JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Barack Obama coasted to victory in Mississippi’s Democratic primary yesterday, the latest in a string of racially polarized presidential contests across the Deep South and a final tune-up before next month’s high-stakes race with Hillary Rodham Clinton in Pennsylvania.
Obama was winning roughly 90 percent of the black vote but only about one-quarter of the white vote, extending a pattern that carried him to victory in earlier primaries in South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana.
His triumph seemed unlikely to shorten a Democratic marathon expected to last at least six more weeks – and possibly far longer – while Republicans and their nominee-in-waiting, Sen. John McCain, turn their attention to the fall campaign.
“Now we look forward to campaigning in Pennsylvania and around the country,” Maggie Williams, Clinton’s campaign manager, said in a written statement that congratulated Obama on his victory.
“I’m confident that once we get a nominee, the party is going to be unified,” Obama said as he collected his victory.
But in a race growing more contentious, he took a swipe at the way his rival’s campaign has conducted itself.
“We’ve been very measured in terms of how we talk about Senator Clinton,” he said. “I’ve been careful to say that I think Senator Clinton is a capable person and that should she win the nomination, obviously, I would support her. I’m not sure we’ve been getting that same approach from the Clinton campaign,” he said on CNN.
Returns from 92 percent of Mississippi’s precincts showed Obama gaining 59 percent, to 39 percent for Clinton.