The Wall Street Journal reports today about the evolving role of Michelle Obama. The Princeton and Harvard Law-educated wife of the democratic front-runner has become an influential adviser. She's been nicknamed "the closer" because she often pushes harder to seal the deal with voters than Barack does. She generally stays away from discussing policy and strategy, but gets very involved with issues that affect her personally, like being a working mom.
Michelle has also given people a peek into their personal lives: Barack snores and doesn't put the butter back in the refrigerator.
She says part of her role is to "give people yet another slice of who Barack is, making him even more multidimensional." She says her comments about his foibles were so people wouldn't "deify" him.
Then there is the other spouse in the race. That would be the 42nd president of the United States.
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(CNN) – An expected meeting between Barack Obama and John Edwards Monday has been rescheduled due to scheduling conflicts, the Obama campaign confirms.
The two men were to discuss John Edwards' likely upcoming endorsement of either Obama or Hillary Clinton.
Clinton met with the former presidential candidate last Thursday. On Saturday night Edwards huddled with several longtime advisers to discuss many issues, including which candidate he should endorse.
The Obama campaign did not give any sense of when the meeting may now take place.
– CNN's Chris Welch and Candy Crowley contributed to this report
ABOARD THE CNN ELECTION EXPRESS IN PLACENTIA, California (CNN) – On a journey like this you learn some valuable life lessons, and so far I certainly have.
For example, here is how to spend the best three dollars you will ever invest:
If you are dining at a Denny’s, and, before ordering, you turn over the menu to find that the same meal you were about to ask for is available at a senior discount. . . .
And if the terrible, icicle-claws-in-your-stomach realization dawns on you that you are, in fact, available for that discount. . . .
Don’t do it. Order the regular meal. The three dollars you’d save is not worth the despondency that would result from having the qualifying conversation with the waitress. Pretend you didn’t even see the back of the menu. Proceed as if it doesn’t apply to you.
Another lesson, not quite as personal but just as apt, is this:
For anyone in America who wasn’t around in 1952 - meaning most of the country - the presidential election this November is going to be like none they have ever experienced.
Much has been made of that fact that the Bush family and the Clinton family have put the word “dynasty,” more often used to describe royalty or successful sports teams, into the forefront of the American political vocabulary. But, whether or not Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee and then the president, there is something else about this year’s election that makes it extraordinary: the 1952 factor.
This November will be the first time in 56 years that neither of the candidates for president has already served as either president or vice president.
In 1952 it was Dwight Eisenhower vs. Adlai Stevenson. After that, there has never been an election lacking a candidate who had previously been No. 1 or No. 2 in the executive branch.
(CNN) - Mike Huckabee continued to cry foul Monday over the results in Saturday’s Washington State GOP caucuses, saying the state party chairman's decision to call the race there early for John McCain is reminiscent of elections in communist bloc nations.
"That is not what we do in American elections," Huckabee said on CNN's American Morning Monday. "Maybe that's how they used to conduct it in the old Soviet Union, but you don't just throw people's votes out and say, 'well, we're not going to bother counting them because we kind of think we know where this was going.'
In a statement released Sunday, Huckabee's campaign said Washington's GOP Party Chairman Luke Esser called the race for McCain when Huckabee was only losing to the Arizona senator by 242 votes and over 1,500 votes remained to be counted. Esser has said he remains confident he made the right call.
Speaking on CNN, Huckabee said the campaign has sent lawyers to the state to formally challenge the result.
"I was just stunned," Huckabee said. "It's the kind of thing that Republicans across America, not just in Washington State, ought to be outraged over."
The former Arkansas governor also brushed aside McCain's claim of being the presumptive nominee, citing his wins in Kansas and Louisiana over the weekend.
"As long as my guys are waving their pompons, we'll stay on the field," he said of his White House bid.
Meanwhile, speaking with reporters on Monday morning, McCain said he is confident he won the Washington caucuses, but said Huckabee has the right to challenge the result.
"I think it is pretty clear that we won. And some of these are close - there was a couple of close races that we had with Gov. Huckabee, but he certainly has the right to challenge if he choses to," McCain said. "But I honestly don’t know enough about details except that I know that state parties declare elections when they have sufficient evidence as to who has won and who has lost."
– CNN Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN) – In his first press conference since two key losses over the weekend, John McCain said Monday he remains on track to be the Republican Party's nominee.
"We're doing fine. We're doing fine," the Arizona senator, who suffered losses in the Louisiana and Kansas caucuses and narrowly won Washington, said in Annapolis, Maryland.
"I am confident that we have and will continue our path toward getting the prerequisite number of delegates," he continued. "I am glad we have the support that we have - increasingly financial as well as political support from around the country."
