11:22 p.m. On the Republican side, nearly all networks, especially Fox News and MSNBC, are writing the political obituary for Mitt Romney’s 2008 campaign, echoing Mike Huckabee’s speech tonight that the GOP race is a “two-person race” with Huckabee in it. NBC News’ Tom Brokaw began to contemplate whether Romney would run again in 2012, and that, if he did, he would need to shake his image of being a “conservative of convenience.” The media is struggling tonight balancing Huckabee’s excellent performance in the South with McCain’s big delegate count. Regarding the expectation game, however, McCain seems to have lost more states than he was expected to do. Having won the big race in California, however, seems to have erased that fact. When all is said and done, it looks like McCain will have won 9 states, Romney 6 states, and Huckabee 5 states (Alaska pending).
11:39 p.m. The coverage tonight has been equally curious on the Democratic side. Clinton’s performance has largely been characterized as a success, even though she did not win any states she was projected to lose, and lost more “toss-ups” (Missouri, Alabama, Connecticut, Deleware, Georgia) than she won (California). Obama has won 13 of 21 contests, with New Mexico the only state that has yet to be called.
11:49 p.m. MSNBC analyst Chuck Todd estimates the final delegate count tonight will be 841 for Obama and 837 for Clinton with a “margin of error of 10 either way.” It was a “split decision” tonight, says Todd.
11:54 p.m. Fox News’ Britt Hume says Hillary Clinton had a “pretty big night,” and commentator Fred Barnes agreed. The question is: how many states would Clinton have had to lose to have a night which would be characterized as disappointing? It appears that because Clinton won the two big states on the coasts, California and New York, that the media views her Super Tuesday as a success. That said, Barack Obama is probably sleeping very well tonight.
12:29 a.m. CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin characterized Mitt Romney’s performance today as an “absolute disaster.” CNN analyst David Gergen then praised Obama’s performance by having won 6 caucuses tonight, indicating that he therefore has demonstrated good organization on the ground. Interesting, as Romney himself won 4 of 5 caucuses tonight (with a likely victory in Alaska forthcoming), and his victories have been characterized as “consolation prizes” in “small states.” That said, Romney’s campaign has stated they will have “frank discussions” about his campaign on Wednesday, so perhaps he will be exiting the race despite winning 7 states.
1:22 a.m. The delegate count remains to be tallied, as the results from California’s congressional districts still come in, but here is the number of victories for each candidate by states won in the 2008 campaign:
McCain = 12
Romney = 11
Huckabee = 6
Obama = 15
Clinton = 10
* Note: does not include the Florida or Michigan primaries, which will not seat delegates at the DNC, nor New Mexico, which is still too close to call.