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No rest for Clinton, Obama; 7 more contests fast approach

  • Story Highlights
  • Vote still too close to call in New Mexico
  • CNN estimates: Hillary Clinton earns a handful more delegates than Barack Obama
  • Four states hold contests this weekend; three other races set for next Tuesday
  • Obama, Clinton spent combined $21 million on TV advertising in past two weeks
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(CNN) -- With Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton almost even in delegate counts, the two Democratic presidential candidates will focus on several weekend contests and then a trio of primaries in the Washington area next Tuesday.

Super Tuesday delivered a split decision for the Democrats. CNN estimates showed Clinton earned a handful more delegates than Obama, who surprised observers by taking states where the senator from New York had large polling leads until recently.

The latest estimate gave Clinton 582 of the 1,681 delegates at stake Tuesday, compared with 562 for Obama. It will take time to determine the final distribution because of complicated formulas.

CNN's overall count showed Clinton leading at this point in delegates with 823 to Obama's 731. They'll need 2,025 to secure their party's nomination.

Both candidates fly to Washington on Wednesday afternoon for Senate votes, but the next day Obama holds a major rally in New Orleans ahead of this weekend's Louisiana primary.

Washington state and Nebraska also hold caucuses Saturday, and Maine will hold its caucuses Sunday.

Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia hold their presidential primaries next Tuesday.

"I look forward to continuing our campaign and our debates about how to leave this country better off for the next generation, because that is the work of my life," the former first lady told supporters at her headquarters in New York on Tuesday night.

Clinton took Tuesday's biggest prize of California, but Obama still earned a large share of the state's 441 Democratic delegates.

Clinton won her home state of New York and neighboring New Jersey as well as Massachusetts, where the state's two U.S. senators and the governor had endorsed Obama.

She also won primaries in Arkansas, where her husband was governor for more than a decade, and neighboring Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Arizona and American Samoa also fell into Clinton's column.

But Obama won two Deep South states -- Alabama and Georgia -- with overwhelming African-American support despite early endorsements of Clinton by many black officials. And he won caucuses across Midwestern and Rocky Mountain states with mostly white populations -- Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, North Dakota and Kansas.

Obama also won primaries in Alaska, Utah, Delaware, Connecticut and Illinois, which sent him to the Senate in 2004.

The two were still in a back-and-forth race in New Mexico as the final votes were being counted on Wednesday.

"The votes are still being counted in cities and towns across America," Obama told supporters in Chicago, Illinois. "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."

The Democrats award delegates based on a proportion of the vote, and Tuesday's primaries and caucuses were less decisive than in the Republican races, where many states awarded delegates on a winner-take-all basis.

Clinton racked up a string of wins in populous states, but "she's not taking them convincingly," said David Gergen, a former adviser to the Reagan and Clinton administrations.

"She won New York by 15 points. Barack Obama won Illinois by 30 -- his own home state," Gergen said. "So it's closer in the delegate camp, but she is moving. You get the sense their wagon is continuing to roll."

Clinton and Obama split the early Democratic contests, with Obama winning the Iowa caucuses and South Carolina primary and Clinton taking the New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucuses. Clinton also won primaries in Florida and Michigan, but those states were stripped of their delegates for moving their primaries up in defiance of the national Democratic Party. Video Watch how the delegates will be assigned »

Each of the surviving Democrats has raised more than $100 million to date, and they spent a combined $21 million on television advertising in the past two weeks, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG, CNN's consultant on political ad spending. Obama spent about $12 million since January 21, said Evan Tracey, CMAG's chief operating officer.

"He is putting his money to work," Tracey said. "He has turned up the volume, not only in the February 5 states but beyond."

As in South Carolina, African-American voters made up about half the turnout in Georgia and Alabama -- and exit polls indicated that Obama, the son of a Kenyan immigrant father and a white mother, took about 80 percent of that vote. Meanwhile, his nearly 40 percent showing among white voters in Georgia was an improvement over South Carolina, where native son former Sen. John Edwards was also in the mix. View what is at stake on Super Tuesday »

Edwards dropped out of the Democratic race last week following a string of third-place showings.

Clinton's campaign played down the Georgia and Alabama results, saying it did not seriously contest the states. But she had the support of members of the black political establishment there, including former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young and U.S. Rep. John Lewis -- onetime lieutenants of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. -- and both she and former President Clinton made campaign appearances there last week.

Meanwhile, Clinton talked up her projected victory in Massachusetts. Obama received endorsements from Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, the latter the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, and Gov. Deval Patrick. Video Watch Clinton cast her ballot »


Her campaign said the results prove Clinton can show strength in places Obama "was expected to win." But Obama spokesman Bill Burton pointed out that the senator from Illinois trailed Clinton in Massachusetts by more than 30 points in late January.

"We're happy for a close result," Burton said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Candy Crowley, Mark Preston and Suzanne Malveaux contributed to this report.

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