Sen. John McCain's bid for a breakout in the Michigan Republican Presidential primary fell short Tuesday night and reset the GOP nominating campaign as a three-way race among McCain, Michigan winner Mitt Romney, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. There were also important developments last night for the Democrats. Michigan offered McCain his best chance to establish himself as odds-on favorite for the Republican nomination. He had carried the state in the 2000 primary. It was an open primary in which Democratic and independent voters -- where McCain has shown particular strength --could cross over to cast Republican votes. The Democratic primary, unsanctioned by the national Democratic party for trying to jump the queue, had no real contest and thus Democrats were thought likely to cross over for McCain. McCain did draw more independent and Democratic votes than Romney. But not enough. Moreover, Romney trounced McCain badly among Republican voters. Hereafter the terrain becomes more difficult for McCain. Primaries and caucuses now are mainly for Republicans only and McCain will not benefit, as he did in New Hampshire and Michigan, from crossover votes. What could have been a McCain breakthrough may now be seen as his high water mark. He still is a contender but his momentum was broken. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, in South Carolina Tuesday night while votes were being counted in Michigan, overspoke to a fundamentalist audience about the role of religion in politics and about his gut feelings on abortion and gay marriage. That, combined with his disappointing vote in Michigan, may have guaranteed his political burial in the nominating race. He should run strongly in South Carolina and relatively well in Florida Jan. 29. But it is hard to see him getting double-digit percentages thereafter. Former Sen. Fred Thompson already is on the verge of withdrawal. New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama did their best in the Las Vegas Democratic debate to tamp down exchanges between their campaigns which had become outrightly nasty in the previous several days over issues of race and gender. Both recognized their candidacies not only were being hurt by the exchanges but that the Democratic Party as a whole also was being damaged. I spent part of Monday and Tuesday in Washington, D.C. visiting with Democratic Members of Congress and so-called downtown Democrats allied with either Clinton or Obama. All agreed that an immediate ceasefire was necessary. The most egregious offense came when black media king Bob Johnson, a Clinton supporter, alluded in a public forum to Obama's admitted teenage drug use. An immediate black backlash appeared in the Tuesday night Michigan results when the overwhelming majority of black voters partricipating cast "Uncommitted" ballots rather than vote for Clinton, whose name was the only one on the ballot. The Tuesday Democratic debate also found surprising unanimity among Clinton, Obama, and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards on a timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. All agreed to remove combat forces from the country by the end of 2009. Until then, Obama and Edwards had taken more dovish positions than Clinton and had faulted her "yes" vote on the war resolution in the Senate. Now their positions are indistinquishable. Whether they knew it or not, Obama and Edwards did the Clinton nominating campaign a favor by their shifts. All three Democratic candidates now agree on a far speedier withdrawal from Iraq than any of the remaining Republican candidates. That may ensure that Iraq, temporarily in the background, will become a salient issue in the general-election campaign. In the background Tuesday night were continuing weak economic data and a downward stock market. Accordingly, bread-and-butter issues also will continue to gain ascendancy. War-and-peace and economic issues traditionally are paramount in national elections, although social issues have sometimes seemed to outweigh them over the past three decades. Fundamental Democratic-Republican differences on both national security and the economy will be apparent. Voters will have clear choices to make. The finalists in both parties are becoming more skilled in their presentations and comfortable with their national candidacies. You could see it, in particular, in the Nevada Democratic debate. The usual stutters and signs of nervousness were not apparent. The candidates now know their own minds, what they want to say, and how they want to say it. We appear headed for a good old-fashioned campaign on big issues, and alternative views of governance, such as we have not had in a long time.