(CNN) - Former Solicitor General Ted Olson formally endorsed John McCain Friday, the Arizona senator's campaign announced.
"I have long admired John McCain for his courage, character, and integrity," Olson said in a statment. "He is the candidate best prepared to lead as commander in chief from day one. John McCain has a deep-rooted conservative philosophy and I trust him to appoint strict constructionists, like Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito, to judicial positions."
CNN first reported news of the endorsement Thursday night.
Olson, who had supported Rudy Giuliani's White House bid, is a well respected conservative, particularly with respect to judicial appointments. He's a member of the highly regarded Federalist Society — an organization that promotes the teaching of state's rights and a limited federal government in the nation's best law schools.
Olson also helped steer the 2000 Florida recount effort on behalf of President Bush, and served as member of the Reagan Justice Department.
The endorsement will be a welcome one for McCain, who continues to face distrust from many of his party’s most conservative quarters. Olson has connections to many of the Arizona Republican's harshest critics, and is likely able to make inroads with some of them.
- CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report
(CNN) - John McCain is poised to purchase a "significant" Super Tuesday ad buy that will put the Arizona senator's television commercials on the air in some 20 states, campaign sources tell CNN.
The ads are set to hit airwaves in every Super Tuesday state except Utah.
The sources refused to give a specific dollar figure, but said it was a "seven figure" buy.
McCain, whose campaign of late has seen an infusion of cash, spent close to $2 million on ads in Florida alone the week before that state's crucial primary.
The news comes the same day Mitt Romney's campaign announced it was making a significant ad buy in California and some other Super Tuesday states.
UPDATE: McCain's campaign has released details of the ad it's set to run. Called "true conservative," it touts the Arizona senator's "commitment to conservative principles on economic, social and national security issues as well as his readiness to lead as commander in chief on day one. "
- CNN's Dana Bash and Tasha Diakides
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama embrace after the CNN Democratic Debate Thursday (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(CNN) - Many Democrats call it a "dream ticket." Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton - in whichever order.
And after the civil affair at Thursday's debate, it seems like more of a possibility - at least, perhaps, more of a possibility than it was in the last several weeks when the two candidates were locked in a heated back-and-forth on the campaign trail.
But both Democrats artfully dodged the notion of running together in a general election when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer raised the possibility.
"Well, obviously there's a big difference between those two," Obama said to laughter regarding whether his name or the New York senator's is on top.
"But, look, let me say this," Obama continued. "I respect Sen. Clinton. I think her service to this country has been extraordinary. And I'm glad that we've been walking on this road together and that we are still on that road.We've got a lot more road to travel. And so I think it's premature for either of us to start speculating about Vice Presidents - I think it would be premature and presumptuous."
Clinton also would not say whether she thought it was a possibility.
"This has been an extraordinary campaign, and I think both of us have been overwhelmed by the response that we have engendered, the kind of enthusiasm and intensity that people feel about each of us," she said. "And so, clearly, we are both dedicated to doing the best we can to win the nomination, but there is no doubt we will have a unified Democratic Party."
Related: Watch Clinton and Obama discuss the potential of sharing the Democratic ticket
- CNN Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN) - Two prominent African-American politicians plan to join former President Bill Clinton on a tour of black churches this Sunday in Los Angeles. Sources say one of the officials has described it as Clinton’s “mea culpa tour” to the black community.
“They need to go touch the people like they did before. The bickering they got in in South Carolina must be put aside,” says one of the officials, who plans to join the former president on Sunday.
“Bill is going to have to come back among those who loved him and he did so much for. He is going to have to do it – I can’t do it for him – and face the voters,” the source continued, adding that once he does, “it’ll put him back in the comfort zone, and I think you’ll see [Hillary Clinton’s] numbers go up.”
Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama battling for California votes leading up to the February 5 primary there. Her campaign points to several polls that have shown her with the a lead in this delegate-rich state, while his is emphasizing fresh endorsements from the state's largest newspaper and biggest labor union.
A spokesperson for the Clinton campaign in California confirms the former president will be visiting African-American churches this Sunday, but disputes the notion the stops are intended to make amends with the black community before the state’s voters head to the polls this Tuesday.
“He’s very popular with Latinos, African-Americans, it’s absolutely not a mea culpa tour,” says Clinton California spokesperson Luis Vizcaino.
The audience response was the same as that of Democrats across the country: they’re happy with their choice this year, but they don’t want to have to make it.
I thought overall, his position tonight was still that of the challenger, and she was effectively the incumbent. Barack Obama needed to peel votes away from Clinton. He made some progress on the Iraq issue. But how many Democrats are still more concerned about Iraq than about anything else?
To the extent that the debate was a draw, it helps Clinton.
Why? Because holding his own wasn’t enough. Obama’s task tonight was to make the case that there were huge differences between them. Just holding his own and looking presidential was not enough - he had to convince Democrats who like her that there’s a reason she shouldn’t be the party’s nominee.
