PLANO, Texas (CNN) – Mike Huckabee will make a guest appearance on Saturday Night Live this weekend, the show’s first episode since the writers’ strike ended.
It will be hosted by former SNL head writer Tina Fey with Carrie Underwood as the musical guest. Huckabee will appear in a skit and gave it a modest promotion in Plano, Texas on Wednesday. “Be sure and watch that,” he encouraged reporters before catching himself, “let me find out what the skit is then I’ll tell you whether I want you to watch it or not.”
Huckabee is a regular on the late night show circuit but this will be his first appearance on SNL. Barack Obama also made a special appearance in November and John McCain hosted the show in 2002.
(CNN)— In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Candy Crowley reveals the most recent push by the Clinton campaign to maintain momentum after a tough string of losses in Wisconsin, Hawaii and the Potomac primaries.
Meanwhile, John McCain is easing into his role as Republican frontrunner and sharpening his attacks on who he thinks will be the Democratic nominee—Barack Obama. CNN’s Dana Bash reports on what the two candidates are sparring over.
Plus, a powerful union that has long supported Hillary Clinton endorsed Barack Obama Wednesday. The President of Teamsters Union, James Hoffa tells Wolf Blitzer why they chose Obama over Clinton and includes some strong criticism of John McCain.
Finally, with his victories in Wisconsin and Hawaii, Barack Obama has won 10 straight primaries and is starting to sway the base of Hillary Clinton’s supporters. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider gives an analysis of who Obama is affecting.
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–CNN’s Emily Sherman
(CNN) – Michelle Obama said Wednesday she has always loved America, seeking to quell the firestorm over her comment earlier in the week that seemed to suggest she is only now proud to be an American.
"What I was clearly talking about is that I am proud in how Americans are engaging in the political process," Michelle Obama told CNN affiliate WJAR after a campaign event in Providence, Rhode Island. "I mean everyone has said what I said, in that we haven't seen these record numbers of turnouts, people who are paying attention, going to rallies, watching debates.
“For the first time in my lifetime I am seeing people rolling up their sleeves in way that I haven't seen and really trying to figure this out, and that's the source of pride I was talking about," she continued.
On Monday, Michelle Obama told the crowd at a campaign event that "for the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country, because it feels like hope is making a comeback… not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."
That comment immediately drew fire from several conservative talk radio-hosts. John McCain's wife, Cindy McCain, seemed to be responding to the remark when she introduced her husband at a campaign rally Tuesday by saying, "I am proud of my country. I don’t know about you, if you heard those words earlier — I am very proud of my country.”
On Wednesday, Michelle Obama said: "I love my country, and wouldn't be in this if I didn't care deeply and didn't believe that the kind of possibilities I had as a kid should be available to every single child."
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Sen. Clinton speaks in Hidalgo, Texas Wednesday.
(Photo Credit: Mike Roselli/CNN)
The morning after Obama won his 10th straight victory over Clinton, his campaign manager David Plouffe told reporters that the New York senator would need to win massive, double-digit victories in upcoming contests to even begin to erase her current delegate deficit.
He added that his campaign's most conservative estimate for the critical March 4 contests would still leave Obama with a lead of about 150 pledged delegates. (See CNN's latest delegate estimate here)
Clinton, Plouffe said on a morning conference call, would have to win three out of every four remaining pledged delegates to begin to be competitive in that area.
“This is a wide, wide lead right now…I am amused when the Clinton campaign continues to say: Well, it’s essentially a tie. I mean that’s just lunacy,” said Plouffe. “We have opened up a big and meaningful pledged delegate lead. They are going to have to win landslides from here on out to erase it.”
(CNN) – The political momentum is clearly with Barack Obama. He has been impressive. But don’t count Hillary Clinton out yet - she has a formidable political machine and lots of ardent supporters.
Obama has won ten contests in a row - almost all of them by significant margins. But Clinton still has time to come back between now and March 4, when there are major contests in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island. There is no doubt she is facing an uphill struggle, but it would be premature to say it’s over.
I say that as a reporter who has seen Bill and Hillary Clinton bounce back before. During the 1992 Democratic presidential campaign, he was considered politically dead after the Gennifer Flowers scandal erupted. But he overcame that and became “the comeback kid” in New Hampshire.
Her political viability was undermined dramatically when her disastrous health care initiative collapsed after he became president in 1993.
Some pundits began calling him a lame-duck in 1994 when the Democrats lost their majority in the House and Senate. But he came back to defeat Bob Dole in 1996 and won a second term.
Then, there were all the other scandals during his eight years in the White House, including Whitewater, Travelgate, Monica Lewinsky and impeachment. Some suggested he would have to resign. I was CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent then, and I remember those days vividly.
