring Clinton by more than a 2-1 ratio. Clinton and Obama ran evenly among men, but Clinton prevailed among female voters and with older caucus-goers.

Clinton's performance in a debate this week also may have helped her, with more than two-thirds of the voters saying that the debate was important to their vote and Clinton taking the lion's share of those Nevadans. She also got a boost from party regulars, the entrance polling found.

The New York senator scored a somewhat unexpected victory in New Hampshire, Jan. 8, and remained the perceived front-runner in Nevada after a busy week that included the debate, an uncontested win in the Michigan primary and sensitive discussions of race involving Obama.

Edwards, who has criticized both front-runners on various issues, reached out to both Democratic rivals with congratulations. In a statement released by his campaign, Edwards characterized himself as the underdog to two $100 million candidates, claiming he is the only Democrat in the race who is not beholden to special interests in Washington.

"The race to the nomination is a marathon and not a sprint, and we're committed to making sure the voices of all the voters in the remaining 47 states are heard," the campaign statement said. "The nomination won't be decided by win-loss records, but by delegates, and we're ready to fight for every delegate."

The first-in-the-West caucus is also a first of its kind for Nevada this early in the presidential primary season, a factor that further fueled the Democratic race's unpredictability. Organizing supporters to get out and vote would be critical, campaigns acknowledged.

The Nevada Democratic Party reported 115,800 caucus attendees with 98 percent of the precincts reporting, a turnout that dwarfed a lowball prediction of 40,000 voters. Four years ago, before Nevada had its new spot at the front of the primary season, just 9,000 Democrats participated in the caucus.

Romney Campaign Notches Another Win

Romney, coming off a major victory Tuesday in Michigan, was the perceived front-runner entering the Nevada race, which has been overshadowed as most of the candidates spent the last few days focusing on the South Carolina Republican primary.

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