Obama Wins S.C. as Edwards and Clinton Trail

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Sen. Barack Obama has won South Carolina's Democratic primary, based on early returns and exit polls. With polling places now closed, early data show Sen. Hillary Clinton in second place and the state's native son, Sen. John Edwards, in third.


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Andrea Seabrook.

Polling places have just closed in South Carolina, and NPR is projecting that Barack Obama will win based on early returns and exit polls. Those same early returns and exit polls have Hillary Clinton and the state's native son John Edwards in a contest for second place.

NPR senior Washington editor Ron Elving is with me here in the studio for our coverage of the South Carolina contest.

Hello, Ron.

RON ELVING: Good to be with you, Andrea.

SEABROOK: And we have reporters in the state with the candidates. Let's go first to NPR's Audie Cornish with the Obama campaign in the state capital of Columbia.

Audie, what's the mood there? Are the Obama supporters feeling confident, celebrating?

AUDIE CORNISH: Well, there's, of course, a lot of cheering going on because there are other outlets besides NPR that are talking about Obama winning this, and so there is - so, people are definitely in good spirit. I should say the place is pretty empty because there are some serious security provisions. And so, people are still being wanded and going through very stringent security lines outside.

SEABROOK: Mmm, interesting. Any word, Audie, on when Senator Obama will speak at this point?

CORNISH: No, there isn't. He is watching the returns in a hotel just up the road. His primary watch party was slated to begin at 7:30. The race is being called quite soon. I mean, compared to last week at the GOP where we didn't hear real, definitive results until quite late in the night. So, there's no word yet about when he'll come out and address the crowd. And the crowd is not fully in the building, yet.


ELVING: Audie, there's been a lot of talk all week about loyalty among black Democrats in South Carolina. Did they feel competing loyalty here to the Clintons that perhaps was overcome by an even greater affinity with Barack Obama?

CORNISH: When I talked to voters, I put this question to them. What they told me is that they felt that the candidates were pretty equal; that they were similar in a lot of issues. And I guess that's where this issue of affinity comes in, because if all things being equal, I guess, why not Barack, which is the response I sort of got from several voters today. And some who - I had one woman say to me, you know, I hate to admit this but his being African-American was a big deal for me. And I like them both, but I ended up going for him when I finally hit the button in the voting booth.

SEABROOK: NPR's Audie Cornish in Columbia.

Thanks for speaking with us and have a good night down there.

CORNISH: Thanks.

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