(CNN)—In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider explains why Texas residents can cast a presidential vote twice on Tuesday – legally.
Despite the relative lack of drama in the Republican presidential contest, John McCain hasn’t had to worry about a lack of media attention this week, following the New York Times article that suggested an inappropriate relationship with a female lobbyist. CNN’s Dana Bash reveals how the Arizona senator is dealing with the sudden onslaught of media interest in the story, while Brian Todd explains what role lobbyists are playing in the other presidential campaigns.
Thursday’s CNN/Univision debate ended on a positive note for Sens. Obama and Clinton. Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley gives a Democratic weekend wrap.
Finally, voters often visit campaign websites to donate money or learn more about the candidates’ policy positions – but there’s a hidden risk most never imagine. CNN Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve uncovered some information that could undermine the candidates’ campaigns and put your personal information at risk.
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–CNN’s Emily Sherman
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, sandwiched between two major overseas trips, made a rare appearance at the State Department’s press briefing room Friday and talked politics. She told the packed room of reporters that she has no interest in running for Vice President on the 2008 Republican ticket. Instead, she says, her next stop will be California.
“I have always said that the one thing that I have not seen myself doing is running for elected office in the United States,” Rice said. “I didn’t even run for high-school President, Rice joked, “It’s not in my genes.”
Rice added that there are “very good people running for the American people to make their choices. I will be making my choice as a voter and that's going to be fun after a campaign in 2000 in which I was extremely involved.” Rice says she is not involved at all in this campaign. It’s a demanding period for her at the State Department, dealing with North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Russia, Serbia, and Rice doesn’t have much time left to make her mark.
She insisted that she’s going to stick with her job until the very end of her term: “I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing as Secretary of State to see if we can use the last few months, as the President has put it, to sprint to the finish.”
–CNN State Department Correspondent Zain Verjee
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have come a long way in their debating skills since they began their exchanges nearly a year ago.
Those were the days when there were eight Democratic candidates on the stage. I moderated one of their first debates back in June of last year. We met in New Hampshire, and the many candidates were literally fighting for airtime - some of them were angry at me for not giving them enough time.
You remember those days: in addition to Clinton and Obama, there were Dodd, Biden, Richardson, Kucinich, Gravel, and Edwards.
And in those days, Clinton was by far the frontrunner.
Now, things have changed so dramatically. Only two candidates are left standing - and Clinton is no longer the frontrunner.
She has a huge challenge ahead of her in the coming days, having now lost 11 contests in a row. The last was the Democrats Abroad contest – the final tally of votes from Democrats living outside the United States. Obama won decisively.
Bill Clinton says that if his wife wins in Ohio and Texas on March 4, she will be the party’s nominee. That’s a tall order right now, given the gains Obama has been making among some of her most ardent backers, including Latinos and women.
Still, I go back to their debating skills that were evident during the CNN/Univision debate in Austin, Texas, Thursday night. They were both impressive in making their points. They will have one more debate next week before the March 4 contests in Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island.
Obama has the momentum right now – but, as we saw last night, there’s still a real fight underway.
–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer
(CNN) – Hillary Clinton – whose campaign has spent the past several days pointing to instances of borrowed language in the speeches of rival Barack Obama – is being accused of lifting words from one very familiar politician: her own husband, former President Bill Clinton.
During Thursday night’s CNN Democratic debate, Clinton looked to highlight occasions when lines used by Obama have resembled those delivered by his friend and adviser, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
Clinton’s closing answer, which brought the audience to its feet, highlighted her personal struggles and the difficulties facing ordinary Americans: "You know, the hits I’ve taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country."
Shortly after she delivered her closing remark, a reader of Joshua Micah Marshall’s Talking Points Memo Web site noted that the line seemed to bear a resemblance to one her husband was quoted as delivering during his 1992 campaign.
"The hits that I took in this election are nothing compared to the hits the people of this state and this country have been taking for a long time," her husband was quoted as saying in an article by Anna Quindlen in the New York Times in that November of that year.
