McCain Can Launch National Campaign; Democrats Still Stuck


This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

This week, Arizona Senator John McCain claimed the Republican nomination for president. His wins in four state primaries Tuesday gave him enough delegates to begin his national campaign for the November election. But against which Democrat?

New York Senator Hillary Clinton won three out of the four primaries, including the big states of Ohio and Texas. She also won Rhode Island. Illinois Senator Barack Obama won Vermont.

Hillary Clinton's victories marked a major comeback. She lost twelve straight caucuses and primaries to Barack Obama. In her victory speech in Ohio, she spoke of the importance of that state. She noted that no candidate in recent history, Democrat or Republican, has won the presidency without winning Ohio.

She received the majority of white and Latino votes in Ohio and Texas. But Barack Obama remained more popular among blacks and voters under the age of thirty.

Senator Obama still holds a small lead in the delegate count. The next big primary is in Pennsylvania on April twenty-second. Ten states along with Guam and Puerto Rico have yet to vote. But it remains unlikely that either Democrat will win enough delegates to secure the nomination before the party's convention in late August.  

The tight race has brought new attention to Florida and Michigan. Those states want their votes to count at the national convention. But they held their primaries too early, in violation of party rules which those states had agreed to.

As punishment, the party took away the two hundred ten delegates from Florida and one hundred fifty-six from Michigan. Hillary Clinton won the primaries in both states, though Barack Obama was not even on the ballot in Michigan.

The governors of Michigan and Florida have presented a joint request to the party to seat their delegates at the convention. They say the national party is silencing the voices of more than five million people.

Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean says Florida and Michigan should repeat their primaries. But he says the national party will not pay the estimated several million dollars in costs.

As Michigan and Florida try to find a solution, the candidates look toward votes in Wyoming on Saturday and Mississippi on Tuesday.

The two Democrats are also trying to win the support of almost eight hundred superdelegates. These are party leaders and elected officials who can vote for any candidate at the convention. They represent about twenty percent of all the delegates who will vote at the convention.

On the Republican side, President Bush announced his support for John McCain at the White House on Wednesday. The two men had competed for the Republican nomination in two thousand, and Mister Bush won. The seventy-one-year-old Senator McCain now has to name a choice for vice president. He says he has just begun that process.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. I'm Steve Ember.