Washington, Feb 10 : US presidential hopeful Barack Obama defeated Senator Hillary Clinton in four key contests, closing in menacingly on the frontrunner Democrat in a deadlocked race.
Meanwhile, Republican John McCainn suffered two embarrassing defeats after almost sealing his candidature in the 'Super Tuesday' vote.
Obama, aiming to become the first black US President in history, garnered roughly twice the votes received by Clinton in Nebraska, Washington and Louisiana caucuses and nearly 90 percent of the total ballots in Virgin Islands, slicing into the slender lead of the former first lady as he grabbed a majority of the 161 delegates at stake.
Clinton, bidding to create history by becoming the first woman President of the United States, has 1095 delegates against Obama's 1070.
But the difference will matter little as the two prepare for Tuesday primaries in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC which account for nearly 200 delegates.
A total of 2,025 delegates are required to win the Democratic nomination at the party's National Convention for the November Presidential polls.
"We won north, we won south, we won in between," Obama, 46, locked in a neck-and-neck fight with Clinton for weeks, told cheering supporters at Richmond, Virginia.
Taking a shot at both Clinton, who has targeted him for his lack of experience, and the presumptive Republican nominee, the 72-year-old McCain, Obama said the elections were a choice between "who has the most experience in Washington, or debating him about who's most likely to change Washington. Because that's a debate we can win."
However, according to some analysts, with Obama rapidly moving up the ladder in the white votes, indications are that the Illinois Democrat will have a good night next Tuesday as well.
Clinton, 60, who took the stage before Obama made no mention of her drubbing and chose to target the Republicans.
"We have tried it President Bush's way and now the Republicans have chosen more of the same," she said referring to McCain.
However, the Vietnam War veteran had an uncomfortable Saturday night as he was roundly defeated in the Kansas Caucuses by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
Huckabee also won the Louisiana primary, but fell short of 50 percent, the threshold necessary to pocket the 20 delegates.