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Analysis of Virginia, Tennessee results


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(CNN) -- CNN political analysts and contributors examine the potential impact of Sen. John Kerry's projected victories in Tennessee and Virginia, and what they might mean to the other presidential hopefuls.

"I do have one other quick point to make before we get overboard about what happened tonight. The fact that John Kerry has won two Southern primaries is impressive. It tells you nothing, almost, about whether or not John Kerry can be competitive in the South in the fall.

"It may not be realistic, but being competitive would be a major step forward if it forced the Republicans to spend time, money and resources in a region that they might otherwise, as they did in 1988, take for granted and move forces elsewhere. A competitive Democrat in the South, whether you win states or not, would be a very big advantage in the fall."

-- Jeff Greenfield, CNN senior analyst

"[Kerry's] not from the South. He was at first written off, even in the Northeast. But certainly in the South. There was a great skepticism about him. And to come here, to beat Southerners -- North Carolina, John Edwards' home state, touches both Tennessee and Virginia. And Kerry beat him in both of those states. He also beat Wes Clark in them.

"It is really something extraordinary, and you ought to mention too that Howard Dean today collapsed, even though endorsed by [former presidential candidate] Al Gore -- I mean, you can actually say Al Gore's lost his home state twice now, because Dean had absolutely no support in Tennessee. And Kerry now very credibly can say he's won in every region that they've had a contest in so far, and he's ready to unite and lead the party. He's got a very strong case."

-- Paul Begala, CNN political analyst and 'Crossfire' co-host

"If you think of the race without General Clark in it, I'm not sure that would mean John Edwards would beat Kerry in any of these states, but he would clearly be the option to John Kerry. I would think the Kerry campaign would want Senator Edwards to stay in a little longer for breathing room, if for no other reason.

"Less than a month ago, John Kerry looked hopeless. Now he looks inevitable. Think about what that would do to your mind, much less your campaign. He probably wants a month or two to regroup and think it through, and having Senator Edwards in the race helps him do that."

-- Tucker Carlson, CNN political analyst and 'Crossfire' co-host

"This was one of the weirdest nominating processes I've ever seen, because essentially nothing has happened since Iowa. The same dynamic -- Kerry hasn't been stopped anywhere. No one has really attacked him successfully. It has just been a tidal wave.

"Usually you find the party divided in one way or another, but you don't have significant numbers of Democrats who are opposing John Kerry at this point. There isn't a significant faction in the party. Now it is clear he's doing well in the South. Who is opposed to this guy?"

-- Joe Klein, CNN political analyst

"It's just about over. John Kerry has accumulated a lot of delegates over the last three weeks. Look, he's about to go into some more fertile territory for this amazing senator who has been able to come back from near death. So I think it's almost over."

-- Donna Brazile, CNN political contributor


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