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McCain Takes on Obama as Candidates Push Toward Texas, Ohio

Barack Obama campaigned Wednesday as the Democratic front runner after victories in Wisconsin and Hawaii -- and ran into new criticism from his rival, Hillary Clinton, and from top Republican candidate John McCain, who said the Illinois senator waffled on accepting public funds. Analysts look at what's ahead in Ohio and Texas.

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    Looking toward Ohio and Texas. Kwame Holman tracks today's campaign action.

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), Illinois: Thank you guys. Thank you. Thank you. Well, you all do it big in Texas.


    Barack Obama campaigned this afternoon in Dallas, Texas, a day after extending his primary and caucus win streak to 10.

    Obama defeated Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin yesterday by 17 percentage points. The margin was even wider in Hawaii — Obama's birthplace — where he dominated the Democratic caucus with 76 percent of the vote.

    Obama told the Dallas crowd that his candidacy offered voters a distinct choice not only from Mrs. Clinton, but also from John McCain, the likely Republican nominee.


    You know, today Senator Clinton told us that there is a choice in this race. And, you know, I couldn't agree with her more.

    But contrary to what she's been saying, it's not a choice between speeches and solutions. It's a choice between a politics that offers more of the same divisions and distractions that didn't work in South Carolina and didn't work in Wisconsin and will not work in Texas.

    Or a new politics of common sense, of common purpose, of shared sacrifices, shared prosperity. It's a choice between having a debate with John McCain about who has the most experience in Washington or having a debate about who's most likely to change Washington, because that's the debate we can win.


    Obama picked up another endorsement today, this one from the Teamsters union, his fourth from organized labor in a week.

    Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton rallied supporters and raised some money, as well, this morning at New York's Hunter College. She, too, drew contrasts between herself, her Democratic rival, and the presumptive Republican nominee.

    SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), New York: So there are big differences in this election between me and Senator Obama and between me and Senator McCain, whether we favor speeches or solutions to move our country forward or more of the same, old Republican policies. This is a debate that the voters deserve to have.


    Clinton also told the crowd she wasn't discouraged about the lengthening string of defeats.


    My campaign is about an America of shared opportunity, shared prosperity, and shared responsibility. I do believe we're all in this together.

    And we're going to demonstrate loudly and clearly that our country is worth fighting for, our country is worth standing up for, and this campaign goes on, and this campaign moves forward, and this campaign, with your help, will take our country back. Thank you all, and God bless you.


    With victories in Wisconsin and Washington state, John McCain moved that much closer to wrapping up the Republican nomination for president.

    McCain took 55 percent of the vote in Wisconsin in his win over Mike Huckabee. His Washington state victory was larger, winning with a 27-point margin.

    During a news conference this morning in Columbus, Ohio, McCain raised a foreign policy issue, criticizing Barack Obama for saying last summer he would attack Al Qaida targets if found inside Pakistan.

    SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), Arizona: The best idea is to not broadcast what you're going to do. That's naive.

    The first thing that you do is you make your plans and you carry out your operations as necessary for America's national security interest. You don't broadcast that you are going to bomb a country that is a sovereign nation and that you are dependent on the goodwill of the people of that country to help you in the war, in the struggle against Taliban and the sanctuaries which they hold.


    And during his victory address last night, McCain dismissed Obama's campaign for change as nothing more than hollow rhetoric.


    I will fight every moment of every day in this campaign to make sure Americans are not deceived by an eloquent, but empty call for change that…

    It's no more than an eloquent, but empty call for change that promises no more than a holiday from history and a return to the false promises and failed policies of a tired philosophy that trusts in government more than the people.


    Mike Huckabee was in Little Rock, Arkansas, last night, vowing to stay in the hunt for the Republican nomination despite seemingly insurmountable odds.

    FORMER GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE (R), Arkansas: Some have even suggested that the reason I keep going is maybe just there's some ego trip. Let me assure you that, if it were ego, my ego doesn't enjoy getting these kind of evenings where we don't win the primary elections.

    So it's got to be something other than that, and it is. It's about convictions. It's about principles that I dearly, dearly believe in.

    It's about believing that the message of pro-life, standing firm and unflinchingly for a human life amendment, is an important discussion that we must have in our Republican Party.


    Huckabee and McCain have no other debates scheduled, while Hillary Clinton will debate Barack Obama tomorrow night in Texas and again next Tuesday in Ohio.