Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, defeated former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, 55% to 37%, in their party's contest in Wisconsin. McCain also won the GOP's Washington primary, moving him closer to formally clinching the nomination, even as Huckabee continued to resist pressure to withdraw in the cause of unity.
With his 58% to 41% Wisconsin victory, Obama widened his narrow lead over Clinton in delegates. With a victory late Tuesday in caucuses in Hawaii, he extended his streak to ten, winning every contest since the Feb. 5 blast of coast-to-coast primaries and caucuses.
The Illinois senator accepted victory at a rally in Houston, where he told thousands of rabid supporters that "the change we seek is still months and miles away, and we need the good people of Texas to help us get there."
"We will need you to fight for every delegate it takes to win this nomination," he said. "And if we win the nomination, if we are blessed and honored to win the nomination, then we're going to need your help to win the election in November."
Both McCain, anticipating a November matchup, and Clinton, straining to survive to the next big contests on March 4, took after Obama as they spoke to supporters Tuesday night. Clinton did not mention the Wisconsin results when, in Youngstown, Ohio, she forwarded her most lancing election night critique of Obama.
"While words matter, the best words in the world aren't enough unless you match them with action," the New York senator said.
"One of us is ready to be commander in chief in a dangerous world," Clinton said. "One of us has a plan to provide healthcare for every American from Day One. . . . One of us has faced serious Republican opposition in the past and is ready to do it again."
Aides said she called Obama with congratulations after her speech.
McCain, speaking in Columbus, Ohio, contrasted himself with "the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate" -- clearly meaning Obama.
"I will fight every moment of every day in this campaign to make sure that Americans are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change," he added.
Obama returned the jabs. Without naming Clinton, he said that change would "require more than policy papers and positions and websites. . . . Because the problem that we face in America today is not a lack of good ideas. It's that Washington has become a place where good ideas go to die."
Obama called McCain a "genuine American hero" but disputed the premise of his candidacy.
"When he embraces George Bush's failed economic policies, when he says that he is willing to send our troops into another 100 years of war in Iraq," Obama said, "then he represents the policies of yesterday, and we want to be the party of tomorrow."
Wisconsin offered some promise to Clinton because of its mass of mostly white working-class voters -- who until last week had backed her. Yet they spurned Clinton on Tuesday. She won women, a bulwark of her campaign, only narrowly. Obama swamped Clinton among one of his strongest voter blocs, the young. He won all age groups under 65, and ran strongly among independents, who were allowed to vote in either primary.
In Wisconsin, Clinton and Obama were vying for 74 delegates, while Huckabee and McCain were competing for 37. Most were to be allocated based on results in the state's eight congressional districts.
In Hawaii, meanwhile, 20 delegates were at stake in caucuses that were open only to Democrats. And in Washington, 19 Republican delegates were to be determined. Although voting also was held on the Democratic side, the party's delegates were apportioned according to the results of a Feb. 9 caucus.
Voters in Wisconsin bundled up against the single-digit chill -- many in green and gold, the colors of their beloved Green Bay Packers -- as a rush of voting opened the day.
The economy was their primary concern, exit polls and interviews showed.