Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama battled to a draw on Super Tuesday as twenty-two states held primaries and caucuses to determine the Democratic presidential nominee. Clinton won four of the five largest states up for grabs, including California and New York, but Obama kept pace by winning at least thirteen states overall. Meanwhile, Senator John McCain has proclaimed himself the Republican frontrunner after winning nine states.
John McCain: “And although I’ve never minded the role of the underdog and have relished as much as anyone come-from-behind wins, tonight I think we must get used to the idea that we are the Republican Party frontrunner for the nomination for president of the United States.”
While McCain celebrated victories in California, New York, Illinois and other states, the Arizona senator failed to win any Southern states, as Mike Huckabee took Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and West Virginia. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney vowed to stay in the race after winning seven states. Republican contender Ron Paul failed to win any states but placed second in Montana. The Democratic race between Clinton and Obama is now expected to continue for weeks, if not months. According to the Washington Post, Clinton won a total of 582 delegates on Tuesday, just twenty more than Obama. Both of their campaigns attempted to claim a Super Tuesday victory.
Sen. Barack Obama: “Well, the polls are just closing in California, and the votes are still being counted in cities and towns across America. But there is one thing — you know I love you back — but there is one thing on this February night that we do not need the final results to know: our time has come, our movement is real, and change is
coming to America.”
While Barack Obama directed much of his speech at Hillary Clinton, the former First Lady looked forward to the general election.
Sen. Hillary Clinton: “After seven years of a president who listens only to the special interests, you’re ready for a president who brings your voice, your values and your dreams to your White House.”
The 2008 campaign is already close to surpassing the entire cost of the 2004 election. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the nearly $500 million spent so far already surpasses every election from 1976 through 2000. The candidates are on pace to raise $1 billion before November, breaking the 2004 record of $880 million.
At least twenty-seven people were killed Tuesday in tornadoes that tore through four states. The dead included thirteen people in Tennessee and another eleven in Arkansas. At least four others died in Kentucky and Arkansas. The storms caused major damage, destroying a gas station near Nashville and shattering several homes in Arkansas.
The CIA has admitted to using the interrogation technique known as waterboarding at least three times after the 9/11 attacks. CIA Director Michael Hayden made the admission in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
CIA Director Michael Hayden: “Let me make it very clear and to state so officially in front of this committee that waterboarding has been used on only three detainees. It
was used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It was used on Abu Zubaydah. And it was used on Nashiri. The CIA has not used waterboarding for almost five years. We used it against these three high-value detainees because of the circumstances of the time. Very critical to those circumstances was the belief that additional catastrophic attacks against the homeland were imminent.”
Despite denying its recent use, Hayden went on to urge lawmakers not to outlaw waterboarding, because he said it might be needed in the future. The CIA admitted late last year to destroying videotapes capturing the interrogations of two of the prisoners that Hayden mentioned — Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Hayden also claimed the CIA has practiced what he called “enhanced interrogation techniques” on one-third of the around 100 prisoners he says have been detained.
The Iraqi government is opening the door to major international oil firms despite a parliamentary stalemate over a controversial US-backed oil law. In an interview with the Financial Times, Iraq’s oil minister said companies are submitting applications for licenses that will lead to the first oil development contracts next year. Several multinationals have already entered in technical support deals. But the new contracts would mark the first time they’re offered a major role to tap into Iraq’s reserves.
UN spokesperson Rod Redmond: “A five-member UNHCR team arrived last evening in the Cameroon border town of Kousseri. They estimate that up to 20,000 people have crossed the river border with Chad on Saturday to escape fighting in the Chadian capital N’Djamena. As of this morning, frightened people were still crossing the bridge in a continuous flow from Chad, N’Djamena to Kousseri.”
The rebels say they’re trying to overthrow a dictatorship. Chad has accused the Sudanese government of backing the rebels to delay the deployment of a European Union force for Darfurian refugees there. France has said its prepared to intervene after the UN Security Council authorized it to back the Chadian government.
In Israel and the Occupied Territories, at least seven Palestinian militants were killed Tuesday in an Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip. The strike destroyed a Hamas-controlled police station. It followed Palestinian rocket fire on the Israeli town of Sderot, causing two injuries. Meanwhile, Hamas is now claiming responsibility for a suicide attack Monday that killed one Israeli and injured nearly a dozen others. It was the first suicide bombing inside Israel in more than a year and the first time Hamas has claimed responsibility for one since August 2004.
Back in the United States, a federal district court has overruled the Bush administration’s exemption of the Navy from two environmental laws limiting the use of sonar. The decision upholds an earlier court ruling in a case brought by environmentalists who say sonar is harmful to whales and other marine life. The administration had sought the exemption for submarine warfare training off the southern California coast.
And in media news, the cable network Fox News has welcomed its latest on-air pundit: former White House Deputy Karl Rove. Rove began his new gig during Fox News coverage of the Super Tuesday primaries.