(CNN) – Hillary Clinton held a victory rally in Davie, Florida Tuesday night - even though the Democratic National Committee has stripped Florida of all of its delegates to the nominating convention, and no Democratic presidential candidate campaigned in the state.
“I could not come here to ask in person for your votes, but I am here to thank you for your votes today,” Clinton told her supporters. The New York senator also promised the crowd that she would do everything she could to get Florida’s delegation seated at the Democratic convention.
Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said Tuesday night that Clinton was “trying to assign meaning to a contest that awards zero delegates” after her recent loss to Obama in South Carolina. “Sen. Obama is disappointed that Florida will have no role in selecting delegates for the Democratic nominee, but looks forward to competing and winning in Florida during the general election,” he said.
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
(CNN) – Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney described his loss in Florida’s primary as a close call.
“Almost, but not quite,” the former Massachusetts governor told a group of disappointed Florida supporters.
He also used his concession speech to take a shot at victor John McCain. “At a time like this, America needs a president in the White House who has actually had a job in the real economy,” said Romney, who has said his private sector experience gives him a major advantage over McCain, who has had careers as a military officer and as an elected representative.
“You see at a time like this, knowing how America works is more important than knowing how Washington works.”
McCain captured 36 percent of the vote Tuesday. Romney came in second with 31 percent. The two were neck-and-neck in the polls leading up to Florida’s primary.
–CNN’s Emily Sherman
(CNN) – Despite a bruising Florida loss, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Tuesday night he is not dropping out of the race anytime soon.
“We are playing all nine innings of this ball game” Huckabee told a group of supporters at a Florida results watch party in St. Louis, Missouri. “Even the Cardinals occasionally have a rough inning, but they know how to win championships.”
The former Arkansas governor came in fourth place with 14 percent of the vote, but says the real test comes in the Super Tuesday states next week.
(CNN) - Florida Republican primary voters were considerably older than those in previous early-voting states – and that demographic seems to have accounted for McCain's win in the state, exit polls show.
McCain edged Mitt Romney among the 44 percent of voters over the age of 60 by three points. And among the 33 percent of voters over 65, McCain beat Romney by 7 points.
Meanwhile, McCain only beat Romney by 2 points among 41-59 year olds, and Romney had a 4 point edge over McCain among voters 30-44.
Related video: Watch Bill Schneider explain how seniors carried McCain
– CNN Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN) - It's not surprising Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is standing directly behind John McCain as the Arizona senator delivers his victory speech. Exit polls show Crist's last-minute endorsement of McCain may have been crucial to his victory.
Over 40 percent of primary voters indicated Crist's decision to back McCain had an effect on their vote. Because those voters went to McCain overwhelmingly, the governor's endorsement clearly played a key role in McCain's win over Mitt Romney.
(CNN) - Rudy Giuliani will endorse John McCain Wednesday in California, two GOP sources familiar with the discussions told CNN Tuesday.
McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, had been in "ongoing discussions" with Rudy Giuliani's campaign about the former New York mayor ending his run and actively endorsing McCain's candidacy, according to a GOP official familiar with talks.
(CNN) - It seemed like a safe assumption: National security stalwart John McCain would win among voters most concerned about terrorism while former business executive Mitt Romney would score with those worried about the economy.
But exit polls suggest just the opposite occurred.
Despite Romney's aggressive effort to portray himself as strong on economic issues - and at the same time claim McCain lacked any grasp of the issue - the Arizona senator actually edged out Romney (38-32 percent) among the 45 percent of Florida Republican primary voters who said the economy was the their main concern.
And despite McCain's effort to put national security issues back in the dialogue - and paint Romney as a flip-flopper on the war in Iraq - Romney edged out McCain (29 to 24 percent) among the 21 percent of voters most concerned with terrorism.
Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who based the majority of his campaign against facing the terrorist threat, also fared well with voters concerned with terrorism, winning 27 percent of them.
But Romney and McCain did safely win with two specific demographics they were targeting. Among the 16 percent most concerned illegal immigration, Romney bested McCain by 10 points, and among the 14 percent of voters most concerned with the War in Iraq, McCain beat Romney by 25 points.
(CNN) – Nearly a third of Florida’s Republican primary voters weighed in via early voting or absentee ballot, according to exit polls.
Mitt Romney – who has advertised more heavily in the state than any other candidate, and had a well-funded system in place to reach the early voters and absentees – had been expected to make a particularly good showing among that group. John McCain who began advertising in the state much later and who ran far fewer ads than Romney - had not been expected to do as well.
But Romney and McCain are tied for the lead among those voters in exit polls Tuesday, at 31 percent each. They are also tied among all voters who made their decision in the last week, at 36 percent each.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
A cameraman films Sen. Barack Obama as he campaigns in Kansas City, Missouri Tuesday.
(Photo Credit: David Allbritton/CNN)