RealTime: Epic Showdown Not Going Away

CNN called tonight's primary contests in Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island "an epic political showdown." And it's still unclear who can declare him or herself the victor.

"You have to admire the gumption of Hillary Clinton," said Jeffrey Toobin, citing her cliff-edge recovery from two and now perhaps, just perhaps, three "political near-death experiences." Clinton has won Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island; Vermont, the only state Tuesday in which a majority of voters chose Iraq as their priority issue, went strongly for Obama. Obama is leading in the Texas caucus, a separate event from the primary.

Obama in San Antonio and Clinton in Columbus both gave stirring speeches. Obama assured his audiences, "We will not stand for the politics that uses religion as a wedge and patriotism as a bludgeon." Clinton addressed hers: “For everyone in America who has been counted out but refused to be knocked out, and for everyone who has stumbled but stood right back up and for everyone who works hard and never gives up, this one is for you!" But as the NYT Caucus blog pointed out, Obama looks unusually grim tonight. It's a rare occasion that a Clinton speech causes my heart to thud more heavily than an Obama speech, but tonight is one of those time. A few pundits have used the "mo-" word for Clinton — some say she has it, some say she doesn't, and still others point out that momentum or no momentum, delegate counts don't lie.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, it's all wrapped up! After defeating Mike Huckabee in all four contests, John McCain took his party's nomination. “No one has ever gotten this far with such limited resources,” Huckabee said in his concession speech.

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