McCain continues to hold a wide 437-delegate lead over Huckabee, and it remains nearly impossible for the former Arkansas governor to catch up in the delegate count.
But McCain has suffered some embarrassing setbacks in the days following Mitt Romney's decision to end his presidential bid. He drew a mixed reception at the Conservative Political Action Conference late last week, and has yet to score a convincing win since becoming the apparent GOP nominee.
His losses in Kansas and Louisiana were only tempered by a narrow win in Washington State – a victory that Huckabee is currently contesting. And the Arizona senator is continuing to have trouble uniting conservatives behind his candidacy: According to exit polls in Louisiana, conservatives broke for Huckabee over McCain by nearly 20 points.
"I have said we had a lot of work to do to unite the party," McCain said Monday. "Our party is dispirited because of spending and corruption, as we all know, and we have to reenergize our base."
– CNN Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Voting rights are to Washington, D.C. what ethanol subsidies are to Iowa. But unlike their corn-fed compatriots, Washington's Democratic primary voters rarely encounter presidential candidates making naked appeals to their provincial concerns.
This campaign cycle is different.
With Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama neck-and-neck for the Democratic presidential nomination, every pledged delegate counts - and the nation's heavily-Democratic capital has 15 of them.
So Hillary Clinton came to a campaign event here Monday stressing her longtime pledge that D.C. residents who have long lived without a vote in Congress won't have to wait much longer if she is elected president.
Calling it an "injustice" that needs to be remedied, Clinton said one of her first orders of business as president will be to give Washingtonians a vote in Congress.
"It is wrong that we disenfranchise the people that live and work in this city," Clinton said, to hearty applause. "D.C. really deserves much more attention and support from the federal government."
Washington currently has non-voting representation in Congress - Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton can vote in committee, but does not have a say on bills that make it to the House floor.
A compromise on D.C. voting rights was reached in the House last year that would also have given an additional congressional representative to Republican-dominated Utah, but that effort was unsuccessful.
– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby
(CNN) – The tight presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has brought unaccustomed scrutiny to superdelegates, the Democratic Party insiders who may prove decisive in deciding the party’s presidential nomination this year.
Superdelegates are party leaders, Democratic members of Congress, former presidents and Democratic governors, who each get a delegate vote at the party’s nominating convention and are free to cast it for any candidate, regardless of their state’s primary season preference.
Two of these party insiders told American Morning anchor John Roberts Monday that they are ‘uncomfortable’ with their votes being the deciding factor.
“I think the best people to decide our nominee should be actual voters in primaries and caucuses,” said Maine superdelegate Sam Spencer, adding that the function of superdelegates was “somewhat outdated and not the most democratic way of doing things.”
CNN estimates Hillary Clinton already has the support of 224 out of the 796 superdelegates and Barack Obama has support from 135, leaving 437 up for grabs.
–CNN's Emily Sherman
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Conservative activist Gary Bauer endorsed John McCain for president Monday.
“I admire his consistent 24-year pro-life record and demonstrated commitment to the values that keep our families and communities strong,” said Bauer, in a statement released by McCain’s campaign.
“John McCain alone has the experience, character and credibility to lead as commander in chief on day one and defeat the transcendent threat of our time - radical Islamic extremism.”
In 2000, Bauer backed McCain after ending his own White House run, saying the Arizona senator was “the best shot we have to end the era of Bill and Hillary and Al Gore.”
The former president of the Family Research Council has been a leader in the evangelical community for decades, and founded the conservative political action committee Campaign for Working Families.
The pro-life activist was also a signer of the Statement of Principles of the Project for the New American Century.
(CNN) – They're counting votes in New Mexico - still.
Six days after Super Tuesday, when millions of voters cast ballots in 24 states and America Samoa, the winner remains in doubt in the Democratic presidential caucus in New Mexico.
Volunteers with the Democratic Party of New Mexico have been working 16 hours a day – in shifts – to try to figure out whether Democrats there preferred Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York or Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the state party said Sunday.
"We know it is urgent to get these results completed," Chairman Brian S. Colon of the Democratic Party of New Mexico said in a statement Sunday.
The national media spotlight has moved on to primaries and caucuses in other states, including contests Tuesday in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. Yet 227 volunteers with the Democratic Party of New Mexico are still slogging through provisional ballots - votes cast by people whose names did not appear on lists of eligible voters.
Election rules let people cast provisional ballots that will be counted as long as officials verify that the person is eligible to vote.
As it stands now in New Mexico, Clinton leads Obama by 1,066 votes out of about 154,000 cast, according to the state Democratic Party. That total does not include 17,276 provisional ballots.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., died Monday due to complications from cancer, his office announced.
He was 80.