Hillary becomes the favourite, or at least spins it that way … and it’s a good result for the Obama camp too, or so they’re claiming. All in all, the Democrats race ain’t over by a long shot.

HILLARY BECOMES THE FAVOURITE:

California falls to Clinton: New York Senator Hillary Clinton has won the California Democratic primary on “Super Tuesday”, beating rival Barack Obama in the biggest contest of the day, US media are projecting. California was the ninth and biggest state to go for the former first lady in voting on Super Tuesday, so called because nearly half of the US states are holding contests to choose Republican or Democratic candidates for the November general election … National exit polls showed more than half of Democratic voters ranked the ability to bring change as the top attribute for a candidate. Nearly one-quarter of Democrats voting in the party’s 22 contests ranked experience, Clinton’s selling card, as the most important attribute. – The Age

She got Samoa: I was kind of amused when she gave the Pacific territory such prominent mention in her South Carolina concession speech. But maybe it paid off —  Hillary Clinton has won the smallest contest of Super Tuesday, and she called the caucus to thank supporters. — Ben Smith’s blog Politico

Super Tuesday redefines what ‘winning’ means: Clinton’s crowds seem to come out of duty to support her barrier-breaking candidacy, and loyalty to the family that is near royalty in the Democratic Party. Obama’s supporters come out with energy, by the tens of thousands, even in unlikely places for a Democrat to be a draw, like the 15,000 who surged to his rally in Boise, Idaho. Obama has lit a prairie fire. Those two powerful, emotional pulls are framing the Democratic race, but without any durable trend. Sometimes obligation wins, sometimes enthusiasm. – Chicago Tribune

Clinton’s win in Kennedy country rattles Obama surge: Hillary Clinton last night delivered a blow to the power of the Kennedy legacy with a victory in Massachusetts that blunts Barack Obama’s momentum and restores her chances of capturing the Democratic nomination in the weeks ahead. She was projected to carry Tennessee, Oklahoma and Arkansas, where her husband spent years as governor. The projections were released before the close of voting in California, the largest prize of all in the string of 22 Democratic contests last night. Polls in California had shown a last-minute surge for Obama. – The Guardian 

Clinton Jumps the Gun—Correctly: The Clinton campaign is shameless in its gloating. Staffers just sent out another “surrogate talking points” memo that presumes Clinton has won Massachusetts, even though no major news outlet has called the race for her—calling it “one of the biggest surprises of the night.” They did the same thing with Tennesee, earlier. While we’d be happy to take the Clinton camp down for their smugness, it’s justified. With 12 percent of precincts reporting, Clinton has a wider lead over Obama than Romney has over McCain in the state. (Exit polls suggested a close Democratic race, so the networks haven’t projected.) Clinton tops Obama by nearly 20 points in a state where both senators and the governor endorsed Obama. – Slate

Clinton Takes the Stage: Mrs. Clinton is making sure to get on the 11 p.m. news on the East Coast. (And to catch any last-minute voters rushing to the polls in California.) A workman-like speech from Mrs. Clinton, not big on memorable lines. Maybe she’s trying to reinforce her “workhorse not a showhorse” image. But here’s an odd line: “I won’t let anyone Swift-Boat this country’s future.” Not quite sure what she’s talking about. Finally, 10 minutes in, she thanks Bill (and Chelsea). – Katharine Q Seelye, New York Times

GOOD RESULT FOR OBAMA TOO:

The fight’s not over: Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton put the brakes on surging rival Barack Obama in a series of Super Tuesday contests that left them where they started: Roughly at parity, each with enough wins and delegates to continue their historic quests to become the first female or black nominee of a major party. — USA Today

Wonkette’s version of Barack’s speech: Change is coming! Our time has come! Yes we can! Votes aren’t quite counted! House divided cannot stand! Winston tastes good like a cigarette should! Began as a whisper! Corn fields of Iowa! Teachers, cooks, hills of Nevada! Voices of the American People! Maybe we don’t have to be divided by the race and the gender! Crumbling schools! Not this time! Yes we can! Stakes Too High! Washington Players! — Wonkette

Super Wednesday: It’s already too late to book a room at the Harrisburg, Pa., Hilton in mid-April, but there are still hotel rooms in downtown San Juan in early June. Aides to the two Democrats running for president spent much of Monday talking not about Super Tuesday — today — but rather about Wednesday and beyond, as the prospect of an unprecedented long primary began to crystallize outside the cluttered offices of the field organizers, campaign managers and delegate counters. — Politico

Spin Tuesday: Twenty-two states and other entities held contests for the Democratic nomination yesterday — but the party’s refusal to adopt a winner-take-all system in the various states practically guaranteed that the result would be a jumble. “I don’t think that today’s going to end up being decisive,” Obama declared on network television as the polls opened. With the possibility of a “knockout punch” essentially absent, Super Tuesday turned into Spin Tuesday, as both campaigns sought to define victory down. — Washington Post

Obama crosses party lines: Clinton only weeks ago had hoped to wrap up the nomination by Super Tuesday. Tonight’s results at the very least keep her in a race that seemed to be shifting towards Barack Obama in recent days. But Obama scored several impressive victories, starting with the delegate-rich state of Georgia where he won nearly twice as many votes as Clinton. He took his home state of Illinois with an even bigger margin. But more importantly for Obama, he made important inroads into Clinton’s key areas of support, winning Connecticut, a neighbouring state of New York. Obama also made good on his claim to be able to galvanise the Democratic electorate and appeal across party lines. He won caucuses in Kansas, Minnesota, and North Dakota. — The Guardian

Don’t trust California’s exit polls: Poll junkies beware – California exit polls are not to be trusted. California has issued 5.5 million absentee ballots for today’s primary, reaching more than one-third of the 15.7 million total voters registered in the state. As of yesterday, 3 million ballots had already been returned, and state officials expect about 75 percent of the ballots to be returned by the close of polls—that’s 4.125 million people who voted without pulling a lever. (These numbers include both Democratic and Republican ballots.) The remaining ballots are expected to be turned in at polling stations today, just like you drop off a movie rental. —Slate

Democratic tide may have turned: But Clinton showed real weakness in her ability to compete against Obama for the African-American vote – even among women – could hurt her chances in the contests ahead. Obama won 88% of the black vote in Georgia. Obama also improved his share of the white vote, even in southern states such as Georgia where he won 39%. Although Clinton was still in the race last night, Obama remains a favourite as the campaign moves into three back-to-back contests over the next week. Obama is expected to do well in Louisiana, which holds its caucus on Saturday, because of the large African-American population. Obama is also well placed for the contests in Washington, DC, and neighbouring Maryland and Virginia next week. – The Guardian

Peter Fray

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