(CNN) - CNN has learned the 1.9 million-member Service Employees International Union is poised to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for President.
Three sources familiar with the deliberations said union leaders met via conference call Thursday to deliberate on the endorsement issue. These sources, speaking to CNN on condition of anonymity, said Obama was the overwhelming choice of the union's state and national leadership.
Barring an unexpected complication, the endorsement could be announced as early as Friday morning, the sources said.
It would be a significant boost for Obama, including in the coming major primary battlegrounds of Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania.
Thursday afternoon, Obama received another major labor endorsement likely to help in those delegate rich-states, when the 1.3-million member United Food and Commercial Workers Union decided to back his presidential bid.
–CNN Chief National Correspondent John King
(CNN)–Republicans continue to unite behind presidential candidate John McCain Thursday, as he wins the backing of former candidate Mitt Romney. This latest endorsement could mean a boost for McCain's delegate count - but fellow candidate Mike Huckabee says he was never interested in getting Romney's support.
In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN's Dana Bash follows McCain on his tour through New England.
Meanwhile, after a week of counting, New Mexico's primary ballots have finally been fully tallied, bringing a much-needed victory to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton - and another group of delegates split between her and her presidential rival, Barack Obama. CNN's Joe Johns take a deeper look at what would happen if the Democratic nomination comes down to a decision made by superdelegates - party leaders who can choose any candidate they prefer, no matter how their state voted.
Along the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton continued to invoke former Democratic candidate John Edwards Thursday, as she worked to court the working class. CNN's Jessica Yellin reports from Ohio on Sen. Clinton's new push for blue-collar support.
Finally, while the Republican and Democratic candidates attack one another one another, their parties are taking aim at their potential fall opponents. CNN Internet reporter Abbi Tatton takes a look at the party-sponsored attacks appearing online.
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–CNN's Emily Sherman
(CNN) – Is he or isn’t he? The New York Times reported Thursday night that Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights movement veteran and Democratic congressional leader who endorsed Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid last year, was switching his superdelegate vote to Barack Obama.
Within hours, according to the Washington Post, his spokeswoman Brenda Jones said the story - and an earlier Associated Press report that the Georgia congressman was considering the move - had been "observations, not statements of preference."
The New York Times had also reported that Lewis had not yet endorsed Obama, and would make a decision on that within a few days.
As of early Friday, there had been no comment from the congressman himself on either report.
“In recent days, there is a sense of movement and a sense of spirit,” Lewis said in the Times story, which was published on the paper’s Web site Thursday night. “Something is happening in America, and people are prepared and ready to make that great leap.”
The Times also quoted Lewis as saying that he hoped to prevent a potentially bloody battle over the nomination, and that if the two sides were seeking “a mediator, a negotiator or a peacemaker, I’d be happy to step in…I don’t want to see Mrs. Clinton damaged or Mr. Obama damaged.”
(CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton has won the February 5 Democratic presidential caucuses in New Mexico, the state party chairman announced Thursday after a count delayed by a large number of provisional ballots.
Clinton, the senator from New York and former first lady, edged out Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois by about 2,000 votes out of the nearly 150,000 cast, New Mexico Democratic Chairman Brian Colon announced nine days after the contest.
The final tally was given as 73,105, or about 49 percent, for Clinton and 71,396, or 48 percent, for Obama.
"With these two Democratic candidates, we had in New Mexico the largest voter turnout in decades," Colon said.
New Mexico is the last of two dozen states that held primaries or caucuses on "Super Tuesday" to complete its count. Colon said the results were delayed as election officials sorted through 17,000 provisional ballots cast during the contest to determine which ones were valid.
Provisional ballots were cast by people whose names did not appear on lists of eligible voters. More than 200 volunteers slogged through the stack of ballots, about half of which were eventually certified, Colon said.
(updated 6 p.m. ET with additional information)
(CNN) - One of the country’s biggest unions - the United Food and Commercial Workers Union - voted Thursday to endorse Barack Obama.
Obama’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, had also hoped for the union’s nod.
The union, which has more than a million members, is very active in Ohio and Texas - both contests the Clinton campaign is counting on to help her regain momentum in the Democratic presidential race.
It is also very strong in Pennsylvania, another major contest looming on the horizon, and is a major force in voter turnout in all three states.
The union represents workers in the meatpacking industry, in supermarkets and food processing.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) - Former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney announced Thursday that he is backing Sen. John McCain in his bid for the Oval Office.
"I am honored today to give my full support to Sen. McCain," Romney said in a joint news conference with Sen. McCain by his side.
"This is a man capable of leading our country in this dangerous hour."
Romney said he had no doubt McCain should be the next president of the United States.
