Huckabee, Obama Win Iowa Caucuses

generic Iowa caucus huckabee obama
Sen. Barack Obama, bidding to become the nation's first black president, swept his way to victory in the Iowa caucuses Thursday night over Sen. Hillary Clinton and a high-powered Democratic field. Mike Huckabee rode a wave of support from evangelical Christians to win the opening round among Republicans in the 2008 campaign for the White House.

Obama, a first-term, 46-year-old senator from Illinois, told a raucous victory rally his triumph showed that in "big cities and small towns, you came together to say, 'We are one nation, we are one people and our time for change has come.'" (


Nearly complete returns showed the first-term lawmaker gaining 37 percent support. Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina came in second, barely nudging Clinton, the former first lady, to a close third.

Click here for complete Iowa results.

Huckabee, a preacher-turned-politician, handily defeated Mitt Romney despite being outspent by tens of millions of dollars and deciding in the campaign's final days to scrap television commercials that would have assailed the former Massachusetts governor.

"A new day is needed in American politics, just like a new day is needed in American government," the former Arkansas governor told cheering supporters. "It starts here but it doesn't end here. It goes all the way through the other states and ends at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." (


Huckabee's triumph was more robust than Obama's. Nearly complete returns showed Huckabee with 34 percent support, compared with 25 percent for Romney. Former Sen. Fred Thompson and Sen. John McCain battled for third place, while Texas Rep. Ron Paul wound up fifth and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani sixth.

Huckabee's win was partly fueled by Republican caucus attendees' concern with values. Just under half of attendees chose "shares my values" as the candidate characteristic that mattered most to them in deciding their support - compared to a third who wanted a candidate who says what he believes, and 14 percent who sought a candidate with experience. Among those who wanted a candidate that shared their values, nearly half supported Huckabee. (Read more on why Huckabee won)

"Huckabee's victory rocks an already unpredictable GOP race," said senior political editor Vaughn Ververs. "As the race heads to the New Hampshire primary just five days from now, it's not at all certain Huckabee has the time to capitalize on his momentum, but McCain has surged there in recent weeks, setting up a three-way battle that could be a must-win for Romney." (Read more analysis from Ververs)

With the New Hampshire primary only five days distant, Clinton and Edwards vowed to fight on in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Clinton called Obama to congratulate him, aides said. Her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, vowed, "This race begins tonight and ends when Democrats throughout America have their say. Our campaign was built for a marathon and we have the resources to run a national race in the weeks ahead." (


"We have always planned to run a national campaign," the former first lady told supporters at a noisy rally attended by her husband and their daughter, Chelsea. "I am so ready for the rest of this campaign, and I am so ready to lead." (Read more on Clinton)

Edwards told The Associated Press he would fight on in New Hampshire. He said he would distinguish himself from Obama by arguing that he is the candidate who can deliver the change that voters have shown they want. "I'm going to fight for that change," he said by telephone from his hotel room in Iowa. "I've fought for it my entire life. I have a long history of fighting powerful interests and winning." (


Not everyone was keeping the fight alive. Democratic Sens. Chris Dodd and Joe Biden abandoned their presidential bids Thursday night. (Read more on Dodd, Biden)

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said he would campaign in New Hampshire despite finishing in fourth place with a minuscule 2 percent support.

According to a CBS News entrance poll of Democratic caucus-goers, Obama's victory in the Iowa caucuses was driven by his support from a new political generation.

Well over half of those attending the Democratic presidential caucuses - 57 percent - were attending their first caucus ever, and their choice for the nomination was Obama, with 41 percent support. Clinton received only 29 percent of first-time votes, and Edwards trailed with 18 percent. (Among those who attended a caucus previously, Edwards - an Iowa caucus veteran from 2004 - won with 30 percent of the vote.) (Read more on why Obama won)