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The Democratic turnout of more than half a million in South Carolina eclipsed the Republican turnout from a week ago by 100,000 votes. Senator Barack Obama secured his first win since the Iowa caucuses by claiming 80 percent of the African-American votes.

NPR's Audie Cornish has more on the primary results.

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

AUDIE CORNISH: Six months ago, Senator Hillary Clinton was not only leading the polls in South Carolina, she was edging out Senator Barack Obama among African-American. But in the end, Obama got four black votes out of five, and they propelled him to an outright majority of the overall vote: 55 percent to Clinton's 27 and Edwards' 18.

Obama's big margin held among African-American women as well as men - women, such as Shirley Spears(ph) of Union, South Carolina, that says she thought the Illinois senator has a unifying campaign effort.

Ms. SHIRLEY SPEARS: So I left home, they have six coming out to your door to tell you to go vote and I don't (unintelligible). And I'm getting phone calls twice, telling to vote for Obama. I think he was a black and white thing, you know, they work together.

CORNISH: About two hours after the polls closed, Obama stood before a crowd that periodically bursts into chants of: Race doesn't matter. He told his supporters they were challenging the assumptions of identity politics.

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois; Presidential Candidate): The assumption that Republicans won't cross over, the assumption that the wealthy care nothing for the poor and that the poor don't vote, the assumption the African-Americans can't support the white candidate, whites can't support the African-American candidate, blacks and Latinos come - cannot come together. We are here tonight to say that that is not the America we believe in.

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

CORNISH: Obama referred several times to his win in Iowa and strong showing in New Hampshire, states with few minorities, repeatedly insisting this primary was not about race.

Sen. OBAMA: This election is about the past versus the future.

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

Sen. OBAMA: It's about whether we settle for the same divisions and destructions and drama that passes for politics today or whether we reach for a politics of common sense and innovation, a politics of shared sacrifice and shared prosperity.

CORNISH: The blowout result kept a long week of fierce exchanges between the Obama and Clinton camps. Obama complained of the tone and tactics, not only of Hillary Clinton but of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who has said the Obama campaign has attacked both him and his wife personally. By Friday, both campaigns tried to tone things down by pulling negative radio ads off the air, but in that time Obama saw his support among white voters diminish. Yesterday, he got just 25 percent of the white vote the rest of which went about equally to Clinton and former senator, John Edwards.

Last night, Edwards vowed to push on despite finishing third in his native state, the only state he won in 2004.

Mr. JOHN EDWARDS (Former Democratic Senator, North Carolina; Presidential Candidate): If you're one of the millions of Americans who have yet to cast your vote in this Democratic process, beginning on February 5 and moving beyond, your voice will be heard and we will be there with you every single step of the way.

CORNISH: By the time Edwards was talking about moving on, Senator Hillary Clinton already had. The lights worn out at local polling stations before she was on a plane to a Super Tuesday state. Speaking at a town meeting-style event in Nashville, Tennessee, she congratulated her rival but made it clear this was little more than an evening of the score at two big wins apiece.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Presidential Candidate): And I've always said that this contest was going to go for a long time as people have dropped out and has gotten just down to a couple of us, and February 5th has always been, for me, the key.

CORNISH: This was the last Democratic contest before Super Tuesday. Florida votes on Tuesday, but the result will not yield any delegates on the Democratic side. The National Party has stripped Florida of its delegates from moving its primary into January in violation of party rules, and the candidates have not campaigned in the state.

Audie Cornish, NPR News, Columbia, South Carolina.

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