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Obama Wins Big in South Carolina- First Southern State for '08 Presidential Primary
Sunday, Jan 27, 2008 7:47am
SOUTH CAROLINA:  1-26-08   Illinois Sen. Barak Obama claimed a big win in South Carolina tonite, besting rival Sen. Hillary Clinton by a 2-1 margin.  According to CNN, South Carolina was considered a "crucial win" for Sen. Obama, who finished second to Clinton in both New Hampshire and Nevada.

Obama won first in Iowa, but slipped in the past two Decmocratic primaries.  "The choice in this election is not between regions or religions or genders," Obama said. "It's not about rich versus poor; young versus old; and it is not about black versus white. "It's about the past versus the future." he said.

The choice in this election is not between regions or religions or genders," Obama said. "It's not about rich versus poor; young versus old; and it is not about black versus white.  It's about the past versus the future."

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Obama had 55 percent of the vote. Clinton was second with 27 percent, followed by Edwards, with 18 percent.  Obama's victory capped a heated contest in South Carolina, the first Democratic primary in the South and the first with a largely African-American electorate.

Obama, who is hoping to become the the nation's first African-American president, did well with black voters, who made up about half of Saturday's electorate, according to exit polls. Black voters supported the Illinois senator by a margin of more than 4-to-1 over his nearest rival, exit polls indicate.

Among white voters, Obama took about a quarter of the vote, with Clinton and Edwards roughly splitting the remainder, according to exit polls. Clinton congratulated Obama and said she was excited to move forward to the Super Tuesday contests on February 5.

"Our campaign from the very beginning has been about one central thing, and that is to give voice to the millions of Americans who have absolutely no voice in this democracy."

Clinton beat Obama only among elderly voters, according to exit polls. Among voters 65 and older, Clinton beat Obama 40 to 32 percent. But Obama handily defeated Clinton in every other bracket, and overall garnered 58 percent of the vote among 18 to 64-year-olds while 23 percent of those voters picked Clinton.

"I'm keeping moving no matter what, but I feel good about how things are moving right now here today," Edwards told reporters Saturday morning. "I feel there's a lot of energy behind my campaign."

    "I'm keeping moving no matter what, but I feel good about how things are moving right now here today," Edwards told reporters Saturday morning. "I feel there's a lot of energy behind my campaign."

    On January 15, Edwards pledged, "I'm in this for the long haul. We're continuing to accumulate delegates. There's actually a very narrow margin between Sen. Obama, Sen. Clinton and myself on delegates."

    The state Democratic party estimated that more than 530,000 Democrats turned out for Saturday's primary, as compared with 445,000 voters who showed up to vote last weekend in the state's Republican primary.

    The Democratic numbers topped the GOP turnout for the first time since 1992, when 445,000 Republicans turned out to renominate President George H.W. Bush.  Obama attracted more than 290,000 votes -- nearly matching the total turnout of the 2004 Democratic primary.

    "This is an enormous turnout," CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin said. "Democrats are wildly motivated in this election." As South Carolina's Democratic primary voters went to the polls Saturday, almost half of them had made up their minds more than a month ago, according to exit polls.

    In the 2004 primary, nearly a quarter decided either the day of the primary or in the three days prior who they would support, but this year, only 10 percent of this year's voters waited until Saturday to choose.

    Another 10 percent decided only in the last three days, and 32 percent decided in the last month.

    Forty-seven percent made up their minds at least a month ago, more than double the percentage of 2004.

    The early exit polls were taken from a sampling of 1,269 voters statewide.

    Following a rough campaign between Clinton and Obama, the two camps toned down the rhetoric in the past two days, returning to the issues and concentrating their firepower on the Republicans rather than on each other.

    "I think they [the Republicans] should be gracious and just say, "We have messed this thing up so much we are just going to quit and ... we shouldn't be re-elected,' but I don't think that is what they are going to do," Clinton said.

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