The Democratic primaries in the United States are slowly turning out to a humdinger as Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton slug it out.
Both are bidding to create history if they go on to win their party's nomination and, hopefully, the presidency: Hillary will be the first woman President of the US, while Barack Obama the first African-American. Though the candidates stress otherwise, never before have race and gender been so tantalising an issue in the election to the most powerful political post in the world.
Obama's finest hour was two weeks ago, in Iowa, and since then his luck seems to have abandoned him. In New Hampshire and Nevada, Clinton bounced back strongly, forcing commentators to suggest that perhaps Obama will have to fight another day.
Over the weekend in South Carolina, Obama demonstrated that there was plenty of fight left in him by bagging 55 per cent of the vote compared to Clinton's 27 per cent. Not surprising at all, considering that more than 50 per cent of South Carolina's voters are black.
Naturally, support among the African Americans for Obama ran high, as high as four out of five voters. Among the whites, however, the majority of the votes was split between Clinton and former Senator John Edwards, Obama accounting for just a fourth.
Text: Rediff News Bureau
Caption: US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle celebrate victory in the South Carolina primary on Saturday.
Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
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