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Obama wins Maine Democratic caucuses
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U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama won Sunday's Maine Democratic caucuses, capping a successful weekend for the Illinois senator in the race for the party's presidential nomination.

With 87 percent of the precincts reporting, Obama beat Clinton 59 percent to 41 percent in the Maine caucuses.

Caucuses were being held since Sunday afternoon in 420 towns and cities across the northeastern state.

The Maine contest was attracting more interest because of the tight race between the party's remaining two major candidates.

It wrapped up a successful weekend for Obama, who swept races in Nebraska, Louisiana, Washington state and Virgin Islands Saturday.

The clear sweep of all five weekend races put him almost neck-and-neck with Clinton in their increasingly intense race.

There were 24 delegates at stake in the Maine caucuses and Obama won 15 of them.

The remaining nine delegates would be awarded to Clinton according to the Democrat Party's rule that allocates delegates proportionally based on the percentage of votes the candidates get in a primary election.

Obama's victory in Maine further narrowed his gap with Clinton in terms of the number of delegates who will go to the party's national convention in August.

Obama now has 1,121 of the 4,045 delegates, who will cast their votes to decide the Democratic presidential nominee in the convention in Denver, Colorado, compared to Clinton's 1,148, according to CNN's tally.

Both of them need at least 2,025 delegates to win the nomination, a number which most analysts say neither of them is likely to get before the convention.

Both candidates are now focusing on the upcoming Feb. 12 "Potomac primaries" in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, and in which roughly 168 delegates are at stake.

Earlier in the day, Clinton replaced her campaign manager with a longtime adviser, Maggie Williams, who served as Clinton's White House chief of staff when she was first lady.

Current campaign chief Patti Solis Doyle has been reassigned to a senior advisor's job, the Clinton campaign announced in a memo.

The move was seen as a sign that Clinton is trying to change strategy in the face of the growing momentum of Obama, who runs a more energized campaign and has a clear advantage in the upcoming contests on Feb. 12.

(Xinhua News Agency February 11, 2008)

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