(CNN) — The Clinton campaign accused Barack Obama of the ultimate political crime Monday - plagiarizing speeches.
In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily Jessica Yellin, covers the newest scuffle in the Clinton-Obama feud.
John McCain received the endorsement of former President George H.W. Bush Monday — the ultimate seal of approval from the Republican establishment. CNN’s Dana Bash reports from Texas.
Meanwhile, the latest CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows the Democrats in a dead heat in Texas ahead of the state’s March 4 primary. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider breaks down the numbers.
Finally, with 20 Democratic delegates at stake in Hawaii, that state’s caucuses are getting more attention than ever before. CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux reports on the latest campaign efforts in the Rainbow State.
Click here to subscribe to CNN=Politics Daily
–CNN’s Emily Sherman
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s campaigns each accused the other of plagiarizing portions of their campaign speeches Monday, with the Clinton campaign accusing Obama of borrowing from a close supporter - and the Illinois senator’s campaign accusing his rival of lifting from Obama himself.
On a conference call with reporters, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said it was clear Obama had “lifted rhetoric” from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Portions of Patrick’s speeches during his gubernatorial run resemble some of Obama’s addresses this year.
“If you’re going to be talking about the value of words, the words ought to be your own,” said Wolfson.
In a statement this morning, Patrick said the two men often shared ideas and language with each other.
As Wolfson spoke, the Obama campaign hosted a competing conference call, during which campaign manager David Plouffe said Clinton was "denigrating the power of words."
The Obama camp also said Clinton had a pattern of borrowing some of the Illinois senator’s signature phrases, including “Yes, We Can” and “Fired Up, Ready to Go.”
They also circulated a YouTube video and list of these alleged instances to reporters still listening to Wolfson.
"...We have seen thousands and thousands of Iowans over the last week and we are fired up and we are ready to go because we know America is ready for change and the process starts right here in Iowa," says Clinton in the pre-Iowa caucuses clip circulated by the Obama campaign Monday.
UPDATE (1:45 p.m. ET): CNN's Chris Welch reports that Obama is playing down the allegations, telling reporters that he's written two books and most of his own speeches.
“Deval and I do trade ideas all the time, and you know he's occasionally used lines of mine, and I at a Jefferson Jackson dinner in Wisconsin used some words of his. And you know I would add I’ve noticed on occasion Sen. Clinton has used words of mine as well,” said Obama, adding, "...As I said before, I really don't think this is too big of a deal."
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) - It's all tied up in Texas.
A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll suggests that the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination between Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois is a statistical dead heat in Texas, which holds primaries March 4.
In the survey, out Monday, 50 percent of likely Democratic primary voters support Clinton as their choice for the party's nominee, with 48 percent backing Obama. But if you take into account the poll's sampling error of 4.5 percentage points for Democratic respondents, the race is a virtual tie.
Two recent polls by other organizations also show the race statistically even.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s really pretty sad that the Commission on Presidential Debates - both its Democratic and Republican leaders - decided New Orleans wasn’t yet ready to host one of three scheduled presidential debates between the party conventions at the end of the summer and the November 4 election.
A debate there would have sent a powerful message to the people of the city and to the country that the political leadership cares and remains deeply committed to its reconstruction.
When the commission made its decision a few weeks ago, I assumed that New Orleans wasn’t yet ready for prime time. But having spent the last few days there, I can now say New Orleans is more than ready. It just did a fabulous job hosting the NBA All-Star Game and related weekend activities.
The business leaders and people of the city did a really solid job welcoming thousands of NBA owners, executives, advertisers, and fans. The hotels were first-rate. Transportation around the city - to and from the various events including the big game - was smooth.
Indeed, it was a lot smoother than last year in Las Vegas. I remember the monumental traffic jams in Atlanta a few years ago when it took forever to get to the actual game. In contrast, New Orleans worked.
I spent some time Saturday afternoon in Baton Rouge with the new and popular Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, who was understandably very upset that the presidential debate commission had snubbed New Orleans. So were a lot of other folks in his state. It’s a pity that this historic opportunity was missed.
–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Hillary Clinton probably doesn't like the message coming from some of her supporters, who are now questioning her reliance on superdelegates in order to beat Barack Obama.
