The Super Tuesday showdown between Democrats and gave both candidates plenty of delegates and plenty of things to brag about, but did little to bring the party closer to identifying a clear front-runner.
Obama won 13 of the 22 states holding Democratic primaries and caucuses, but Clinton won the night's two biggest prizes in New York, where her victory was widely expected, and in California, which polls had shown tightening up in the days leading up to the contest.
Both campaigns had surprises: Clinton, a New York senator, won in Massachusetts despite Obama winning high profile endorsements from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy. Obama came away with a victory in Connecticut -- a state in Clinton's backyard -- and also pulled off a close win in Missouri, where late returns put him over the top.
Clinton also scored victories in Arizona, Oklahoma, Tennessee, New Jersey and Arkansas, where her husband, former President Bill Clinton, once served as governor.
"I want to congratulate Sen. Obama on his victories tonight," she said. "I look forward to continuing our campaign and our debates about how to leave this country better off for the next generation, because that is the work of my life." (
Among Obama's other victories were primaries in Alabama, Georgia, his home state of Illinois, which he represents in the Senate, and the Northeastern state of Delaware -- once viewed, like Connecticut, as a Clinton stronghold. He also won all of the night's caucuses, including those in Alaska, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, North Dakota, Minnesota and Kansas, where he had the endorsement of the state's popular female governor and family roots on his mother's side.
"Our time has come, our movement is real, and change is coming to America," Obama said to cheering supporters in Chicago. "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." (
The only state outstanding was New Mexico, where Obama held a narrow lead over Clinton with some of the vote yet to be counted.
As the breakdown of states suggests, the race for delegates was close. CBS News estimates Obama has won 803 of the night's available delegates, compared to Clinton's 799. Since the race kicked off with the Iowa caucuses Jan. 3, Clinton has won 1,058 delegates and Obama 984. That total factors in the support of superdelegates, the party leaders and elected officials who have a say in the nomination. Clinton leads among that group.
Either candidate could end up ahead in the count by time all Super Tuesday delegates are apportioned. Party rules require a candidate to win 2,025 delegates to secure the nomination. Click here to see the delegate scorecard.
"This race, of course, will be historic because it will produce either the first female or black presidential nominee from a major American political party," CBSNews.com's Dick Meyer wrote in an analysis of the race. "People will also be talking about this campaign for decades to come for its sheer ferocity, closeness and duration -- and its lack of predictability." ( .)
CBS News correspondent Peter Maer reports that David Axelrod, Obama's senior adviser, put a positive spin on the night's mixed outcome, saying it defied predictions from earlier in the campaign that the day's voting would wrap up the nomination for Clinton. He expected Obama and Clinton to be "roughly even" in the delegate count once the night's votes were tabulated.
"This was the night that Hillary Clinton announced she was going to close out our campaign and that's hardly happened," Axelrod said. "We're in a strong, strong position coming out of this night."
The calendar for the rest of February does appear to favor Obama, something Clinton's own advisers admitted in a conference call Tuesday before the polls closed. They include contests in Nebraska, the Virgin Islands, Washington and Maine, all of which are caucuses like those Obama swept Tuesday. He also has the advantage in the so-called Chesapeake primary on Feb. 12, when Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia vote -- demographically, all three favor Obama. He should also be a favorite in the Feb. 9 primary in Louisiana, which has a high percentage of black voters. Obama also appears to have an edge in Hawaii, where he spent much of his childhood, and Wisconsin.
If Obama performs as well in February as expected, Clinton may have to wait until March 4 to regain the advantage in the delegate count. That day includes primaries in Ohio -- full of blue-collar workers who have traditionally favored her -- and Texas, where a large Hispanic population should give her a boost. Exit polls indicate Hispanics favored her by a 2-to-1 margin Tuesday. ( .)
Clinton also led in two key demographics on Super Tuesday that bode well for her campaign in the long haul: women voters and those over 60 years old. CBS News exit polling indicated white women voted for Clinton by a huge margin, 58 percent to 38 percent. Among those older than 60, she won, 55 percent to 38 percent.
Given the close delegate count on Tuesday and the outlook for the upcoming contests, it's possible the race for the Democratic nomination could drag on for months, possibly until the party's convention in Denver.
"It may be all the way to the nominating convention before we know who is going to get the Democratic nomination," CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer said. "It may be one of these old fashioned, which delegation are you going to seat at the convention, and all that kind of business … all those thrilling stories of yesteryear."
Going forward, both Clinton and Obama may increase their focus on the economy. Exit polling showed that nearly half of Democratic voters said the economy was their top priority, and more than 90 percent said they thought it was in bad shape.
According to nationwide early exit polling, nearly half of Democratic voters said the economy was their top priority, and more than 90 percent said they thought the economy was in bad shape.
Just over half, 51 percent, said the ability to bring change was the most important quality in a candidate, with 23 percent citing experience.
Yet those two qualities didn't end up driving Tuesday's results, Schieffer said.
"I think the interesting thing here is we were talking about this being an election about change or about experience, it's breaking down to be an election about gender and about race," he said. "I think this is not all about what we thought it was going to be about tonight."