(CNN) – Fresh endorsements continue to flood the presidential race as candidates work to make their final campaign trail pitches just days before Super Tuesday voting.
In the latest installment of America Votes 2008, watch the candidates work to draw policy distinctions between themselves and use their endorsements to boost support.
Related: Last night’s historic CNN/LATimes/Politico debate may have lacked the fireworks most expected, but the showdown certainly didn’t lack substance. Listen to CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley and CNN’s John Lisk weigh in on how Clinton and Obama fared.
(CNN) - In the latest sign that a conservative backlash is starting to build against John McCain, conservative commentator Ann Coulter said Thursday she is prepared to vote for Hillary Clinton over the Arizona senator in a general election match up.
Speaking on Fox's "Hannity and Colmes," Coulter took aim at the GOP frontrunner, and suggested he was little more than a Republican in name only.
"If you are looking at substance rather than if there is an R or a D after his name, manifestly, if he's our candidate, than Hillary is going to be our girl, because she's more conservative than he is," Coulter said. "I think she would be stronger on the war on terrorism."
Coulter took aim at McCain's positions - particularly his fervent anti-torture stance - and said he and Clinton differ little on the issues. Coulter also said she is prepared to campaign on Clinton's behalf should McCain win the party's nomination.
"John McCain is not only bad for Republicanism, which he definitely is - he is bad for the country," she said.
Coulter is the latest high profile conservative to express dismay with McCain's surging candidacy. Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh said Wednesday McCain's rise was the product of a 'fractured' conservative base and an "uninspiring" GOP presidential field.
"He is not the choice of conservatives, as opposed to the choice of the Republican establishment — and that distinction is key," Limbaugh continued. "The Republican establishment, which has long sought to rid the party of conservative influence since Reagan, is feeling a victory today as well as our friends in the media."
McCain has long been at odds with conservative members of his party. — Exit polls from the early-primary states have shown the he has consistently lost among those primary voters who identify themselves as conservative. But he passed a key test Tuesday in winning Florida's primary, the first early contest that only allowed registered Republicans to participate.
Reacting to criticisms from his party's most conservative quarters, McCain told the San Francisco Gate Thursday, "I'll continue to reach out to all in the party, try to unite the party, until everybody realizes that the only way we're going to defeat the Democratic candidate is through a united party."
- CNN Producer Alexander Mooney
NEW YORK (CNN) - I am now back in New York after taking the red-eye from LA. My job may not necessarily be as glamorous as it sounds - but I am not complaining at all.
I was honored to represent CNN at the debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It was historic - the first time we saw a woman and an African-American together on the stage poised to become the Democratic presidential nominee. The excitement at the Kodak Theater was palpable.
Going into the debate, I was a little nervous. I knew millions of people would be watching. And indeed, they were. We now know that a record 8.3 million watched in the United States – more than any other presidential primary debate on cable news ever. The previous record was the 4.9 million who watched our Democratic debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina earlier in January. Many millions more watched the debate on CNNPolitics.com, and on CNN International around the world.
I want to thank my debate partners, Doyle McManus of The Los Angeles Times and Jeanne Cummings of Politico.com, for joining me in the questioning. When I introduced them last night as excellent journalists, I spoke the truth. I have worked with them over the years covering many stories, and they really are among the best in the business.
Now, we get ready for Super Tuesday. It will be an enormous challenge for those of us in the television news business. But we at CNN have the best political team on television, and I can promise you this – we will be ready for all the action.
–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer
(CNN) - Days after three influential Kennedys came out in support of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton released an ad featuring her own Kennedy clan supporter: Robert F. Kennedy's son Robert.
The environmental activist and attorney publicly endorsed the New York senator’s White House bid late last year.
This presidential campaign cycle has seen a split in the Kennedy family, many of whom generally avoid weighing in on political contests. Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy and former First Daughter Caroline Kennedy all endorsed Obama at a campaign rally on Monday. Caroline has since appeared in an Obama campaign commercial, and Sen. Kennedy has begun stumping for the Illinois senator in key Western states that head to the polls February 5, Super Tuesday.
In the new 30-second Clinton ad, Robert Kennedy compares the New York senator to his father, who also served as a New York senator after a stint as attorney general in the administration of his brother John F. Kennedy.
"My father tried to be a voice for the most alienated and disenfranchised members of our society, from Appalachia to the migrant farm workers," Kennedy says. "Today Hillary Clinton is the champion for the voiceless in our society."
A Clinton ad also features the grandson of the late Cesar Chavez, a labor activist and former leader of the United Farm workers. "Hillary knows how to solve our problems, to get things done," says Cesar L. Chavez.
On the trail, Obama has used the slogan “Si Se Puede” – generally translated as “Yes We Can” – popularized by the late Chavez, a revered figure within the Latino community.
–-CNN Associate Producer Rachel Streitfeld
(CNN) - CNN has learned that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will watch the Super Bowl this Sunday with former President Bill Clinton in Red River, New Mexico.
Despite the obvious implications for the much sought after endorsement of Richardson, a Hispanic who holds sway in the community, a top Democratic source describes this as "two old friends getting together, and not to be "construed as a coming endorsement."
Nonetheless, Richardson is not unaware of the power of that picture. The former president has been phoning Richardson “with regularity” since he dropped out of the Democratic presidential race.