Last night, Hillary Clinton also said: “You know, whatever happens, we're going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we'll be able to say the same thing about the American people. And that's what this election should be about.”
The Obama campaign immediately began circulating a similar comment delivered by former presidential candidate John Edwards. “What's not at stake are any of us. All of us are going to be just fine no matter what happens in this election. But what's at stake is whether America is going to be fine,” Edwards said during a December debate in Iowa.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
AUSTIN, Texas (CNN) – Community organizer, Illinois senator, and now - the latest Lone Star music sensation?
Maybe that's a stretch, but at a low-dollar fundraiser Thursday night following the CNN/Univision debate Obama shared the stage - and the mic - with Austin-based and nine-time Grammy award winning western swing band "Asleep at the Wheel."
After first giving standard remarks and then shaking hands in the crowd of a couple hundred, Obama ran back on stage to deliver a few thank-you's - but that wasn't all he had in store.
The Democratic candidate then not only sung a few bars, but broke out some of his finest dance moves in a twist during their eighties hit "Boogie Back to Texas."
And before he left the stage he pulled out a guaranteed crowd pleaser in this neck of the woods: the 'Hook 'em Horns,' the hand sign of the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns, formed by raising the index finger and pinky.
Needless to say, that was a hit.
–CNN Political Producer Chris Welch
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton – outspent by Barack Obama 5-to-1 on Wisconsin’s airwaves in the weeks before her Tuesday loss – debuted another new ad in Texas and two in Ohio Friday, with less than two weeks to until critical votes in both delegate-rich states.
“In Texas when there’s work to be done, talk doesn’t cut it,” says the announcer in ‘Deliver,’ over images that include a wounded veteran, a group of schoolchildren, and a pick-up truck loaded with bales of hay. “You gotta roll up your sleeves, stand your ground and deliver… In Texas, it’s better done than said, and when it’s all said and done, Hillary delivers.”
The 30-second spot seems to echo a frequent Clinton criticism of Obama: that he represents “speeches, not solutions.”
A new Clinton ad in Ohio is featuring footage of the New York senator telling campaign trail crowds that “It’s time to level the playing field against the special interests.”
The ad highlights Clinton’s plans to cut taxes for the middle class, end corporate loopholes, and help the economy generate jobs – a major concern in the Midwestern state.
The campaign is also running a 30-second spot featuring former astronaut and four-term Senator John Glenn, who recently endorsed Clinton’s presidential bid.
–CNN’s Jeff Simon
(CNN) - Following a years-long campaign that began before President Bush even took his first oath of office, Southern Methodist University – the alma mater of First Lady Laura Bush - has been chosen as the future home of George W. Bush’s presidential library and policy center.
“I look forward to the day when both the general public and scholars come and explore the important and challenging issues our Nation has faced during my presidency — from economic and homeland security to fighting terrorism and promoting freedom and democracy,” President Bush wrote in a Friday letter to the university’s president, Gerald Turner.
The university had been hammering out the final details of the agreement for more than year. The facility will be located at a site near downtown Dallas.
–CNN’s Elaine Quijano and Rebecca Sinderbrand contributed to this report
(CNN) – An officer involved in Hillary Clinton's motorcade in Dallas, Texas was killed in a motorcycle crash Friday.
Senior Corporal Victor Lozada-Tirado struck a curb and lost control of his motorcycle in the accident, which occurred on the Trinity River Viaduct as Clinton's motorcade made its way through downtown Dallas. He was thrown at least 30-40 feet.
Clinton released a statement saying she is “greatly heartsick over this loss of life in the line of duty.”
“I want to express my deepest condolences to the family and the Dallas police department on this tragic, tragic loss," said Clinton.
She added that she had called the Dallas Police chief, and would call the family at an appropriate time, and was grateful for the police department's service.
"I am certainly grateful for all they do for me and more importantly what they do for the citizens of cities like Dallas,” she said.
