McCain was referring primarily to radio talk show hosts and other pundits of the right when he appealed for unity now that he has a leg up in the nomination race.
"I think they've made their case against me pretty eloquently," he said, adding wryly, "if that's the right word." He asserted that the pundits' conservative hero Ronald Reagan — and his — reached across the aisle to Democrats just like he wants to do as president.
"I do hope that at some point we would just calm down a little bit and see if there are areas that we can agree on for the good of the party and for the good of the country," he said. The critics argue he's too liberal for the party.
Both Obama and Clinton were looking ahead to the fall, campaigning as the Democrat tough enough to withstand Republicans attacks, and the Illinois senator pointedly argued Wednesday that he's been tested by the hard-driving Clinton campaign.
"The Clinton research operation is about as good as anybody's out there," Obama told a news conference. "I assure you that having engaged in a contest against them for the last year, that they've pulled out all the stops. ... We can take a punch. We're still standing."
Obama cited his growth in opinion polls that once found him far behind Clinton nationally and in some Super Tuesday states. "We won big states and small states," he said. "We won red states and we won blue states and we won swing states."
Clinton, too, won big, small, red, blue and bellwether: her column includes California, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Arizona and Tennessee.
Altogether, Obama won 13 Super Tuesday states; Clinton, eight plus American Samoa. Clinton scored the advantage in delegates, bringing her total to 845 to Obama's 765, by the latest accounting. The road ahead was long for the Democrats: It takes 2,025 delegates to claim their nomination.
The New Mexico Democratic caucuses Tuesday remained too close to call.
The question of who won Super Tuesday was more easily answered on the GOP side, where McCain piled up more delegates than his two rivals combined and pushed past the halfway mark toward what's needed to clinch the nomination. His victories stretched from New York to California, the biggest prize. Still, Mitt Romney in the West and Mike Huckabee in the South proved to be go-to candidates for conservatives, and they vowed to stay in the thick of the race.
On Saturday, Louisiana and Washington state hold two-party contests while Nebraska Democrats and Kansas Republicans make their picks. Then comes a larger series of two-party primaries in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia on Tuesday.
More than 168 Democratic delegates are at stake Tuesday, a sizable prize in two states and a district that are normally afterthoughts in nomination contests. Clinton, who plans to campaign in Virginia on Thursday, has been endorsed in Maryland by Gov. Martin O'Malley and Sen. Barbara Mikulski; Obama is backed by Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, and is expected to do well in largely black D.C. Republicans will award 116 delegates in the trio of races dubbed the Potomac Primary.
Romney enjoyed his first night at home in a month and then drove himself, his wife, Ann, and his son Craig to his office overlooking Boston Harbor for a strategy session with aides. "Got some good sleep," he said.
Exit polling indicated Obama and Clinton were each getting support from almost half of white men, marking a big improvement for the Illinois senator. Former Sen. John Edwards' departure from the Democratic race last week may have helped Obama with white males, who made up more than a quarter of Tuesday's Democratic voters from coast to coast.
More than four in 10 women and about the same number of whites also were supporting Obama. That represented a gain for him from most previous Democratic nominating contests this year, although he still trailed Clinton by more than 10 percentage points in both categories, a significant gap in a two-person race.
Democrats celebrated heavy turnout in several of their races and hoped they could bottle that electricity until the presidential campaign in the fall. As one measure, Clinton managed to get more votes in Minnesota than all that were cast in the 2004 Democratic caucuses in that state, despite her running a distant second to Obama.
Clinton won the biggest state, California, capitalizing on backing from Hispanic voters. Obama scored victories in Alabama and Georgia on the strength of black support, and won a nail-biter in bellwether Missouri.
McCain's own victory in California dealt a crushing blow to his closest pursuer, Romney, a former Massachusetts governor.
In the competition that counted the most, the Arizona senator had 613 delegates, to 269 for Romney and 190 for Huckabee in incomplete counting. It takes 1,191 to win the GOP nomination.
Polling place interviews with voters suggested subtle shifts in the political landscape.
For the first time this year, McCain ran first in a few states among self-identified Republicans. As usual, he was running strongly among independents. Romney was getting the votes of about four in 10 people who described themselves as conservative. McCain was winning about one-third of that group, and Huckabee about one in five.
Overall, Clinton was winning only a slight edge among women and white voters, groups that she had won handily in earlier contests, according to preliminary results from interviews with voters in 16 states leaving polling places.
Obama was collecting the overwhelming majority of votes cast by blacks — a factor in victories in Alabama and Georgia.
