WASHINGTON (CNN) - The news that Mitt Romney was suspending his campaign buzzed through the Omni Shoreham this afternoon at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, but many Romney supporters seemed to be the last to know.
His volunteers still passed out “change” buttons in the halls outside the ballroom where he was scheduled to speak; many in the audience were waving red foam “Mitt” mittens and other campaign merchandise in the air, and calling out his name.
- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign announced Thursday it had raised $4 million online in the first 24 hours after the Super Tuesday contests.
"We are gratified for this tremendous outpouring of support," Clinton Campaign Internet Director Peter Daou said in a statement. “From over a million volunteer hours to millions of dollars in contributions from thousands of online donors across the country, Sen. Clinton's grassroots support is a key part of her campaign's success."
The campaign had set a goal of raising $3 million in the first three days after Super Tuesday and is now hoping to raise $6 million in that time period.
The news comes shortly after rival Barack Obama's campaign said it had raised $7.2 million in the first 36 hours after Super Tuesday.
Clinton's campaign attributed part of Obama's success to the newly available e-mail list of Sen. John Kerry, and MoveOn.org fundraising efforts. Kerry endorsed Obama last month and MoveOn.org said it was backing the Illinois senator just days before Super Tuesday.
MoveOn.org Executive Director Eli Pariser said his organization has raised $320,000 for Obama since last night, but that figure is not included in the fundraising numbers the Obama campaign has released.
"Our members have not finished giving and none of the contributions through our site have been added yet to the Obama campaign fundraising totals," he said. "We are thrilled we’ll be able to add to Senator Obama’s big day.”
- CNN Producer Alexander Mooney
ABOARD THE CNN ELECTION EXPRESS IN SEAL BEACH, California (CNN) - They are five of the most frustrating words in the lexicon of American business:
“We’ll get back to you.”
When you hear them, you want to be hopeful, but you know better. When you hear those words, you know that two of the three things they may turn out to signify are bad things.
The business may get back to you and say: “We’ve decided to go in another direction.”
Or you may never hear again from the business, despite their promise.
Or the phone may ring some day and you will be greeted with the good news: You got the job.
But the “We’ll get back to you” - the bland assurance that you’re under consideration– is confirmation, as if you needed it, that you’re not in charge here: that all the power, and the timetable of that power, lies with the people who are making the decision. About you.
It’s no less true in a presidential campaign than in the world the rest of us live in. The candidates may have been hoping that Tuesday’s primary elections across the country would have settled the outcome of their own job applications - that the hire would have been made - but that’s not how it turned out.
WASHINGTON (CNN) Suspending a campaign has a different meaning depending on the party.
On the Republican side, decisions on how to allocate delegates is left to the state parties.
On the Democratic side, a candidate who "suspends" is technically still a candidate, so he or she keeps both district and statewide delegates won through primaries and caucuses. Superdelegates are always free to support any candidate at any time, whether the candidate drops out, suspends or stays in.
National party rules say that a candidate who "drops out" keeps any district-level delegates he or she has won so far but loses any statewide delegates he or she has won.
Mitt Romney is expected to suspend his campaign Thursday. (Photo Credit: AP)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will suspend his Republican presidential campaign after a disappointing showing in this week's "Super Tuesday" primaries and caucuses, GOP sources said Thursday.
Romney is expected to announce his decision Thursday afternoon at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, three Republican sources told CNN.
- CNN Chief National Correspondent John King
(CNN) - Now America knows what John Edwards is doing with his newfound spare time.While his former presidential rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are busy computing delegate-math with their staffers, a relaxed Edwards was spotted with his son Jack at the bi-annual Duke vs. North Carolina showdown on Wednesday night in Chapel Hill.The game was held at the Dean Dome, a few miles from Edwards' home in Raleigh. Edwards, chatting with another basketball fan, sported his familiar blue shirt and blazer look. Jack wore a North Carolina t-shirt.Edwards is a long-time Tar Heels fan who attended North Carolina State as an undergraduate, and law school at the University of North Carolina. (In other words: probably not a big Duke fan.)
- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby
(CNN) - GOP front-runner John McCain is heading to Washington to try to convince a conservative-rich conference that he's their man.
Despite big wins in the Super Tuesday contests, McCain has yet to secure the support of his party's conservative side.
McCain, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul are all to speak during the three-day Conservative Political Action Committee conference.
NEW YORK (CNN) — Democrat Hillary Clinton loaned her presidential campaign $5 million in January, the New York senator said Wednesday.
"I loaned the campaign $5 million dollars from my money," she said at a press conference at her Arlington, Virginia headquarters. "I loaned it because I believe in this campaign and I think the results last night proved the wisdom of my investment."
Earlier Wednesday, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson confirmed reports Clinton had lent her campaign money in January, and said "The loan illustrates Sen. Clinton's commitment to this effort and to ensuring that our campaign has the resources it needs to compete and win across this nation."