Dallas police said Lozada- Tirado has been a member of the department since December of 1988, and had been assigned to the Traffic division since 2003. They also said he was married with four children, two boys and two girls.
There have been two fatal accidents involving motorcycle officers escorting President Bush’s motorcade over the past 18 months.
On August 28, an officer from Rio Rancho, New Mexico died when his motorcycle crashed as the motorcade approached the airport in Albuquerque. The officer, Germaine Casey, was 40. He was the lead motorcycle in the motorcade when the crash occurred.
On November 23, 2006, a Honolulu Police motorcycle officer crashed on wet roads during the President’s motorcade in Hawaii…he died of his injuries a week later. Two other officers injured in the crash were released from the hospital. Steve Favella was 30.
(story updated late Friday afternoon with officer's identity.)
Related video: Clinton sends condolences
–CNN’s Mike Roselli and Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report
(story updated 12:00 ET Friday)
(CNN) – The White House took aim at the New York Times Friday over its investigation of presidential candidate John McCain, with a spokesman telling reporters the paper unfairly targets Republicans.
“I think a lot of people here in this building with experience in a couple of campaigns have grown accustomed to the fact that during the course of the campaign - about seemingly on maybe a monthly basis leading up to the convention, maybe a weekly basis after that - the New York Times does try to drop a bombshell on the Republican nominee,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Scott Stanzel.
“And that is something that the Republican nominee has faced in the past, and probably will face in this campaign. And sometimes they make incredible leaps to try to drop those bombshells on the Republican nominee,” he said.
Stanzel said that the White House would not comment on the specifics of the story, but considered what they felt to be the paper’s uneven approach to covering GOP candidates to be a “fact of life.” He added that in his personal experience as a staffer involved with President Bush’s 2000 and 2004 presidential runs, that sentiment was widespread on both campaigns.
“I'm not saying they never give that kind of treatment [to a Democratic nominee]. But we see it pretty regular [in] treatment of the Republican nominee,” he said of the Times.
–CNN's Kathleen Koch contributed to this report
(CNN) – If the Democratic presidential race is still unresolved at the party’s nominating convention in Denver, Hillary Clinton said in a new interview that she will continue to push for the inclusion of the Florida and Michigan delegations, despite penalties that stripped both states of their voting power.
Interviewer Evan Smith of Texas Monthly asked Clinton whether her plan was to press the national party to reverse its decision to punish the states for moving their primaries earlier in the year, in violation of Democratic National Committee instructions.
“Yes, it is. Yes, it is,” she said. “It’s in large measure because both the voters and elected officials in Michigan and Florida feel so strongly about this. Sen. Bill Nelson, of Florida, early on in the process actually sued because he thinks it’s absurd on its face that 1.7 million Democrats who eventually voted would basically be disregarded, and I agree with him about that.”
Clinton won both the Florida and Michigan primaries, but no delegates were awarded, in accordance with the DNC penalties.
The major Democratic presidential candidates all signed a pledge not to campaign in either state before their primaries. Most of the major candidates, except for Clinton also removed their name from Michigan’s primary ballot.
Clinton told Smith that she had promised not to campaign in either state, and had kept her word – but that she had never said she would not ask for the results of those contests to be made official, a request her campaign made public on the eve of Florida’s January vote.
“I signed an agreement not to campaign in Michigan and Florida. Now, the DNC made the determination that they would not seat the delegates, but I was not party to that,” she told Smith.
She said that, unlike Texas, both Florida and Michigan were critical to any Democratic victory, and that because “the people of those two states disregarded adamantly the DNC’s decision that they would not seat the delegates” and turned out in record numbers, the party should not invalidate their votes.
“Florida, in particular, is sensitive to being disenfranchised because of what happened to them in the last elections,” said Clinton. “I have said that I would ask my delegates to vote to seat.”
Barack Obama's campaign has said they are willing to consider various proposals for the inclusion of Florida and Michigan – but that they are opposed to seating the delegations based on the results of January’s primaries.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand