MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (CNN) - What were they talking about?
Hillary Clinton and John Edwards met privately backstage following a very contentious Democratic presidential debate in this coastal city, sources with both campaigns confirm to CNN.
The meeting took place in the Edwards campaign green room.
One of the sources said the meeting happened by chance and the conversation consisted of light chatter. The source added that Clinton did jokingly take a jab at Edwards about his beating up on her during the debate. In fact, the real fireworks were between Clinton and Barack Obama.
An Edwards source noted that it was not surprising the two senators met backstage.
"That happens back there,” said the source, who said it has happened “more often” with Obama. “It’s tight quarters – we’re all on top of each other.”
The question is - with only two weeks before Super Tuesday - what else was discussed?
Related: Clinton, Edwards team up on Obama at debate
– CNN’s Candy Crowley and Mike Roselli
(CNN) - The personal lawyer, draft speechwriter and confidant to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said he is sick and tired of presidential candidates trying desperately to link themselves to the legacy of the civil rights leader.
Clarence B. Jones, a prominent businessman and attorney, told me this morning that the recent disputes among Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama about King and President Lyndon Baines Johnson, as well as the discussion in last night’s debate regarding who King would endorse, are silly.
“I don’t understand this preoccupation with 'Martin King did this, Martin King did that,'” said Jones, who accused candidates on both sides of the political spectrum of trying “to expropriate Martin’s legitimacy for their own purposes."
He added: "I guess that’s just the nature of politics. It’s regrettable.”
(CNN) - Hours after they tangled on-stage in one of the fiercest debate matchups yet, Barack Obama accused Hillary Clinton Tuesday of “fudging the truth.”
“If you get the kind of looseness with the facts that Sen. Clinton displayed, and you’re willing to say anything to get a political or tactical advantage, that erodes people’s trust in government. It makes them cynical,” Obama told reporters on conference call announcing the endorsement of Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson – an African-American legislator from a red state where more than a third of the electorate is black.
Thompson is the chairman of the House’s Homeland Security Committee.
“When it comes to Sen. Clinton’s remarks: look, I think it’s very clear that Sen. Clinton has - and President Clinton has - been spending the last month attacking me in ways that are not accurate. The news outlets that have looked at these attacks have indicated that they’re not accurate and at some point it was important for us to answer them,” said Obama.
“Sen. Clinton announced while we were still in Iowa that this was gonna be her strategy and called it the 'fun part of campaigning.' I don’t think it’s the fun part to fudge the truth,” said Obama. “…The key issue here is, how are we going to move this country forward?”
Shortly after Clinton spoke, her campaign sent reporters a memo containing half a dozen unrelated charges against Obama, including the charge, based on a recent news report, that he “represented now-indicted influence peddler Tony Rezko in his efforts to develop government-subsidized slum housing.”
The Obama campaign has denied links to any illegal activities on the part of the Chicago businessman, and has said it would reject all contributions linked to him.
The two sides also fought over Obama’s position on single-payer health care this morning, with Clinton’s campaign releasing a YouTube video of 2003 remarks by then-state Rep. Obama which they said contradicted his debate statement that he had never been in favor of the idea. The Obama campaign immediately responded, saying that the Illinois senator’s approach on the issue had been consistent.
Related: Watch Sen. Obama fire back at Sen. Clinton on her economic plan
–CNN's Chris Welch and Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) - Monday night's CNN/Congressional Black Caucus Institute Debate was the most watched primary-season faceoff in cable news history, according to early Nielsen data.
Nearly 5 million viewers tuned in to see the three major Democratic presidential candidates battle it out on-stage in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The historic 2008 campaign – with too-close-to-call races in both the Democratic and Republican parties – has drawn unprecedented public interest.
And the candidates’ final meeting before the state’s critical first-in-the-South Democratic primary this Saturday was one of the toughest to date, with heated exchanges all three White House hopefuls - and a no-holds-barred debate format that made for on-stage fireworks.
The forum’s toughest words were between frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, meeting on the same stage after weeks of daily battles waged over the nation's airwaves, and on the front pages.
On the eve of the debate, Obama told an interviewer that he felt as though he were running against both the New York senator and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, whose near-daily attacks on the Illinois senator's record have made headlines throughout the early-voting contests.
The Democratic presidential rivals crossed swords on stage Monday night when Obama accused both Clintons of deliberately distorting his record.
"Now, this, I think, is one of the things that's happened during the course of this campaign - that there's a set of assertions made by Sen. Clinton, as well as her husband, that are not factually accurate," said Obama.
"That is something that I hear all across the country. So when Sen. Clinton says - or President Clinton - says that I wasn't opposed to the war from the start, or says it's a fairy tale that I opposed the war, that is simply not true. ..."
