Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama split victories in primary elections and caucuses Tuesday, known as Super Tuesday, when voters in two dozen American states voiced their preference for presidential nominees. Mike O'Sullivan reports, John McCain scored important wins over two rivals, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, to claim the title of frontrunner in the Republican race.
Arizona Senator John McCain won races in New York, New Jersey, California and a number of other key states. He called them important victories in the closest contest the country has to a national primary election.
"We've won primaries in the West, the South, the Midwest, and the Northeast," McCain said. "And, although I've never minded the role of the underdog and have relished as much as anyone come-from-behind wins, tonight I think we must get used to the idea that we are the Republican Party frontrunner for the nomination for president of the United States."
In Democratic races, Senator Hillary Clinton won her home state of New York and neighboring New Jersey and also scored other key wins around the country.
"Tonight in record numbers you voted not just to make history, but to remake America - People in American Samoa, Arkansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee and the great state of New York," Clinton said.
Hispanic support helped Clinton clinch a win in California, which offers the largest number of delegates to the nominating conventions of both parties. However, as in most states, California's delegates will be proportioned among the vote-getters
Clinton's Democratic rival, Senator Barack Obama, scored important wins in his home state, Illinois, and in other parts of the country, from Alabama and Georgia in the South to the western states, Colorado and Utah.
"Our time has come," Obama said. "Our movement is real and change is coming to America."
On the Republican side, former Governor Mitt Romney had victories in states that include his home state, Massachusetts in addition to Utah, Colorado and Montana.
"One thing that's clear is. This campaign is going on," said Romney.
Republican Mike Huckabee won his home state, Arkansas - where he served as governor - and four states in the South: West Virginia, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. The one-time Baptist minister had limited financing, but challenged critics who said he was out of the race.
"Over the past few days, a lot of people have been trying to say that this is a two-man race," said Huckabee. "Well, you know what? It is. And we're in it."
The presidential contests continue for both parties, with upcoming primaries in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia February 12, and Ohio and Texas March 4.