Florida Presidential Primary: McCain Wins, Giuliani Drops Out
Update: Top Edwards adviser Joe Trippi: Obama and Clinton are "banging down the doors" for our endorsement.
Update: Obama, Clinton respond to Edwards dropping out.
Giuliani to drop out, and endorse McCain, after disappointing third-place finish. Read details here.
Florida election results: Click here for complete results from CNN.
Sen. John McCain won a breakthrough triumph in the Florida primary Tuesday night, seizing the upper hand in the Republican presidential race ahead of next week's coast-to-coast contests and lining up a quick endorsement from soon-to-be dropout Rudy Giuliani.
"It shows one thing: I'm the conservative leader who can unite the party," McCain told The Associated Press after easing past former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for his first-ever triumph in a primary open only to Republicans.
More from the AP here on Giuliani's plans to drop out of the presidential race and endorse McCain. Mitt Romney has vowed to continue campaigning (and his Florida concession speech cut off Giuliani's).
Watch Rudy's speech, via TPM:
Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch stomps on Rudy's electoral grave: "The beast is dead."
Clinton wins "beauty contest": The Democratic primary in Florida is mostly meaningless -- the state has been stripped of its delegates and none of the candidates campaigned there -- but Sen. Hillary Clinton won the state handily.
The Obama campaign, with tongue in cheek, said Florida is a tie -- and in fact, the exit polls show Obama actually beat Clinton among voters who decided late. Read the post-Florida spin from both campaigns here.
After the results came in, Clinton did a series of television interviews. On Fox, she was "asked about the moment at the State of the Union Address last night when Barack Obama turned away from her. Mrs. Clinton said: 'I reached out my hand in friendship and unity and my hand is still reaching out, and I look forward to shaking his hand when I see him at the debate in California.'"
The Huffington Post has an exclusive interview tonight with Florida Democratic powerhouse, former Senator Bob Graham. He talks Clinton, Obama, and the Florida race.
Below are some exit poll highlights collected by the Associated Press:
RISING IMPORTANCE FOR FALLING ECONOMY
Given four choices, nearly half of Florida Republican primary voters said the economy is the most important issue facing the country. Terrorism, Iraq and immigration each were picked by fewer than two in 10. The economy also was the top issue out of three choices for voters in the Democratic primary, which none of the candidates contested because of questions over whether Florida's Democratic delegates will be seated. The economy has been seen as increasingly important since the start of the 2008 presidential nomination season.
AND HOW'S THE ECONOMY DOING?
Republicans were more likely than Democrats to rate the national economy positively, though few in either party rated it excellent. A third of Republicans but fewer than one in 10 Democrats rated the economy good. Half of Democrats called it poor, compared to only about one in seven Republican primary voters.
THE GRAYING OF THE PRIMARIES
Both parties' electorates were older than in any other presidential contest this year. A third or more in each primary were at least 65 years old. In earlier Democratic contests no more than a quarter were senior citizens, and on the Republican side only the Nevada caucuses came anywhere close to Florida in the proportion of older voters.
Rush Limbaugh's voting problems: From the Palm Beach Post:
"I hit 'Next' and it didn't go there," said Limbaugh, who lives in Palm Beach and often recounts the county's electoral foibles on his show.
Then he hit the "Back" button and "got my candidate page again with the vote already recorded there. So I said 'hmmmmm, I wonder if this is going to count twice."
So he unclicked his favored candidate, clicked that candidate again and hit "Next" a second time - and it worked