New York Congressman Charlie Rangel, who is one of Clinton's top African-American allies, insists it's the people, and not the superdelegates, who will select the Democratic nominee for president. Rangel adds, "The people's will is what's going to prevail at the convention and not people who decide what the people's will is."
Then there's New York Senator Chuck Schumer, another big Clinton supporter, who doesn't seem pleased with Clinton's willingness to fight it out with Obama on the floor of the convention in August. New York's senior senator is calling on both Clinton and Obama to agree on a winner after the last caucus in June. He says, "I don't think either candidate wants, or can even get away with, forcing their will down the throat of the other."
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
(CNN) – In an interview with CNN’s Mary Snow, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee held his ground about remaining in the GOP nomination race.
Pointing to the right to bear arms, the fair tax, illegal immigration, the federal marriage amendment, and the human life amendment, Huckabee told Snow, “these are critical issues for many Republicans across this country and they know that discussion ends the day I decide to leave.”
Hucakbee ruled out a possible third party bid, calling it “divisive.”
“I think it’s so much more important that I stay in the Republican Party and fight that it be solid and conservative and not drift off the ranch,” added Huckabee.
The presidential hopeful also told Snow that not addressing issues important to conservatives might lead them to feel ignored. “It’s very important that I stay because the conservative message needs to be told,” he explained.
GOP frontrunner John McCain is expected to easily garner enough pledged delegates to secure the Republican nomination in upcoming primaries and caucuses. The Arizona senator, who is popular among moderates and independents, has been working hard recently to shore up his support with the conservative base of the Republican Party.
With Mitt Romney’s exit from the race, Huckabee has held himself out as a more conservative alternative to McCain. Romney, however, recently endorsed McCain, and asked that all of the delegates pledged to him instead cast their votes for McCain at the GOP’s nominating convention this summer. McCain was also endorsed by former President George H. W. Bush Monday morning.
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
Sen. Hillary Clinton signed a campaign placard in De Pere, Wisconsin Monday.
(Photo Credit: Mike Roselli/CNN)
Related video: The battle for Wisconsin
HOUSTON (CNN) - Former President Bush endorsed Sen. John McCain for the presidency on Monday, saying, "No one is better prepared to lead our nation at these trying times than Senator John McCain."
"Few men walking among us have sacrificed so much in the cause of human freedom," he added.
(CNN) - Striking similarities between Barack Obama's words and those of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick during his 2006 election campaign have raised eyebrows and attracted traffic on YouTube.
A central passage in the stump speech Barack Obama has been giving in recent days - aimed at convincing voters that his campaign is not just about lofty rhetoric - is adapted from Patrick, Obama's campaign acknowledged over the weekend.
Deval - an Obama supporter - issued a statement this weekend, saying: "Sen. Obama and I are long-time friends and allies. We often share ideas about politics, policy and language."
Click here for full story.
– CNN's Josh Levs
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (CNN) – Back on the trail Sunday night after a weekend in the Cayman Islands for a speech, Mike Huckabee and wife Janet greeted supporters at a Milwaukee bowling alley and then challenged the media to ten frames.
After declaring, “It’s been a long time,” Huckabee grabbed a 15lb ball and rolled two spares in four turns. It wasn’t enough to beat the press though, the Huckabees were edged out thanks to strikes from ABC’s producer and CNN photographer Rod Griola.
Both Huckabees reveled in taking the journalists’ equipment and turning it on them as they stepped up to the line. Mrs. Huckabee hoisted one of CNN’s 25lb cameras with impressive ease while the former governor of Arkansas dropped to his knees with the CBS producer’s camera to make sure he got the upward angle as she heaved the ball.
After the Huckabees’ defeat, the candidate picked up his anti-establishment message where he left off on Friday. “What we need to do is make sure the people of Wisconsin recognize that they’re going out and voting their own conscience. Not doing what maybe somebody in Washington is telling them, and not doing what the establishment tells them,” Huckabee told reporters. “This vote is about the future of the Republican Party.”
Bowling alleys, it turns out, are not just good places to pick up votes. Mrs. Huckabee told CNN that on her first date with Huckabee – when her name, ironically, was Janet McCain – they went bowling.