(CNN) — CNN has learned that former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards met with Hillary Clinton Thursday in North Carolina, and is meeting with Barack Obama Monday, to discuss a possible primary endorsement.
The Thursday meeting, which took place at Edwards’ home in Chapel Hill, was followed by a Saturday night session during which the former North Carolina senator and several longtime advisers discussed many issues, including which candidate he should endorse.
The Obama campaign is enjoying a weekend of positive news, after winning four contests in Louisiana, Washington, Nebraska, and Maine. An endorsement by Edwards would provide additional momentum going into the next round of primaries.
At a Chapel Hill party yesterday for Edwards supporters, he gave no indication who he might endorse, or whether that endorsement is imminent. Some advisers are encouraging him not to endorse.
The former candidate is weighing a number of considerations before making his choice – including electability, and who will best promote his ideas.
There are policy considerations at play: there is a sense within the Edwards camp that Clinton's policies could be better for working class Americans. But Obama's anti-lobbyist proposals are more aligned with Edwards’ politics.
In response to a CNN report that Elizabeth Edwards may favor Obama over Clinton, sources close to the Edwards family flatly deny that she favors one candidate over the other.
(CNN) - Former Hillary Clinton chief of staff Maggie Williams will take over as campaign manager, Clinton staffers were told today. Current campaign manager and longtime friend Patti Solis Doyle will assume the role of senior adviser.
The switch has been rumored for more than a month – ever since Election Day in New Hampshire, when it was revealed that Williams would be joining the campaign in the wake of Clinton’s loss in the Iowa caucuses. At the time, Solis Doyle was urged to remain on board.
"I have been proud to manage this campaign, and prouder still to call Hillary my friend for more than sixteen years. I know that she will make a great president," Solis Doyle said in an e-mail to campaign staffers.
She added that the "the longest presidential campaign in the history of our nation" had "required enormous sacrifices from all of us and our families."
"...Maggie [Williams] is a remarkable person and I am confident that she will do a fabulous job."
A source close to Hillary Clinton tells CNN that Solis Doyle’s job had been at risk since Clinton's Iowa loss. Clinton's poor performance there coincided with the realization that the campaign had been running out of money – a fact which had not been related to the New York senator until then.
Still, Clinton stuck with Solis Doyle out of loyalty, says this source.
"There was a lot of dissatisfaction with the ground operation. There was nobody in charge,” another source tells CNN, adding that Solis Doyle was starting to lose the respect of some senior advisers, who fretted that campaign's message from state to state was not clear.
Doyle was "notorious for not returning phone calls which was starting to upset superdelegates and surrogates," and the endorsement process became "messy," says a source.
(CNN) - In an interview broadcast Sunday, President Bush offered to help Sen. John McCain make his case to conservatives if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee, saying there is "no doubt" McCain is a "true conservative."
Speaking to "Fox News Sunday," the president said McCain is "very strong" on national defense, "tough fiscally," wants to make Bush's tax cuts permanent, and opposes abortion rights. "His principles are sound and solid as far as I'm concerned," the president said.
Bush is not endorsing a candidate. He also had praise for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, calling him "a good, solid conservative person."
The president weighed in on the Democratic race, saying it "seems far from over to me." And he rejected criticism of former President Clinton's work on the campaign trail for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.
"I can understand why President Clinton wants to campaign hard for his wife. And those accusations that Bill Clinton's a racist, I think is just wrong. I just don't agree with it."
As for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Bush said, "I certainly don't know what he believes in.
"The only foreign policy thing I remember he said was he's going to attack Pakistan and embrace Ahmadinejad."
Obama said last summer that as president he would consider unilateral military action against sites in Pakistan. "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will," he said.
The remark at the time sparked criticism from fellow Democrats and from the Pakistani government. Obama said he stood by it.
(CNN) - Not long after President Bush called John McCain a “true conservative” on Fox News Sunday, House Minority Leader John Boehner also defended McCain’s conservative credentials on CNN’s Late Edition.
