(CNN) - As the dust settles on Mitt Romney's withdrawal from the presidential race, Sen. John McCain and the conservative base of the Republican Party are coming to terms with one another.
In the latest episode of CNN=Politics Daily, Mary Snow reports on McCain and the GOP from the campaign trail in Virginia where McCain faces the first test of his frontrunner status next Tuesday.
Jessica Yellin is with Sen. Barack Obama as he tries to close the deal with voters in Washington State prior to Saturday's caucuses. Yellin reports on the battle between Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton in the next phase of their tight race for the Democratic nomination.
Now that the presidential race has narrowed, Sens. Clinton and Obama are setting their sights on Sen. McCain. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider looks at recent polls showing head-to-head matchups between Clinton or Obama and McCain.
Despite his efforts to win them over, not all conservatives have fallen in line to support Sen. McCain. Influential social conservative James Dobson has given his personal endorsement to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Kathleen Koch reports on the Dobson endorsement and what it means for the remainder of the GOP nomination race.
Finally, CNN's Jennifer Mikell brings you this week's most memorable moments from the campaign trail.
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–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
(CNN) - John McCain said Friday he isn't counting Mike Huckabee out, even though it's now nearly mathematically impossible for the former Arkansas governor capture the Republican Party's nomination.
"Gov Huckabee is still in this race, and he is a viable candidate and I'm sure will continue to show strength and that's why we're moving forward with our campaigning," McCain said. "Obviously we are pleased with the events that have happened, but we still have a ways to go and we'll continue campaigning."
McCain also refused to comment on who he might consider as a potential running mate, though he discounted the notion that he has to pick a Southerner to balance the ticket.
"From a practical standpoint, I think former President Clinton and former Vice President Gore showed us you don't have to be regionally different," McCain said. "I think America is such that, quote, ‘regional differences’ don't play the role that maybe they did in earlier times."
Mitt Romney abandoned his presidential bid Wednesday, essentially clearing the way for McCain to win the GOP nomination. Huckabee has won 181 delegates - 533 less than McCain. To capture the Republican nomination, he would have to win more than 80 percent of the remaining contests.
– CNN Producer Alexander Mooney
A new poll indicates Obama does better against McCain than Clinton. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(CNN) - It's a question both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have raised since John McCain's initial surge in the polls: Which Democrat can best take on the Arizona senator in a general election match-up?
A new Time magazine polls seems to suggest the answer is Obama.
The poll, conducted over the three days leading up to Super Tuesday, shows Obama beating McCain by 7 points, 48 percent to 41 percent. Clinton ties McCain at 46 percent.
The difference between the two candidates, according to Time, is where the Independent vote goes: The poll indicates a larger share of those voters will chose to support McCain over Clinton than McCain over Obama.
Exit polls taken from the early primary contests have indicated that both McCain and Obama have strongly benefited from the support of Independents. In combined surveys of the 22 states that voted on Super Tuesday, Obama beat Clinton among Independents by roughly 20 points. McCain, meanwhile, beat rival Mitt Romney among Independents by nearly 15 points on Super Tuesday.
Responding to the poll's findings, Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson touted the New York senator's vast differences with McCain on a host of issues, and pointed to a recent CNN poll that showed Clinton beating McCain by 3 points. Though that same poll found Obama beating McCain by eight points.
CNN's Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider says the biggest difference between Obama and Clinton is their support from male voters. In the CNN poll, Obama and McCain were nearly tied among male voters, but the polls shows men breaking for McCain over Clinton by nearly 20 points.
"Obama argues that he can reach across party lines," Schneider said. "And he does do a little better than Clinton with Independents and Republicans. But the big difference is that Clinton doesn't draw very well with men. Obama does."
Click here to read CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider's analysis.
– CNN Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton is still out there actively campaigning for his wife. He has toned down his comments in the face of some severe criticism, especially in the days before and immediately after the South Carolina primary. In defending Hillary Clinton, he was accused of going way too far in criticizing Barack Obama. The argument was that other campaign leaders should do that – not a former President of the United States.
“She’s the best qualified person to be president I’ve ever had a chance to support, and I feel strongly about that,” Bill Clinton told a reporter from WCSH in Portland, Maine on Thursday. “And I think there’s nothing wrong with me saying that.” He then added: “But what I learned from that whole dustup, and all the things people saying that I didn’t, is that as long as I’m promoting her no one can have an objection; but I can’t defend her. Someone else has to do that.”
There is no doubt that Bill Clinton is a huge asset for his wife’s campaign. He remains extraordinarily popular among Democrats. But there is also no doubt that he can – and probably has – hurt her chances by aggressively defending her record. He now openly acknowledges that. Other surrogates and supporters will have to do the defending for him.
I started covering Bill Clinton in November 1992 – just before he was elected. I then stayed in Little Rock for nearly three months during his transition to the White House, and then became CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent for seven years. It was clear to me then – and it remains clear now – that he is one of the most astute political strategists out there. Politics is in his blood. He truly understands the process even as he occasionally makes some serious blunders. When he does, he is among the best in damage control.
– Wolf Blitzer
Young people are fired up about the 2008 election.
This week we saw more than 3 million voters under the age of 30 flooding the polls on Super Tuesday, turning out in record numbers in more than 20 states. Exit polls showed that in almost every state, youth voter turnout increased significantly from 2000 and 2004.
Some of these statistics are amazing: In Tennessee the number of people between the ages of 18-to-29 who voted more than quadrupled. In Georgia, young voters tripled their turnout this year. And in California, more than 850,000 voters under 30 cast ballots.
