Obama, McCain Win Wisconsin Primaries

Exit polls: Wisconsin voters say Obama more electable than Clinton in November.

ByABC News
February 19, 2008, 2:43 PM

Feb. 20, 2008 — -- Extending his winning streak, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has defeated Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., in the Hawaii and the Wisconsin Democratic primary, with high support among independent voters, and eating into her support among key Democratic voters.

"Houston, I think we have achieved liftoff here!" Obama said at a victory rally in Houston, Texas Tuesday night.

They were decisive victories for Obama, racking up 58 percent of the vote to Clinton's 41 percent in Wisconsin, and clobbering her in his native Hawaii 75 percent to her 24 percent.

Wisconsin Democrats identified Obama, not Clinton, as most likely to win in November, according to preliminary exit poll results.

Yet another primary contest loss was another blow to Clinton, who struggled to hold on to the support of some of her core groups white women, less-educated and lower-income voters while Obama enjoyed sweeping support among younger voters, winning whites under 30 by his biggest margin to date, according to exit poll results.

At a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, Clinton didn't acknowledge her defeat in Wisconsin, instead sharpening the contrast between her and Obama's candidacy.

"They need a president ready on day one to be commander in chief, ready to manage our economy, and ready to beat the Republicans," Clinton said.

"It is about picking a president who relies not just on words but on work, on hard work, to get America back to work," she said. "That's our goal. We can't just have speeches, we've got to have solutions and we need those solutions for America. We've got to get America back in the solutions business."

Republican front-runner Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., moved yet another step closer tonight toward securing the GOP nomination, defeating former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, in the Wisconsin Republican primary. McCain had 55 percent of the Wisconsin GOP vote.

McCain also picked up delegates in the Washington State GOP primary. The Democratic primary in Washington was considered a beauty contest -- delegates had been awarded two weeks ago when Obama won the state's caucuses.

On Wednesday's "Good Morning America" McCain slammed Obama, arguing he is better-suited to handling national security issues.

"Senator Obama wants to bomb Pakistan without talking to the Pakistanis, I think that's dangerous. So I think that that's an important factor, experience in judgement, and ready to serve, and no on-the-job-training."

In Wisconsin, McCain made progress in wooing conservatives skeptical of his record, splitting them evenly with Huckabee, according to preliminary exit poll results. McCain also won four in 10 voters who describe themselves as very conservative, his best showing so far. However, Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, held onto his advantage among Christian evangelicals, winning them by 20 points, according to preliminary exit poll results.

With his wife Cindy standing by his side, McCain took a swipe against Obama Tuesday night, in a victory speech focused on the fight against terrorism.

"I will work hard to make sure Americans aren't deceived by an eloquent, but empty call for change," McCain said.

The presumed Republican nominee also knocked his likely Democratic opponent by taking a shot at the "confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate."

McCain also took a subtle dig at Obama's wife, Michelle.

"I have never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I haven't been proud of the privilege" of being an American, McCain said.

Michelle Obama has been criticized for saying, in Milwaukee, Wis., Monday, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."

In a rare move, Cindy McCain, wife of the Arizona senator, took on Michelle Obama's comment: "I'm proud of my country, I don't know if you heard those words earlier. I'm very proud of my country," she said Tuesday.