Clinton wins Ohio

COLUMBUS (CBS/AP) -- CBS News projects Democratic presidential candidate Sen.

will win the crucial Ohio primary. Clinton and Sen.

are still battling for the Texas primary.

Also tonight, CBS News projects Republican Sen.

has clinched the Republican nomination for president.

.

McCain will win Republican primaries Tuesday in Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island, CBS News projects. McCain's last Republican rival,

, dropped out of the race after the results came in.

McCain will travel to the White House tomorrow where he will receive the endorsement of President Bush. The president and McCain will have lunch and then appear together in the Rose Garden.

CBS News

reports that Obama called McCain from his San Antonio hotel room. The chat was cordial and brief.

"This clears the path for McCain to begin his general election process in earnest," said CBSNews.com Senior Political Editor Vaughn Ververs. "With a possible protracted battle on the Democratic side that could continue for weeks, it's a luxury Republicans need as they enter into a difficult road towards November."

CBS News projects that the two Democratic contenders will split the New England states voting today -- Obama will win in Vermont and Clinton will win in Rhode Island.

In all there were 370 Democratic delegates at stake in Rhode Island, Vermont, Ohio and Texas, which uses an unusual primary-caucus system.

According to CBS News early exit polls, the economy was the top issue for Democratic voters in all four states voting today. Large majorities of Democrats in all four states think the economy is in bad shape.

The economy was of most concern to Ohio Democratic voters. In Vermont, however, the economy nearly tied with Iraq as the most important issue.

Ohio Democratic voters hold mostly negative views on U.S. trade with other countries, according to the early exit polls. Eight in ten say trade takes jobs away from their state. In Texas, however, a lower number -- 58 percent -- say trade takes jobs away. In fact, in Texas, a quarter say U.S. trade with other countries creates jobs.

According to the exit polls, 32 percent of Texas Democratic primary voters are Hispanic -- up from the 24 percent in 2004. In Ohio, 20 percent are African American, compared to 14 percent in 2004. Eighteen percent of Texas primary voters today are black, compared to 21 percent in 2004.

After 11 straight victories, Obama had the momentum and the lead in the delegate chase. Going into tonight, Obama had a 1,390-1,276 lead in the CBS News count. See the latest CBS News state-by-state delegate tally.

Clinton in desperate need of a comeback with time running out - if it hadn't already.

"Hillary Clinton, if you believe the polls, and that's always a danger, seems to have made her move in the last couple of days," CBS News senior political correspondent Jeff Greenfield said. "I think part of that may have to do with her pounding away on the fact that Barack Obama doesn't have the experience - that so-called 3:00 a.m. ad." Read more about the ad.

CBS News anchor Katie Couric spoke Tuesday with Clinton in Columbus, asking her about the near-impossibility she faces in catching up to Obama in elected delegates.

"We're just working hard today to get all the votes that we possibly can get," Clinton said. "And, remember, this is a long journey. My husband didn't get the nomination until June of 1992 and I have every confidence that we're going to continue to pick up delegates as we go."

"So you're counting on super delegates?" Couric asked. "Are you concerned they'll be under considerable pressure to reflect the views of voters nationwide?"

"Well, you know, I think that superdelegates have a purpose in the process, which is to exercise independent judgment: who they think would be the best president and who they believe would have the best chance of winning. If you look at the states that I've won, these are the states a Democrat has to win," Clinton said. "You know, with all due respect, a number of the states that Sen. Obama has won, which are part of the process and therefore certainly their delegates will count, but these are not likely to be states that a Democrat will win unless there is a tidal wave in our favor."

Some of her supporters, her husband, the former president among them, said she needed to outpoll Obama in both Texas and Ohio to sustain her candidacy.

Without conceding anything, Obama's allies said even that wouldn't be enough, given his lead in the delegate count and party rules that virtually assure primary losers a significant share of the spoils.

Couric asked Obama Tuesday if he would personally ask Clinton to get out of the race if it is, in fact, mathematically impossible for her to catch up in elected delegates.

Posted by KO

The Associated Press and CBS News contributed to this report.