Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama dug in Wednesday for a prolonged struggle over the Democratic presidential nomination, a woman and a black man in a campaign unlike any other. John McCain claimed the role of resident underdog in the Republican race, despite his big win in the New Hampshire primary. "Maybe I have liberated us to actually let women be human beings in public," said Clinton, the former first lady, reflecting on a memorable moment of emotion the day before she gained her own New Hampshire victory.
Obama saw it differently. "We have to make sure that we take it to them just like they take it to us," he said. Despite his defeat, he pocketed the support of two major Nevada labor unions in advance of that state's Jan. 19 caucuses and predicted a win in the South Carolina primary a week later.
Their competition narrowed Wednesday with news that Bill Richardson, governor of the Western state of New Mexico, was ending his campaign for the presidency after twin fourth-place finishes that showed his impressive credentials could not compete with his rivals' star power. He has one of the most wide-ranging resumes of any candidate ever to run for the presidency: besides state administration, he served in Congress and his state's legislature; was in President Bill Clinton's Cabinet; headed the U.S. delegation at the United Nations; negotiated with despots as a freelance diplomat. As a Hispanic, he added to the unprecedented diversity in the Democratic field that also included a woman and a black man whose father was from Kenya.
After the grueling, monthslong slog through Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton and Obama face a brief lull in the calendar but collide four weeks from now in primaries and caucuses in 22 states in the equivalent of a nationwide primary.