Track the Nebraska Democratic caucus results county-by-county by clicking here: Nebraska.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Louisiana voters, like their counterparts in other primary states, are split on Bill Clinton’s effect on his wife’s campaign. In a CNN exit poll, 38 percent of Democratic primary voters said the former president helped Hillary Clinton’s White House bid, while 32 percent said he hurt her chances at winning the Democratic presidential nomination.
Of those who thought the former president had harmed his wife’s presidential campaign, 78 percent voted for her rival Barack Obama, and 19 percent backed Clinton. Among those who thought the former president had a positive impact on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, 60 percent voted for her, and 38 percent for Obama.
Twenty-nine percent of those polled said Bill Clinton had no effect on their vote one way or the other.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton endorsed John McCain for president Saturday, the latest high-profile conservative to get behind the Arizona senator’s bid for the Republican nomination.
Bolton, who was a controversial choice to be the top U.S. diplomat at the United Nations, served in the post from August 2005 until December 2006. President Bush had to use his power to install Bolton into the position through a recess appointment after Senate Democrats successfully blocked votes on his nomination. Democrats cited Bolton’s temperament and brash style as one of the many reasons why they opposed him. Their decision was a major rallying point for conservatives in 2005.
“John McCain was very active and supportive during my confirmation hearings to be the U.S. Ambassador to the UN,” Bolton said in a statement released by McCain’s presidential campaign. “His belief in me at that time was a testament to his courage to fight the liberals in the Senate and vigorously advance American interests at the UN.
Bolton later stated in the release, “American conservatives will have a president they can be proud of in John McCain.”
Since Mitt Romney dropped out of the race for the GOP nomination earlier this week, McCain has been working to draw skeptical conservatives into his campaign. Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul continue to challenge McCain for the nomination.
– CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Despite its massive fundraising haul and major ad buy earlier this week, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign sought to lower expectations Saturday on how she will perform in the remaining primaries and caucuses in February, and looked to direct attention to the big caches of delegates up for grabs in March.
In statements to reporters, the campaign has been essentially conceding most of February’s contests to Clinton’s Democratic presidential rival Barack Obama since the Super Tuesday contests early this month.
“Although the next several states that hold nominating contests this month are more favorable to the Obama campaign, we will continue to compete in them and hope to secure as many delegates as we can before the race turns to Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania,” read a statement released by the Clinton campaign.
Democrats in Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington State, and the Virgin Islands held a primary or a caucus Saturday. The Clinton campaign pointed out that Obama spent more on television advertising in each of these states.
Meanwhile, the Obama campaign claimed in a competing email Saturday that they led Clinton in “pledged delegates” suggesting that momentum was on his side.
(CNN) – Louisiana Republicans and Democrats agree that the economy is the most pressing concern this year, but break when asked to list other important issues facing the nation, according to CNN exit polls.
Louisiana held its Democratic and Republican primary on Saturday.
While 46 percent of Democrats cited the economy as the most important issue, 33 percent of Republicans ranked it at the top of their list. For Democrats, Iraq – which came in at 29 percent – was the second most important issue followed by healthcare at 23 percent. Meanwhile, illegal immigration and terrorism tied for the second most important issue on the minds of Republican voters at 21 percent, followed by Iraq at 20 percent.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney narrowly beat John McCain, 35 to 34 percent, in a straw poll of conservative political activists gathered Saturday in Washington - a vote that is viewed as a barometer of support from that major GOP voting bloc.
The announcement of Romney’s win was greeted by cheers from the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference. McCain is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.
Roughly one-quarter of the votes in the three-day CPAC 2008 straw poll were cast before Mitt Romney dropped out of the presidential race, and three-quarters after his withdrawal.
In votes cast before Romney left the race, he beat McCain 44 to 27 percent. Among votes gathered after Romney’s withdrawal, McCain led Romney 37 to 32 percent.
Mike Huckabee received 12 percent of the vote in the straw poll overall, and Ron Paul received 10 percent. Those results were virtually unchanged among just those votes taken after Romney's withdrawal.
Thirty-one percent said that if John McCain were the GOP presidential nominee, they would either vote for someone else, or not vote at all.
Huckabee fared even worse in the survey – 36 percent said they would not support him, or would back someone else, if he were the Republican nominee.
A candidate’s chances of winning were the deciding factor for just 4 percent of straw poll voters.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the Kansas Republican caucuses Saturday.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Huckabee had 60 percent of the vote, compared with 24 percent for Arizona Sen. John McCain and 11 percent for Texas. Rep. Ron Paul.
Huckabee won all 36 of the delegates at stake.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - There was no line to get in to Mike Huckabee’s speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference this morning – an event that featured none of the chaotic scenes that greeted his GOP rivals earlier in the week.
There was a group of sign-waving supporters in the lobby of the hotel where the forum is being held, but no crowds of campaign workers just outside the ballroom where he spoke pressing attendees to support the former Arkansas governor in the conference’s presidential straw poll - just three bleary-eyed young volunteers.
Rows of empty seats dotted the ballroom long after his speech began; the standing ovations only roused about half the audience from their seats.
It could have been the 9 a.m. Saturday time slot, a low-profile scheduling choice two days after the rest of the Republican presidential field addressed the conference.
It could have been the fact that Huckabee - despite his sentimental favorite status among social conservatives in attendance here - has, like John McCain, never been completely embraced by a significant bloc of the CPAC crowd. (In his case, the holdouts are the fiscal conservatives represented by the Club for Growth, which has spent vast sums battling his run since long before his unexpected Iowa win.)
Or it could be that even among his most passionate supporters, a CNN reporter Saturday could not find a single one who believed he would win the White House.
Track the Kansas GOP caucuses results county-by-county by clicking here: Kansas.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich gave his approval to Arizona Sen. John McCain’s White House bid Saturday, telling a conservative crowd that political victory was more important than ideological purity.
“I think it’s a totally honorable thing to say 'I support the candidate but I oppose the policy,'” he told activists gathered for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
Later, he made his view more explicit: “As a citizen, I would rather have a President McCain that we fight with 20 percent of the time than a President Clinton or a President Obama who we fight with 90 percent of the time.”
He said he had traveled to Idaho last weekend, when Illinois Sen. Barack Obama attracted a crowd of at least 16,000 in Boise, and that the ability of a Senate Democrat to attract a crowd of that size in that solidly-red state was “inconceivable.”
“On Super Tuesday, there were 14.6 million Democrats who thought the presidential nomination was worth voting for, and there were 8.3 million Republicans” who felt the same, he said. “That is a warning of a catastrophic election.”
He said there was “something happening” in the country that conservatives did not understand, and “I believe we need to change or expect defeat.” But he said a Republican win this fall was still possible.
It was a timely nod for McCain's candidacy. The likely GOP presidential nominee, who has struggled to win over his party's conservative base, was repeatedly booed during his own CPAC speech on Thursday.
Gingrich – who made a grand entrance Saturday to a recording of “Stars and Stripes Forever” – received a far different welcome from the conservative crowd. “We need you, Newt!” called one member of the audience.
The former Georgia congressman had weighed his own 2008 presidential run before abandoning the idea late last year. In the 2007 CPAC presidential straw poll, only Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani earned more first- and second-place votes.
He did not say Saturday whether he officially endorsed or would actively support McCain.