Clinton immediately fought back: "But I do think that your record and what you say does matter. And when it comes to a lot of the issues that are important in this race, it is sometimes difficult to understand what Sen. Obama has said, because as soon as he is confronted on it, he says that's not what he meant."
(CNN) - Within hours of one of the toughest primary season debates to date, John Edwards released a new ad in South Carolina that painted the two Democratic frontrunners as beholden to special interests.
Edwards, who has yet to win a primary-season contest, is running a distant third in his birth state, behind Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
The ad features side-by-side shots of Clinton and Obama, as the announcer says: “One gets more money than anyone from drug companies. The other one takes more money than anyone from Washington lobbyists. What's happened to the Democratic Party? Whatever happened to the party of the people?”
“The only one who's never taken a dime from PACs or Washington lobbyists, who knows we've been ignored too long, who knows that rebuilding the middle class is more important that politics - our John Edwards. The only one.”
South Carolina’s Democratic voters head to the polls this Saturday, January 26.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that Barack Obama came to Monday night’s CNN debate looking to spark a brawl.
“He telegraphed it, he talked about it – he clearly came last night looking for a fight, and was determined and launched right in,” she said at a Washington press conference on economic issues.
“I think what we saw last night was that he’s very frustrated – Sen. Obama is very frustrated. The events of the last 10 or so days, particularly the outcomes in New Hampshire and Nevada, have apparently convinced him to adopt a different strategy,” said the New York senator.
Obama’s comments last night, she said, “were so rehearsed that he kept on insisting that I had mentioned President Reagan in what I had said, when I didn't mention President Reagan.”
She also repeated allegations that Obama had said in 2004 he agreed with George Bush on the way the president was waging war. Obama disputes the claim, saying that the Clinton campaign is deliberately distorting his comments from that period.
Related: Watch Sen. Clinton discuss Sen. Obama's debate demeanor
–CNN's Mike Roselli and Rebecca Sinderbrand
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Barack Obama said Monday he felt as though he were campaigning against both Bill and Hillary Clinton. On Tuesday, former President Clinton said he felt the same way.
“I thought he was running against me for a while there in Nevada when he said that Republicans had most of the new ideas, and you had to challenge the conventional wisdom of the 90s. I thought we challenged the conventional wisdom of the 90s,” said Clinton.
He also hinted again that Obama specifically targeted Nevada Republicans in hopes of securing a win there - a charge that has been denied by Obama spokesman Bill Burton.
Clinton said Sunday that his wife Hillary Clinton had “won a victory in spite of a very well-organized, and I might say a very well-executed, strategy by the Obama campaign. Which included doing well in the north of Nevada, where his demographic of upscale voters lived, and by making an explicit effort to get Republicans to come and vote for him in the Democratic caucus."
Related: Watch Bill Clinton's latest remarks regarding Sen. Obama's campaign tactics
– CNN's Alexander Mooney and Rebecca Sinderbrand
CNN's Mike Roselli reports that Hillary Clinton will receive the backing of the United Farmworkers at a Salinas, California event today.
(CNN) – The first leading black presidential candidate got a tough question last night about one of his biggest campaign trail foes: the ‘first black president.’
CNN’s Joe Johns asked Barack Obama whether he thought former President Bill Clinton was the nation’s ‘first black president,’ an observation famously coined by black Nobel laureate Toni Morrison.
“Bill Clinton did have an enormous affinity with the African-American community, and still does, and I think that’s well-earned,” said Obama, who has spent the past few days locked in a high-profile war of words with the former president, who has been stumping on behalf of his wife Hillary Clinton.
But he wasn’t quite ready to grant Clinton Morrison’s honorary title just yet. “I would have to investigate more Bill’s dancing abilities, you know, some of this other stuff before I accurately judged whether he was in fact a ‘brother,’” joked the Illinois senator.
Monday’s Democratic presidential debate was sponsored by CNN and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Roughly half the Democratic primary voters in this Southern state are black.
The Democratic presidential primary will be held this Saturday, January 26.
MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (CNN) - The gloves came off quickly Monday night as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama traded blows just days before the South Carolina primary, and two weeks before voters in 24 Super Tuesday states weigh in on this wide-open presidential contest.
Former Sen. John Edwards, who has yet to win an early contest, threw his own punches but was unable to firmly position himself in the middle of the Clinton-Obama scrum. It probably worked to his advantage, because he was never really put on the defensive like Obama nor appeared as aggressive as Clinton.
But it might be too late for Edwards to turn around his campaign in what is shaping up to be a two-candidate race.