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Washington Matters

Score One for Rush Limbaugh?

A close look at the exit polls suggests Rush Limbaugh may have swung Indiana to Hillary Clinton, providing the margin of victory with Republican mischief-makers.

With just a relative handful of votes remaining to be counted, Clinton appears to have won Indiana 51% to 49%, with a margin of about 22,500 votes. Exit polls show that 11 percent of voters in the Democratic primary were actually Republicans, and some 73,000 of them went for Clinton, even though they acknowledged to pollsters that they're likely to vote for GOP candidate John McCain in the fall.

Many were following the suggestion of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who urged his conservative audience, in what he called "Operation Chaos,"  to complicate and prolong the Democratic race by "holding their noses" and voting for Clinton. Enough Republicans apparently went along to give Clinton the edge.

The Indiana results weren't all good for McCain, however. Although the Republican race is over, almost a quarter of GOP primary voters cast protest ballots for Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul -- a clear sign that McCain still hasn't managed to unite a large bloc of the GOP's conservative base behind him.