“When you look at his record on fiscal responsibility, when you look at his record on getting rid of wasteful Washington spending, look at his record on a strong national defense, and leading forward in the fight on terrorism, he’s a solid conservative,” Boehner told Wolf Blitzer earlier today.
The Ohio congressman said he did not agree with many conservative radio hosts, including Rush Limbaugh, who earlier this week said “McCain will kill conservatism as a dominant force in the Republican Party.”
Boehner has not endorsed McCain, and acknowledged that the Arizona senator has taken some positions that have “angered some conservatives.” But - like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who made similar comments to a conservative audience Saturday - he seemed willing to accept those differences to avoid a Democratic alternative.
“Look at the Republican candidates that are running for President, as compared with all of the Democrat candidates, and you see a very distinct picture,” said Boehner.
John McCain only won one of the three Republican presidential contests held on Saturday, but it may be too little, too late for Mike Huckabee, who won the remainder. Most analysts agree that it is nearly statistically impossible for Huckabee to take the delegate lead away from McCain.
–CNN's Peter Lanier
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama swept Saturday's Democratic contests, giving him considerable momentum heading into Sunday's Maine caucuses and three primaries Tuesday.
John McCain, however, was handed a starkly different message from the GOP, as voters in Louisiana and Kansas indicated they weren't ready to support the Arizona senator. Washington, however, backed the Republican front-runner over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, according to state party officials.
McCain's camp congratulated Huckabee on the victories but with an air of confidence, saying that Huckabee threatened only to chip away at McCain's substantial lead in the GOP race for the presidential nomination.
"The reality is that John McCain is the presumptive nominee of our party," said campaign spokesman Brian Rogers. "We'll campaign in these upcoming states as long as Gov. Huckabee is in the race, but our main focus is on uniting the Republican Party for victory in November."
Though CNN calculations estimate that Huckabee would need to snare hundreds more delegates to catch McCain, the Democrats are in a much tighter race.
RICHMOND, Virginia (CNN) - On a night when Barack Obama scored a trio of dominant wins in Nebraska, Washington and Louisiana, Obama and rival Hillary Clinton were already looking ahead to the next big electoral prize up for grabs: Virginia.
Both candidates tipped their hats to the state’s Democratic brass on Saturday night by jetting into Richmond for the Virginia Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson Jackson fundraising dinner.
There are 63 pledged delegates at stake here on Tuesday, when Maryland (37 delegates) and the District of Columbia (19 delegates) will also vote.
Buoyed by his wins, Obama emphasized to the audience at the Siegel Center in downtown Richmond that he is the most electable Democrat in the race.
“We’ve done better with independents in almost every single contest we’ve had,” he said to the largely pro-Obama audience. “It’s because we’ve won in more red states and swing states that the next Democratic nominee needs to win in November.”
“If I am your nominee,” he said and added, “This is one Democrat who plans to campaign in Virginia and win in Virginia this fall.”
A few yards from the stage, a quintet of defiant Clinton supporters stood during Obama’s entire speech holding up Hillary signs.
Clinton, arriving after a day of campaigning in Maine before the caucuses there Sunday, spoke earlier in the evening. The arena floor was packed tight with state Democratic donors and other supporters in suits and evening gowns. Most seemed to be gearing up for Obama’s speech later in the night, and the stadium seats and bleachers ringing the venue, open to anyone buying a ticket, were also jammed with young Obama supporters.
Her remarks were built around the economic themes that have characterized her recent stump speeches on the trail. On Friday, she launched a pair of television ads in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. that focus on jobs, education and the mortgage crisis.
“I am so ready to see Virginia in the winning Democratic column in November,” Clinton told the audience. She also thanked them “for sending Jim Webb to the Senate” in 2006. Webb upset incumbent GOP Sen. George Allen in a tight race that year.
Clinton peppered her speech with nods to Virginia’s racial history, quoting Harriet Tubman and making sure to note that, “Virginia was the first state in America to elect an African-American governor.”