But Bill Clinton survived and even thrived. His job approval rating during his final year in the White House was in the mid-60s. President Bush’s right now is in the low-30s. And Hillary Clinton sailed to victory over Republican congressman Rick Lazio in 2000 in the New York Senate race - even though she had never really lived in New York, and many accused her of being a carpet-bagger.
In short, I think it’s fair to say she’s in serious political trouble right now. But given the Clintons’ history, it would be a mistake to say her quest for the presidency is over. If she manages to win in Texas and Ohio - and that still is possible - she will go on to Pennsylvania on April 22, and this roller coaster political season will continue.
–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer
(CNN) - With Tuesday's contests in Washington State, Wisconsin, and Hawaii behind them, the presidential candidates are now focussing their attention on the upcoming contests in Ohio and Texas on March 4.
In Wednesday's highlights, watch Sens. Barack Obama, John McCain, and Hillary Clinton out on the trail and watch Mike Huckabee discuss why he's remaining in the hunt for the GOP's nomination.
Related: Listen to Candy Crowley discuss the race for the Democratic nomination
Delegates cheer at the 2004 Democratic convention. This year their official role is under heavy scrutiny. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hillary Clinton's campaign launched a new Web site Wednesday designed to convey its argument about how delegates should be counted - the campaign’s latest offensive against Barack Obama's contention that the candidate with the most pledged delegates should win the party's nomination.
The new Web site lists five of the Clinton team’s disputed views on delegates, including the ideas that Florida and Michigan's delegates should be seated at the convention despite party sanctions and that there is a "clear path" for Clinton to finish the race with more delegates than Obama.
The Web site also argues that superdelegates - or what the Clinton campaign is now calling “automatic delegates” - should not look to the primary season vote when deciding which candidate to support, stating, "The fact is: no automatic delegate is required to cast a vote on the basis of anything other than his or her best judgment about who is the most qualified to be president."
According to CNN's latest estimate, Obama has earned 143 more pledged delegates than Clinton. But Clinton currently has the support of 73 more superdelegates – which translates into an overall deficit of 70 delegates.
Speaking with reporters Wednesday morning, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe repeated the campaign's contention that the candidate with the most pledged delegates should win the nomination, and said it is nearly impossible for Clinton to catch up in that count.
“This is a wide, wide lead right now,” he said. “I am amused when the Clinton campaign continues to say, 'Well, it’s essentially a tie.' I mean, that’s just lunacy. We have opened up a big and meaningful pledged delegate lead. They are going to have to win landslides from here on out to erase it.”
Plouffe also said the Clinton campaign keeps "offering alternative theories for why they can win the nomination that have nothing to do with the votes that are happening in these contests.”
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN) – On the heels of several major labor endorsements for Barack Obama, the Change To Win coalition – seven unions that represent between five and six million members nationwide – will be considering a possible endorsement of the Illinois senator’s White House bid during a conference call Thursday morning.
A spokeswoman for the group says the leadership will be discussing plans during a 10 a.m. conference call, and may announce their decision as soon as early afternoon.
Change to Win, which broke away from the AFL-CIO after the last election cycle, is led by the heads of its seven member unions and three other labor leaders, including SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger.
A majority of the group’s member unions have already backed Obama: the Teamsters – which revealed their support for Obama Wednesday – UNITE Here, the Service Employees International Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. The decision does not need to be unanimous.
The three other unions, which have not endorsed Obama, are the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Laborers International Union, and United Farm Workers.
United Farm Workers endorsed Hillary Clinton earlier this year. The New York senator has also received nods from several other unions, including the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) - Barack Obama’s campaign is condemning a pro-Hillary Clinton group airing television ads on her behalf in key upcoming contests, sending out a statement that compares the effort to the controversial “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” organization – a characterization an organizer of the group calls “heavy-handed and hypocritical.”
“The America(n) Leadership Project is organized on the same model as Swift Boats Veterans for Truth and other ‘527s’ operating outside the financing limits of federal campaign finance law,” the Obama campaign said in a memo sent to reporters Wednesday afternoon.
ALP, which includes veterans of the Clinton administration and longtime supporters, is a “527” group, which means it is not bound by federal campaign finance laws as long as it does not directly advocate on behalf of a particular candidate.
In 2004, the Swift Boat Vets targeted Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.
Jason Kinney, the chairman of ALP, immediately fired back, saying the Obama campaign of “shooting in the dark.”
“We intend to be open and transparent and make all disclosures. Their memo is more than a little heavy-handed and hypocritical on its face,” said Kinney, a former adviser to ex-California Gov. Gray Davis.