Clinton's continued strong appeal among Hispanics — she was winning nearly six in 10 of their votes — was a big factor in her California triumph, and in her victory in Arizona, too.
McCain won in California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Missouri, Delaware and his home state of Arizona — each of them winner-take-all primaries. He also pocketed victories in Oklahoma and Illinois.
Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, won a series of Bible Belt victories, in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee as well as his own home state. He also triumphed at the Republican West Virginia convention.
Romney won a home state victory in Massachusetts. He also took Utah, where fellow Mormons supported his candidacy. His superior organization produced caucus victories in North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Alaska and Colorado.
Democrats played out a historic struggle between two senators: Clinton, seeking to become the first female president, and Obama, hoping to become the first black to win the White House.
Clinton won at home in New York as well as in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arizona and Arkansas, where she was first lady for more than a decade. She also won the caucuses in American Samoa.
Obama won Connecticut, Georgia, Alabama, Delaware, Utah and his home state of Illinois. He prevailed in caucuses in North Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas, Idaho, Alaska and Colorado. His Missouri victory was so close in the vote total that there was no telling whether he or Clinton would end up with a majority of the state's 72 delegates.
The allocation of delegates lagged the vote count by hours. That was particularly true for the Democrats, who divided theirs roughly in proportion to the popular vote. Nine of the Republican contests were winner take all, and that was where McCain piled up his lead.
2,821 of 2,827 precincts - 99 percent
x-Mike Huckabee 225,676 - 41 percent
John McCain 206,617 - 37 percent
Mitt Romney 99,838 - 18 percent
Ron Paul 15,055 - 3 percent
Rudy Giuliani 2,174 - 0 percent
Fred Thompson 1,872 - 0 percent
Uncommitted 1,257 - 0 percent
Alan Keyes 788 - 0 percent
Duncan Hunter 394 - 0 percent
Hugh Cort 234 - 0 percent
Tom Tancredo 93 - 0 percent
2,272 of 2,480 precincts - 92 percent
x-Mike Huckabee 123,459 - 60 percent
John McCain 41,493 - 20 percent
Mitt Romney 27,321 - 13 percent
Ron Paul 9,860 - 5 percent
Uncommitted 881 - 0 percent
Rudy Giuliani 591 - 0 percent
Fred Thompson 565 - 0 percent
894 of 957 precincts - 93 percent
x-John McCain 213,461 - 47 percent
Mitt Romney 154,071 - 34 percent
Mike Huckabee 40,497 - 9 percent
Ron Paul 19,160 - 4 percent
Rudy Giuliani 12,158 - 3 percent
Fred Thompson 8,633 - 2 percent
Duncan Hunter 944 - 0 percent
Alan Keyes 794 - 0 percent
John McGrath 426 - 0 percent
Frank McEnulty 281 - 0 percent
Sean Murphy 223 - 0 percent
John Michael Fitzpatrick 165 - 0 percent
James Creighton Mitchell 162 - 0 percent
David Ruben 95 - 0 percent
Mike Burzynski 89 - 0 percent
Jerry Curry 77 - 0 percent
Bob Forthan 66 - 0 percent
Jack Shepard 64 - 0 percent
Michael Shaw 57 - 0 percent
Hugh Cort 50 - 0 percent
Rick Outzen 44 - 0 percent
Charles Skelley 44 - 0 percent
Daniel Gilbert 43 - 0 percent
Rhett Smith 37 - 0 percent
22,217 of 23,109 precincts - 96 percent
x-John McCain 955,211 - 42 percent
Mitt Romney 768,338 - 34 percent
Mike Huckabee 261,276 - 12 percent
Rudy Giuliani 114,942 - 5 percent
Ron Paul 96,544 - 4 percent
Fred Thompson 45,446 - 2 percent
Duncan Hunter 12,055 - 1 percent