This stuff is very encouraging. The turnout of young people actually represented the winning margin of victory in some states. For example, Barack Obama won Missouri by just 10,000 votes. That's a state where 75,000 young people voted for him. The fact is Obama probably owes thanks to young people for a lot of his Super Tuesday victories. In fact, Obama won the youth vote in 19 of the 22 states that voted on Tuesday.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton’s campaign said Friday it had raised more than $8 million online since polls closed in California, and nearly $10 million since February 1.
In a conference call with reporters, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson also said much of that money had come from roughly 75,000 new donors.
Wolfson added that the campaign will be able to spend roughly as much on television ads in upcoming contests as Barack Obama’s campaign – despite the fact that the Illinois senator has been on the air in states that vote over the next few days since well before the Super Tuesday votes.
Clinton’s campaign will begin airing ads today in states voting over the next few days, and will purchase airtime in Texas and Ohio next week.
– CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
Watch Bill Clinton reflect on the lessons he's learned on the campaign trail. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(CNN) - Bill Clinton says he's learned his lesson.
Speaking with a Maine television station Thursday night, the former president said the fallout from his comments ahead of the South Carolina primary last month proved he should only promote his wife’s presidential candidacy, not defend her.
"Everything I have said has been factually accurate, but I think the mistake I made was to think I was a spouse just like any other spouse who could defend his candidate," Bill Clinton told Portland television station WCSH. "I think I can promote Hillary but not defend her because I was president." (Watch Bill Clinton's comments)
"I have to let her defend herself or let someone else defend her," he continued. "But a lot of things that were said were factually inaccurate. I did not ever criticize Sen. Obama in South Carolina. I never criticized him personally."
Clinton faced criticism over his seemingly aggressive campaigning in South Carolina ahead of that state's crucial primary last month, with charges from some that he had made racially insensitive and divisive comments. Several prominent African-American leaders took aim at his remarks, most notably House Majority Whip James Clyburn - the South Carolina Democrat who has remained neutral in the presidential race but told CNN the former president needed to "chill."
Exit polls taken on primary night seemed to indicate Bill Clinton's remarks may have turned off some voters. Obama easily won the primary, and captured nearly 80 percent of the African-American vote - a group that had originally supported her candidacy.
Since South Carolina, the former president has kept a lower profile on the campaign trail, strictly sticking to his talking points and rarely mentioning Obama by name. He's currently on a swing through Maine and Louisiana - two states which are set to vote this weekend.
"I think whenever I defend her, I risk being misquoted, and I risk being the story," Clinton also said in Thursday’s interview. "I don't want to be the story. This is her campaign, her presidency and her decisions. And so even if I win the an argument with another candidate, its not the right thing to do. "I need to promote her but not defend her."
"I learned a very valuable lesson from all that dustup."
– CNN Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the latest edition of Us Weekly hitting newsstands Friday, Hillary Clinton accompanies the celebrity magazine on a “greatest hits” tour of her past fashion faux-pas.
In a playfully-mocking four-page spread titled “My Worst Outfit Ever,” Clinton addresses some of her more debatable wardrobe choices during her life.
Clinton dodged blame for the striped pants she wore in the 1960’s, claiming "It's not my fault… It was the '60s." She also promoted her environmental policy while considering the massive, brightly-colored overcoat she wore at a Feed the Children event in New York City in 2000. "I'm a big believer in recycling – even carpets!” she said.
The spread might irk Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who last month railed the New York senator for backing out of a fashion shoot at the last minute.
Wintour accused Clinton of ditching the shoot out of fear of public perception. "We were told by Ms. Clinton's camp that they were concerned if Clinton appeared in Vogue that she would appear too feminine,” Wintour is quoted as saying. She added that “the notion that a contemporary woman must look mannish in order to be taken seriously as a seeker of power is frankly dismaying… This is America, not Saudi Arabia.”
– CNN's Joshua Lederman
(CNN) - Barack Obama launched a new ad in Louisiana on Friday, just one day before the state’s Democratic primary.
The Obama campaign’s ad, titled ‘Future,’ pairs images of the Illinois senator and a devastated, post-Katrina New Orleans – gutted homes, an affected man with his child, a shirt that reads ‘Rebuild New Orleans’ – with audio of his inspirational ‘Yes, We Can’ speech.
Earlier this week, the Illinois senator's campaign included a spreadsheet in an e-mail to supporters in which they projected a double-digit win in Louisiana.
“This election is about the past versus the future,” Obama says . “Hard as it may seem, we cannot lose hope.
“There are people all across this great nation who are counting on us. Who cannot afford another four years without health care. They can’t afford another four years without good schools. They can’t afford another four years without decent wages.”
His campaign has also begun airing its Super Bowl spot, ‘Join’ in Wisconsin in advance of the state’s February 19 primary.
On Friday, on a conference call reporting a massive new fundraising haul, Hillary Clinton’s campaign announced that they were airing ads targeting voters in the Potomac primaries, which head to the polls next Tuesday, February 12.
Obama has been running spots in those states since the days before the February 5 Super Tuesday contests.
Clinton also has begun airing a long-running healthcare spot in Washington State, with the addition of endorsements from the state’s two Democratic senators.
Clinton and Obama will go head-to-head in eight Democratic contests in the next four days.
–CNN's Jeff Simon
(CNN) - Barack Obama has won the backing of Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, one day before that state is set to hold its Democratic caucuses.
The Washington Democrat, who won the office in 2004 after a hand recount favored her by only 129 votes, said she found it difficult to choose between Obama and Hillary Clinton, but was ultimately drawn to the Illinois senator's charisma and leadership skills.
Gregoire is slated to join Obama at a campaign rally in Seattle later Friday. Clinton is also in the state, campaigning 30 miles south in Tacoma and then later in Spokane.
Washington is set to allocate its 78 delegates through caucuses - a format that has favored Obama to date this elections season.
Washington Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray have endorsed Clinton's White House bid.
– CNN Producer Alexander Mooney