The news comes days after Barack Obama's campaign announced it had raised $32 million in January alone. Clinton campaign Chairman Terry McAuliffe later said the Clinton campaign raised less than half that in the same period — about $13.5 million. The $5 million Clinton loaned to herself was in addition to the $13.5 million she raised.
In his statement Wednesday, Wolfson also said Clinton's Super Tuesday victories have brought in a fresh wave of campaign cash.
"We have had one of our best fundraising efforts ever on the Web today and our Super Tuesday victories will only help in bringing more support for her candidacy."
According to Clinton's latest Federal Election Commission report, had roughly $18.5 million cash on hand that could be spent during the primary season heading into January’s initial contests.
News of Clinton's loan came the same day the campaign sent out a fundraising e-mail to supporters with the goal of raising $3 million in three days.
"We had a great day yesterday," the e-mail said. "Now we must keep that momentum going. You have sustained me throughout this journey, and I am calling on you again to give our campaign the resources we need to win critical upcoming races."
UPDATE: CNN's Candy Crowley confirms some senior Clinton campaign staff members have agreed to go without pay for a month.
Related: Watch Clinton tout Tuesday's outcome
- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Adam P. Levy
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Looking back, last year’s Conservative Political Action Conference presidential straw poll provided a pretty good preview of the Republican race so far. The contest is a reliably headline-grabbing test of the conservative base’s preferred candidates -– and with hundreds of activists gathered in Washington for the final CPAC vote before the primary season, Mitt Romney’s team poured thousands of dollars into the event. Scores of Romney volunteers sporting identical campaign T-shirts, bused in at the campaign’s expense, stumped hard in the halls of the Omni Shoreham.
In the end, his campaign bankrolled one of the most ambitious and well-funded grassroots efforts in CPAC straw poll history -– only to come away with just 21 percent of the vote, and a costly, underwhelming victory over runner-up Rudy Giuliani, who essentially spent nothing at all. (When both first- and second-place votes were weighed, Romney did even worse - coming in third behind both Giuliani and Newt Gingrich.)
Mike Huckabee was a sentimental hit at the 2007 conference, drawing an enthusiastic reception from the conservative crowd –- then, as now, battling the idea that his relatively low-profile, cash-poor campaign was doomed from the start. ("My dear friends,” he said, “may I say to you that if celebrity and money are the criteria to be President of the United States, then Paris Hilton might be our next president.")
Finally, John McCain, who tended to avoid the annual gathering, was in the midst of a campaign to thaw his frosty relationship with many of the conservative power brokers in attendance. Last year, he weighed a last-minute CPAC appearance - before a rumored logistical showdown with organizers short-circuited the plan.
Today –- fresh off his strong Super Tuesday showing - McCain’s speaking on the first day of this year’s CPAC, just a few hours after Romney. Huckabee and Ron Paul will also address the conference - along with the man they’re trying to replace, President Bush.
Hillary Clinton’s team might have raised eyebrows yesterday as they tried to tag Barack Obama as the new “establishment candidate” – but as news of her campaign’s shrinking war chest continues to mount, it may be growing just a bit easier to imagine her in the role of Democratic underdog. Today, she stumps in newly-competitive Virginia, where Obama has dispatched his South Carolina turnout squad in advance of next Tuesday’s vote. Meanwhile, Obama continues to mine for delegates in red state territory with a stop in Nebraska, where Democrats weigh in this weekend.
- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
Compiled by Jonathan Helman
CNN Washington Bureau
WSJ: Democrats' Nightmare: Back to Smoke-Filled Rooms
Here's a nightmare for the Democrats: The party's bigwigs, rather than its voters, may end up choosing the presidential nominee. If neither Illinois Sen. Barack Obama nor New York Sen. Hillary Clinton manages to pull decisively ahead in the next few weeks, the nomination could depend on the convention votes of 796 party leaders, or superdelegates, who are free to ignore the preferences of Democratic voters.
Washington Post: Gamble Paid Off for Huckabee on Tuesday
After a dispiriting loss nearly three weeks ago in South Carolina, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee made the risky decision to sidestep the pivotal Florida primary and turn his attention to a handful of Super Tuesday contests. The maneuver worked.
Washington Post: Va. Is Next Battleground In Democrats' Long Fight
Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, digging in for a delegate-by-delegate fight for the Democratic presidential nomination, returned to Washington yesterday with plans to make Tuesday's Virginia primary a major battleground.
WSJ: McCain's Breaks With GOP Leave Scars But Could Increase His Electability
John McCain's biggest breaks with his party, from campaign finance to illegal immigration, also contribute to making him Republicans' most electable candidate: He's more appealing to the independent voters who are crucial for victory, and to the nation's fastest-growing demographic group, Latinos.