Alan Keyes 9,274 - 0 percent
Tom Tancredo 3,237 - 0 percent
John Cox 2,580 - 0 percent
Sam Brownback 1,978 - 0 percent
732 of 732 precincts - 100 percent
x-John McCain 78,741 - 52 percent
Mitt Romney 49,851 - 33 percent
Mike Huckabee 10,591 - 7 percent
Ron Paul 6,092 - 4 percent
Rudy Giuliani 2,470 - 2 percent
Uncommitted 2,414 - 2 percent
Fred Thompson 543 - 0 percent
Alan Keyes 372 - 0 percent
Duncan Hunter 138 - 0 percent
312 of 312 precincts - 100 percent
x-John McCain 22,626 - 45 percent
Mitt Romney 16,344 - 33 percent
Mike Huckabee 7,706 - 15 percent
Ron Paul 2,131 - 4 percent
Rudy Giuliani 1,255 - 2 percent
Tom Tancredo 175 - 0 percent
3,148 of 3,157 precincts - 99 percent
x-Mike Huckabee 325,642 - 34 percent
John McCain 302,989 - 32 percent
Mitt Romney 289,157 - 30 percent
Ron Paul 27,896 - 3 percent
Rudy Giuliani 7,008 - 1 percent
Fred Thompson 3,372 - 0 percent
Alan Keyes 1,455 - 0 percent
Duncan Hunter 753 - 0 percent
Tom Tancredo 323 - 0 percent
11,270 of 11,574 precincts - 97 percent
x-John McCain 418,118 - 47 percent
Mitt Romney 253,502 - 29 percent
Mike Huckabee 146,372 - 17 percent
Ron Paul 44,531 - 5 percent
Rudy Giuliani 11,049 - 1 percent
Fred Thompson 7,006 - 1 percent
Alan Keyes 2,253 - 0 percent
James Mitchell 458 - 0 percent
Tom Tancredo 358 - 0 percent
Uncommitted 0 - 0 percent
2,167 of 2,167 precincts - 100 percent
x-Mitt Romney 255,248 - 51 percent
John McCain 204,027 - 41 percent
Mike Huckabee 19,168 - 4 percent
Ron Paul 13,210 - 3 percent
Rudy Giuliani 2,643 - 1 percent
No Preference 1,875 - 0 percent
Fred Thompson 942 - 0 percent
Duncan Hunter 263 - 0 percent
Tom Tancredo 155 - 0 percent
3,371 of 3,371 precincts - 100 percent
x-John McCain 194,304 - 33 percent
Mike Huckabee 185,627 - 32 percent
Mitt Romney 172,564 - 29 percent
Ron Paul 26,445 - 4 percent
Rudy Giuliani 3,595 - 1 percent
Fred Thompson 3,106 - 1 percent
Uncommitted 2,083 - 0 percent
Alan Keyes 894 - 0 percent
Duncan Hunter 306 - 0 percent
Virgil Wiles 124 - 0 percent
Tom Tancredo 108 - 0 percent
Daniel Gilbert 87 - 0 percent
Hugh Cort 46 - 0 percent
6,253 of 6,292 precincts - 99 percent
x-John McCain 309,622 - 55 percent
Mitt Romney 158,533 - 28 percent
Mike Huckabee 45,625 - 8 percent
Ron Paul 26,861 - 5 percent
Rudy Giuliani 14,253 - 3 percent
Fred Thompson 3,113 - 1 percent
14,567 of 14,670 precincts - 99 percent
x-John McCain 310,502 - 51 percent
Mitt Romney 168,631 - 28 percent
Mike Huckabee 65,591 - 11 percent
Ron Paul 38,871 - 6 percent
Rudy Giuliani 18,620 - 3 percent
Fred Thompson 2,047 - 0 percent
Alan Keyes 1,263 - 0 percent
Duncan Hunter 954 - 0 percent
2,220 of 2,220 precincts - 100 percent
x-John McCain 122,748 - 37 percent
Mike Huckabee 110,486 - 33 percent
Mitt Romney 83,018 - 25 percent
Ron Paul 11,179 - 3 percent
Rudy Giuliani 2,412 - 1 percent
Fred Thompson 1,924 - 1 percent
Alan Keyes 817 - 0 percent
Jerry Curry 387 - 0 percent
Duncan Hunter 317 - 0 percent
Tom Tancredo 190 - 0 percent
Daniel Gilbert 124 - 0 percent
2,290 of 2,290 precincts - 100 percent
x-Mike Huckabee 189,443 - 34 percent
John McCain 174,763 - 32 percent
Mitt Romney 129,722 - 24 percent
Ron Paul 30,730 - 6 percent
Fred Thompson 16,044 - 3 percent
Rudy Giuliani 5,096 - 1 percent
Uncommitted 1,812 - 0 percent
Alan Keyes 971 - 0 percent
Duncan Hunter 738 - 0 percent
Tom Tancredo 192 - 0 percent
2,256 of 2,257 precincts - 99 percent
x-Mitt Romney 255,218 - 90 percent
John McCain 15,264 - 5 percent
Ron Paul 8,295 - 3 percent
Mike Huckabee 4,054 - 1 percent
Rudy Giuliani 928 - 0 percent
Fred Thompson 575 - 0 percent
Alan Keyes 252 - 0 percent
Duncan Hunter 204 - 0 percent