GWEN IFILL: Super Tuesday has given way to what might be dubbed whither Wednesday, as in, how much longer can this go on? The Republican and Democratic leaders forged ahead today, leaving rivals with some hard calculating to do.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: What a Super Tuesday.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
GWEN IFILL: It was a big night for front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. With seven Super Tuesday wins apiece, each now holds commanding leads.
For the rest of the field, Tuesday’s results dramatically narrowed any path to the nomination. But most promised, for now, to press on. Ted Cruz won three states last night and he campaigned late today in Kansas.
And, today, Marco Rubio cast his vote early for the March 15 Florida primary.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), Republican Presidential Candidate: You know, last night was supposed to be Ted Cruz’s night. We beat him in half the states on the ballot. We won the state of Minnesota. We picked up a lot of delegates and we feel great about what the map looks like now moving forward.
GWEN IFILL: And although he won no states yesterday, Ohio Governor John Kasich headed to Michigan this afternoon.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), Republican Presidential Candidate: Listen, we have an election coming, they tell me, and it would be really, really if the people in Michigan voted for somebody from Ohio.
GWEN IFILL: Ben Carson, who has trailed far behind the others, announced today he is dropping out of tomorrow’s GOP debate in his hometown of Detroit, writing supporters: “I do not see a political path forward.”
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders won four states last night, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Colorado and his home state of Vermont. He campaigned in Maine today, taking shots at both Clinton and Trump.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-D), Democratic Presidential Candidate: And it turns out that when they do these matchups of Sanders vs Trump, Clinton vs Trump, we almost always do better in those matchups than Secretary Clinton. So, if people want a candidate who will defeat one or another of these right-wing Republicans, I think you’re looking at him this afternoon.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
GWEN IFILL: But Clinton won significantly more delegates, with lopsided victories mostly in the South.
Many Republicans have not embraced Trump’s status as prohibitive front-runner. Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 standard-bearer, announced he will deliver an address on the state of the race tomorrow. And although he has been harshly critical of Trump, there was no indication he plans to endorse a candidate or jump in the race himself.
Democrats appeared to relished Trump’s triumph.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), Minority Leader: Republicans shouldn’t be surprised. They spent eight years laying the groundwork for the rise of Donald Trump. The reality is that Republican leaders are reaping what they have sown.
GWEN IFILL: Tuesday night’s winners are clearly setting their sights on the general election and on each other.
HILLARY CLINTON: It’s clear tonight that the stakes in this election have never been higher, and the rhetoric we’re hearing on the other side has never been lower.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Republican Presidential Candidate: Once we get all of this finished, I’m going to go after one person — that’s Hillary Clinton — on the assumption that she’s allowed to run, which is a big assumption. I don’t know that she’s going to be allowed to run. And I think that’s, frankly, going to be an easy race.
GWEN IFILL: Voters in more than a dozen states head to the polls over the next two weeks, including in delegate-rich Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Michigan.
We will analyze the state of the race after the news summary.