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OBAMA TAKES MAINE CONTEST

Barack Obama defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton in Maine presidential caucuses Sunday, grabbing a majority of delegates as the state's Democrats overlooked the snowy weather and turned out in heavy numbers for municipal gatherings.

Democrats in 420 Maine towns and cities were deciding how the state's 24 delegates will be allotted at the party's national convention in August. Despite the weather, turnout was "incredible," party executive director Arden Manning said.

With 91 percent of the participating precincts reporting, Obama led in state delegates elected over Clinton, 1,878 to 1,305, with 17 uncommitted.

Obama exulted in his recent victories in Maine and elsewhere, telling a crowd of 18,000 Sunday evening in Virginia Beach, Va., that "we have won on the Atlantic Coast, we have won on the Gulf Coast, we have won on the Pacific Coast" and places in between.

Obama won at least 13 of Maine's delegates to the national convention, with three still left to award. Clinton won at least eight. In the overall race for the nomination, Clinton leads with 1,135, including separately chosen party and elected officials known as superdelegates. Obama has 1,106.

Clinton replaces campaign manager

Clinton replaced campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle with longtime aide Maggie Williams on Sunday.

Campaign aides said Solis Doyle made the decision to leave on her own. It comes as Clinton struggles to catch Obama in fundraising and momentum and faces the prospect of losing every voting contest yet to come in February.

Solis Doyle said she will be a senior adviser to Clinton and the campaign, and travel with Clinton from time to time.

Williams, who was Clinton's White House chief of staff, is a longtime Clinton confidante who joined the campaign after the New York senator won the New Hampshire primary Jan. 8. She will begin assuming the duties of campaign manager this week.

Bush: I'll help McCain win over the right

John McCain is a "true conservative," President Bush says, although the likely Republican nominee may have to work harder to convince other conservatives that he is one of their own.

McCain "is very strong on national defense," Bush said in an interview taped for airing on Fox News Sunday. "He is tough fiscally. He believes the tax cuts ought to be permanent. He is prolife. His principles are sound and solid as far as I'm concerned."

But he added, "I think that if John is the nominee, he has got some convincing to do to convince people that he is a solid conservative and I'll be glad to help him if he is the nominee."

Huckabee protests Washington results

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is crying foul after McCain's apparent victory in the Washington caucuses on Saturday.

Huckabee's campaign released a statement Sunday saying it will explore all available legal options regarding the "dubious final results." Arizona Sen. McCain was announced the victor with 26 percent of the vote to Huckabee's 24 percent.

Huckabee's campaign chairman, Ed Rollins, said the race was called too quickly.

Rollins said Huckabee was losing by 242 votes with 87 percent of the vote counted. He said another 1,500 or so votes apparently were not counted.

Huckabee did win the Louisiana and Kansas contests on Saturday.

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