Richardson spokesman Pahl Shipley said the office does not comment on the governor’s private schedule.
- CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley
When it comes to the Bush tax cuts, John McCain has a pretty complicated story. See if you can follow along:
It starts with being against them before he was for them. At this week's debate, McCain said he opposed the tax cuts in the past because they didn't come with spending cuts. But that's not what he said at the time.
In 2001, McCain said President Bush's $1.35 trillion tax cut benefited the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. At the time, he tried but failed to change the bill to reduce income tax cuts for the wealthiest and give greater benefits to those earning less money. Not a word about spending cuts.
In 2003, McCain opposed a $350 billion tax cut. In that instance, he said it was because there should be no tax cuts while the cost of the Iraq war and its aftermath were still unknown.
Flash forward to the 2008 presidential race. Not only is McCain giving a different reason for his previous opposition to tax relief, but he now wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, fighting what he calls "the Democrats' plans for a crippling tax increase." This is from the man who calls his campaign bus "The Straight Talk Express."
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
(CNN) - Democrat Barack Obama Friday won the backing of a major California Union that had supported John Edwards.
The California chapter of the SEIU, which boasts a membership of 650,000, hailed the Illinois senator as the candidate that best advances our vision for a new America united in hope."
"Obama's pledge to ensure working families have a strong voice, that health care is not a luxury and that our children are given the tools to succeed best represents the values that our members care about," Annelle Grajeda, president of the California chapter said. "SEIU represents 650,000 workers in California, including nurses, janitors, librarians, homecare workers, security officers, technicians, social workers and others."
"Sen. Obama will partner with working men and women to further the American Dream and ensure our children have a bright future," she added.
- CNN Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN) - MoveOn.org, the liberal political action committee that claims over 3 million members, endorsed Barack Obama's White House bid Friday - the first time the group has made a primary endorsement.
The endorsement came after the group allowed its members to vote over the last two days on either Obama or rival Hillary Clinton. Obama overwhelmingly beat the New York Democrat, 70 percent to 30 percent.
“Our members’ endorsement of Sen. Obama is a clear call for a new America at this critical moment in history," MoveOn.org's Executive Director Eli Pariser said. "Seven years of the disastrous policies of the Bush Administration have left the country desperate for change. We need a president who will bring to bear the strong leadership and vision required to end the war in Iraq, provide health care to every American, deal with our climate crisis, and restore America’s standing in the world."
The group says it has 1.7 million members across the 22 states set to weigh in on Super Tuesday, and it is now actively recruiting volunteers on Obama's behalf. It also boast an impressive Get out the Vote campaign - in 2006 its members made 7 million calls on behalf of Democratic candidates.
"We’ll be able to immediately jump into action in support of Sen. Obama’s candidacy," Pariser said. "We’ve learned that the key to achieving change in Washington without compromising core values is having a galvanized electorate to back you up. And Barack Obama has our members ‘fired up and ready to go’ on that front."
The group previously made waves last September when it ran a full-page ad in the New York Times that asked of the top U.S. General in Iraq, "Gen. Petraeus Gen. "Betray Us?" The ad immediately drew outrage from members of both parties.
- CNN Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton will win the most primaries on Super Tuesday, according to participants in the CNN Political Market game as of Friday.
What do you think? Here's your chance at predicting political futures.
The CNN Political Market offers a chance to put your (virtual) money where your mouth is. It's a "prediction market" with the goal of combining the opinions of a diverse group of people to try and predict the probability of an event. Using political savvy - or just plain luck - you can buy and sell predictions in a stock market-type environment. Who'll win the most primaries, which candidate will be victorious in key states and who'll be next to drop out?
In the past, our players have correctly predicted some election outcomes such as Barack Obama's margin of victory in South Carolina and Mike Huckabee's win in Iowa.
Think you have what it takes? Try your hand at some election and Super Tuesday-related markets. While the campaigns are sweating out Super Tuesday results, you can be sitting pretty on your assets.
Check it out here
(CNN)– Celebrity endorsements and star power have had substantially different and sometime adverse effects on presidential candidates. Oprah Winfrey, Halle Berry, Zack Braff and Scarlett Johansen have thrown their support behind Barack Obama helping to raise millions of dollars for his White House run, but superstar George Clooney is hesitant to go out and campaign for Obama calling it a ‘slippery slope.’
“I feel that at times you can harm the person that you are trying to help,” Clooney told CNN’s Kiran Chetry in reference to campaigning for Obama. “I don’t want to damage anybody.”
A few months ago, talk show host Oprah Winfrey was criticized by some of her fans for breaking her track record or staying out of politics. The media mogul spent a weekend campaigning with Barack Obama in South Carolina, Iowa, and New Hampshire.
Star power has helped bring attention to crises on the international spectrum. Clooney, who was recently named the United Nations' peace messenger, has used his influence to focus efforts on the crisis in Darfur and Sudan. He says candidates will always go to Hollywood because of the money that is there and the camera crews that are sure to follow.
The Academy Award winning actor officially endorsed Obama early last year calling him a ‘rock star.’ Clooney compared him to the likes of John and Robert Kennedy saying, “Few people in my lifetime, that I’ve heard speak made me want to get up and do something,” but cautions, “I don’t want to hurt him by saying that.”
Related: Watch Kiran Chetry's one-on-one with George Clooney
- CNN’s Emily Sherman