He clearly had command on the issue of Iraq. Six months ago that would have been enough. Now? I’m not so sure. It took a while for the issue to take center stage tonight, and that’s no accident: Other concerns have come to the forefront.
In all, it was an unhelpful debate. They minimized their differences. Tonight’s showdown will rally Democrats, no question – but won’t help them make a decision. The biggest applause line of the evening came for the idea of the two of them together.
The debate doesn’t kill momentum for either one. But does it help build any? His strong showing could very well help Obama. But how much - enough to overtake Clinton? I just didn’t see that.
Related: Watch Bill Schneider discuss the debate with CNN.com's Melissa Long
Related: Watch CNN's analysts discuss the outcome of Thursday's debate
- CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider
SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) – Less than two hours before the 2007 fourth quarter financial filings deadline, the Romney campaign announced it had raised over $27 million. But 18 of the $27 million was loaned by Mitt Romney to the campaign, meaning that just $9 million of it was raised.
To date, Romney has contributed over $35 million of his own money to his campaign, more than half of that in the fourth quarter of 2007 alone. Before becoming governor of Massachusetts, Romney was a successful venture capitalist who amassed an estimated $250 million fortune at the helm of his company, Bain Capital.
The $27 million brings Romney's total for 2007 to $90.1 million, far outpacing main rival John McCain's $42.1 million.
Romney has almost certainly spent more than $35 million of his own money so far. The campaign has bought significant amounts of advertising time in 2008, including an estimated $2-3 million for Super Tuesday states.
Schneider: The bottom line
The audience response at last night’s debate was the same as that of Democrats across the country: they’re happy with their choice this year, but they don’t want to have to make it.
I thought overall Barack Obama’s position was still that of the challenger, and Hillary Clinton was effectively the incumbent. He needed to peel votes away from her - and he did make some progress on the Iraq issue. But how many Democrats are still so concerned about the war than about anything else?
Six months ago, being right on Iraq would have been enough. Now? I’m not so sure. It took a while for the issue to take center stage last night, and that’s no accident: other concerns have come to the forefront.
The debate doesn’t kill momentum for either one. But does it help build any? Obama’s strong showing could very well help him. But how much - enough to overtake Clinton? I just didn’t see that.
To the extent that the debate was a draw, it helps Clinton.
Why? Because holding his own wasn’t enough. Obama’s task was to make the case that there were huge differences between them. Just holding his own and looking presidential was not enough: He had to convince Democrats who like Clinton that there’s a reason she shouldn’t be the party’s nominee.
In all, it was an unhelpful debate. They minimized their differences. Last night’s showdown will rally Democrats, no question – but won’t help them make a decision. The biggest applause line of the evening came for the idea of the two of them together on the same ticket.
- CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider
Compiled by Jonathan Helman
CNN Washington Bureau
CNN: Clinton, Obama Debate With Less Finger-Pointing
Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spent their last debate before next week's Super Tuesday contests pointing out differences on Iraq, health care and the economy - but without all of the finger-pointing that's marked their campaigns.
Portland Press Herald: Paul Likes His Maine Prospects
With highly motivated supporters and a natural appeal to a mass of like-minded independents, Ron Paul has promising prospects in this weekend's Maine Republican caucuses, party officials and other observers say.
WSJ: Will Democrats Have to Cut A Deal for Nomination?
It is increasingly looking like next week's Super Tuesday primaries won't produce a Democratic front-runner. So then what? The Democratic nomination isn't likely to be settled on the floor of this summer's convention, political experts say. But that doesn't mean that a nomination brokered by party leaders is impossible - or that things won't get even nastier.
NY Times: Giuliani Will Return Diminished, but Not Finished, Associates Say
He left as America’s Mayor. But Rudolph W. Giuliani will return to New York’s business and political arenas as a mere mortal, some of his friends and business associates acknowledge.
Compiled by Rebecca Sinderbrand, CNN Washington Bureau
Maine Republicans hold presidential caucuses today.
* Hillary Clinton is in California. She attends "Solutions for America" town halls in San Diego and San Francisco, followed by a “Low-Dollar Fundraiser,” also in San Francisco.
* Mike Huckabee starts the day in Oklahoma, where he attends a rally and media availability in Oklahoma City and a media availability in Tulsa. He also attends rallies in northwest Arkansas and Springfield, Missouri, followed by a media availability in Springfield.
* John McCain attends campaign rallies in Chesterfield, Missouri and Villa Park, followed by a media availability in Villa Park.
* Barack Obama holds an economic roundtable in Albuquerque, New Mexico and a rally in Santa Fe.
* Ron Paul holds a meet and greet and media availability in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and a press availability and rally in Denver.
* Mitt Romney holds a "Change Begins With Us" tour stop and media availability in Thornton, Colorado.