After his announcement, Romney introduced McCain as a true American hero.
CNN learned the negotiations that led to the Romney endorsement included a prominent role by John Weaver, who was McCain's top political strategist until he was forced out in a campaign shakeup last summer.
Programming note: Watch Larry King’s exclusive interview with GOP front-runner John McCain tonight on Larry King Live at 9 P.M. Eastern.
VIENNA, Ohio (CNN) - With Bill Clinton nowhere in sight this Valentine's Day, Hillary Clinton stole a few saccharine moments with the men and women of the traveling press who see her much more often, day and night.
As her plane prepared for takeoff from Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, Clinton played stewardess, sauntering back to meet the press corps with a tray of chocolates and Valentine's Day wishes.
"I apologize to all of you who are not spending valentine's day with your significant others," she told them, as reporters each took chocolates and said, "Thank you, senator."
Clinton said this was first time in 37 years that she and her husband hadn't been together on Valentine's Day. The former president is campaigning in Wisconsin today as she travels across Ohio.
But, she said, he hadn't dropped the ball: "When I got in last night there were a dozen roses and some chocolates."
A TV producer, CBS' Fernando Suarez, handed Clinton his cell phone so she could help console his lonely girlfriend back in Washington.
"I am happy to be Fernando's second choice on Valentine's Day," Clinton told Suarez' girlfriend Michelle as reporters laughed out loud and pool photographers snapped away. For good measure, she also made nice with the girlfriend of Politico's Ken Vogel.
Clinton then walked back to first class, while the assembled reporters hustled back to their seats for takeoff.
– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby
(CNN) - As part of the Clinton campaign's declared effort to fight for every delegate in every state, Chelsea Clinton is heading to Hawaii, Barack Obama's home turf, according to a Clinton campaign source. She'll spend three days, including this weekend, campaigning there.
The Clinton campaign has been criticized for not competing in the smaller states and caucuses, but is now trying to adjust their strategy. A campaign source says they are not focused only on Texas and Ohio.
On conference call Wednesday, Clinton staffer Guy Cecil said the campaign would now be hiring staffers and opening field offices in several states with upcoming contests they had not devoted resources to before, including Montana and Wyoming.
Hillary Clinton has been endorsed by Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, and will be doing satellite interviews with Hawaiian TV today.
A campaign source says Chelsea has proven to be an effective campaigner and they see a strong correlation between Chelsea's visits and improved performance.
At this point, says one campaign source, it's a delegate fight, and even narrowing a loss has a huge impact.
This cycle Chelsea campaigned for her mother in California – the first state where Clinton won the youth vote. The rural congressional district where Chelsea campaigned in Nebraska outperformed others in the state. So far this cycle, Chelsea Clinton has campaigned in at least 15 states.
–CNN’s Jessica Yellin
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Things are beginning to fall into place very nicely for John McCain. With Mitt Romney’s endorsement, his campaign is clearly moving toward the next phase. He has already lined up most of the Senate and House Republican leaders. They gathered with him this week to praise his campaign and to swipe away at the two remaining Democratic candidates. The Republican governors and big city mayors will be next.
Mike Huckabee continues his uphill struggle, but the fact that he is taking some time off to fly to the Cayman Islands this weekend to deliver a paid speech speaks volumes. The former Arkansas governor certainly deserves a lot of credit for what he has achieved – with limited staff and money. He started off with virtually no national name recognition. He came pretty close but not close enough. The stars are aligning for the Arizona senator.
McCain still has an enormous challenge in getting the conservative base on board. He is making progress now that almost everyone assumes he has the nomination wrapped up. But there are still many lingering doubts about his record on campaign finance reform, comprehensive immigration reform, global warming, tax cuts, and other issues. But he has started the process of party unification. His strong stance on national security will help.
His life will be made easier in the coming weeks by the fact that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be fighting it out for delegates. In the process, he can afford to take the high road – at least for now.
In politics, the base is everything… and Hillary Clinton is losing hers.
Suddenly, in the Potomac Primaries this week, Clinton started to lose advantages she'd held up until this point among groups like women, whites, older and working-class voters. It's an ominous sign, and if it continues her dreams of being the next president could be doomed.
Exit polls show that Clinton is losing ground with groups that have been strongholds of her support. In Virginia and Maryland, she got the backing of only about four in ten women and three in ten men. She got the votes of 45% of people 65 and over and just more than one-third of people earning less than $50,000 a year or with high school degrees or less.
Obama won huge margins among African-Americans, young voters, higher income and better educated voters, and that didn't leave Senator Clinton anywhere to turn for support. Thus the lopsided victories for Obama. If this trend continues in the upcoming primaries in Texas and Ohio, it's pretty much over.
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