Posted: February 19, 2008 9:44 PM
After Projected Wis. Win, McCain Takes a Swipe at Obama
Shortly after he was projected to easily win the GOP race in Wisconsin, Arizona Sen. John McCain took a swipe at his possible Democratic challenger for the presidency.
McCain, who was projected to win the race by the Associated Press and other major news networks, told a victory rally in Columbus, Ohio, that he’s a superstitious man but can “claim with confidence and humility” that he’ll be taking his party into the presidential election.
The senator said he would fight in his campaign to make sure Americans are not deceived by “an eloquent but empty call for change” that “promises no more than a holiday from history” a not-so-subtle dig at the central theme of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign.
McCain’s easy primary victory in Wisconsin over former Gov. Mike Huckabee moved him closer to clinching the Republican nomination, an outcome that has hardly been in question as other GOP hopefuls have dropped out of contention.
McCain offered no criticism of his rival for staying in the race. He said Huckabee has shown “impressive grit and passion.”
In Wisconsin, McCain won 13 delegates by carrying the popular vote, with 24 delegates still to be awarded, the AP reported. In other Tuesday contests, there are 19 GOP delegates at stake in the second half of the Washington state race.
It will take 1,191 delegates to claim the Republican nomination at this summer’s national convention.
According to exit polls of Wisconsin voters conducted for the AP, McCain made some gains with his party’s pivotal conservative voters, but he still has some fences to mend.
Huckabee, as usual, fared well with white, born-again and evangelical Christians, winning six in 10 of their votes. But they comprised only a quarter of voters in the GOP contest.
McCain was winning six in 10 votes of all other voters. That included getting just over half the votes of people calling themselves loyal Republicans. Among independents — his usual strength — he was attracting slightly more than four in 10 votes, compared to one-third for Huckabee and one in 10 for Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
McCain and Huckabee were evenly dividing conservatives, a group McCain has struggled all year to win, but it was a better showing for him than usual. He had a near 3-to-1 lead among moderates, a group that has strongly backed him.
The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 7 percentage points for Republicans voters.