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Obama Wins Mississippi; Next Stop Pa.

Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) claimed an expected win over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) in Tuesday's Mississippi presidential primary, a win that sets the stage for a showdown in six weeks time in Pennsylvania.

Obama appeared to score a convincing win, as the race was called by several television networks and the Associated Press within 30 minutes of polls closing in the Magnolia State.

Exit polling cited by the AP showed the Mississippi vote divided starkly along racial lines. Obama won nine-in-ten black voters while Clinton took seven-in-ten white voters.

According to exit polls, Obama was winning roughly-one-in-four white voters in Mississippi -- a similar percentage to what he took in primary victories in Alabama (25 percent) and South Carolina (24 percent). In Georgia, which Obama won overwhelmingly, he took a more robust 43 percent of the white vote.

The Democratic race now enters a six-week slowdown, with no primaries or caucuses between tonight and Pennsylvania's primary on April 22. Clinton is favored in the Keystone State, but Obama is likely to focus heavily on the state if for no other reason than to keep Clinton's delegate advantage to a minimum.

The Mississippi vote was largely overshadowed by the white-hot rhetoric between the two campaigns over comments made by 1984 vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro about race and its impact on the contest.

A lively debate on that issue is already underway on The Fix. Join it here.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 11, 2008; 11:49 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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