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Clinton Wins in Florida

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Clinton Wins in Florida, but Without Any Delegates to 
Sweeten the Victory 
By John M. Broder
The New York Times

Miami - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Florida 
Democratic primary on Tuesday, a contest that generated 
extraordinary voter interest even though the result will 
have no practical impact because no delegates were at 

With 95 percent of the vote counted, Mrs. Clinton, of 
New York, was running ahead of Senator Barack Obama of 
Illinois, 50 percent to 33 percent. Former Senator John 
Edwards of North Carolina was third, with 14 percent. 

None of the Democratic candidates campaigned actively here, 
fulfilling a pledge to the Democratic National Committee, 
which punished Florida Democrats for jumping the line by 
scheduling their primary before Feb. 5. But supporters of 
Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama worked hard to get their voters 
to the polls to make a symbolic show of strength. 

Mrs. Clinton's victory was expected and may have largely 
reflected her prominence on the national political scene 
for almost two decades. She did well among those who cast 
their votes early; among late deciders, Mr. Obama matched 
her almost one for one, according to exit polls conducted 
by Edison/Mitofsky. 

Mrs. Clinton flew late Tuesday to Fort Lauderdale from 
Washington, and in nearby Davie she thanked more than 
1,000 supporters in a banquet room for a "tremendous 
victory." She was also seeking to reach Florida's 
television audience, which did not see any of the 
Democratic candidates before the primary because they 
pledged not to campaign here. 

"Thank you so much, oh my goodness, thank you," she said 
to cheers. "You know, I could not come here to ask in 
person for your votes, but I'm here to thank you for your 
votes today."

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Mrs. Clinton noted the record turnout of Florida Democratic 
primary voters in her remarks, and promised that, despite 
the lack of a formal campaign here, "all of your voices 
will go with me" if she was elected president. 

She told the audience that she would withdraw American 
troops from Iraq, improve relations with Central and South 
American nations, and "continue to support democracy in 

She said that by waiting until the polls closed to land 
in Florida she was obeying party rules. 

But some Obama supporters denounced Mrs. Clinton's act as 
cynical and urged voters and journalists to dismiss Florida 
as a meaningless beauty contest. 

"The bottom line is that Florida does not offer any 
delegates," said Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, 
the 2004 Democratic nominee for president. "It is not 
a legitimate race." 

Dyeimia Johnson, 26, of Lauderhill, Fla., a town northwest 
of Fort Lauderdale, said she was aware that, technically 
speaking, her vote did not count. 

"I'm still a Democrat, and I believe in the visions of 
Barack and Hillary," Ms. Johnson said, without revealing 
for whom she had voted. "So it's my right as a citizen, 
and I'm here to express it." 

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Mrs. Clinton had strong support among women, Hispanics, 
whites, older voters, early deciders and early voters in 
Florida. A majority of Democratic voters said she was the 
most qualified to be commander in chief, and a plurality 
said she was the most likely to unite the country. 

Mr. Obama received the support of 7 in 10 black voters, 
but they made up less than 20 percent of the electorate. 
He did better among younger voters than older ones, but 
they did not support him as strongly as they had in earlier 
primaries, and he was unable to best Mrs. Clinton among 

Mark Bubriski, communications director for the state 
Democratic Party, said the huge turnout showed the 
enthusiasm Democrats here had for the candidates and 
the prospect of reclaiming the White House after eight 
years of Mr. Bush. 

"Florida is a microcosm of the nation," he said. "On 
Feb. 5 we have the closest thing to a national primary 
we've ever had in the United States. This is the last 
opportunity for voters in any state to have their voices 
heard before the whole country votes." 

Mr. Bubriski said that he believed that ultimately 
Florida's 210 delegates would be seated at the national 
convention this summer, but that it would be up to the 
national party's credentials committee to determine how 
they would be allocated. 

The party penalized Michigan, too, for voting before 
Feb. 5 by withholding its delegates. Mrs. Clinton "won" 
that race, on Jan. 15, but she was the only one of the 
major Democratic contenders whose name was on the ballot. 

But no matter what happens at the convention, voters here 
on Tuesday were determined to make their choices felt. 


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Ruth Weiss, 80, a transplanted New Yorker who lives in 
Sunrise Lakes, said she cast her ballot for Senator 
Clinton. "It probably will count eventually, and this 
is an indication of who we think should be president," 
she said of herself and her husband, Manny, who also 
voted for Mrs. Clinton. 

William Perry, 77, of Lauderhill, called the state and 
national parties' spat "stupid." 

"Why punish your own party?" he said. "It doesn't make 

He said he had been vacillating between Mrs. Clinton and 
Mr. Obama but decided in the last two days to support 
Mr. Obama. 

"What tipped me was the way Bill Clinton was going after 
him," said Mr. Perry, a retired banker who is black. 
"That just put the icing on the cake for me. I think he 
did more damage than he did good. He should have let her 
run her own campaign." 


Reporting was contributed by Jeff Zeleny from El Dorado, 
Kan.; Patrick Healy from Davie, Fla.; Dalia Sussman from 
New York; and Carmen Gentile and Cristela Guerra from 

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