WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s now clear that neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama will have enough elected or pledged delegates to guarantee the presidential nomination.
Even if you add Michigan and Florida makeover primaries to the equation, neither is going to reach the magic number required for the Democratic nomination - which would increase with the addition of both states - with strictly pledged delegates. They will require superdelegates to put them over the top.
Undecided superdelegates will have to make a critical decision. Even decided superdelegates are in play – they are, of course, also allowed to change their minds. We have seen some high-profile switches in recent weeks. They, too, could be in play.
How should the superdelegates make their decision? What factors should they consider?
Some will naturally tend to go along with the candidate who has won the most pledged delegates. Right now, that looks like Obama.
Others will go with the candidate who has won the most popular votes across the country. Right now, that’s Obama but it could become Clinton after all the upcoming ballots are counted, especially if there are makeover contests in Florida and Michigan.
Some superdelegates will be inclined to support the candidate that carried his or her congressional district or state.
Yet other super delegates will look to the specific states that the two candidates have won and ask which candidate has the best chance of beating Republican John McCain in the fall. Clinton’s advisers point out that she has won the biggest states with the most Electoral College votes, including New York and California. That, they say, would bode well for her against McCain.
I have spoken with several undecided superdelegates in recent days, and most of them tell me they will eventually pick the candidate they believe has the best chance of beating McCain and helping other Democrats increase their majorities in the House and Senate.
What do you think? Do you agree with them?
–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer
(CNN) – Hillary Clinton’s campaign spokesman said Monday that Barack Obama was not yet prepared to serve as commander-in-chief – but might be able to cross that threshold in time to join the Democratic ticket this summer as a vice presidential candidate.
Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton and campaign surrogate, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, all suggested that Barack Obama might make a good vice president.
On a conference call with reporters and several prominent military supporters of Clinton’s presidential bid, spokesman Howard Wolfson was asked: if Obama is not ready to lead in times of crisis, how can he be considered for the vice presidency?
“We do not believe that Senator Obama has passed the commander in chief test,” said Wolfson. “But there is a long way between now and Denver.”
He did not say what Obama might be able to do to get ready in the months before the Democratic convention this August.
In response, Obama spokesman Bill Burton e-mailed reporters the quote, along with the Clinton campaign press office number, and urged journalists to call and ask them what Wolfson’s statement “could possibly mean.”
Ret. Gen Joe Ballard – who joined Wolfson on the call, along with Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark and Ret. Adm. Joe Sestak - made the case that Clinton is more qualified to handle foreign crises than Obama, an argument her campaign has been stressing in recent weeks.
“When I look across the aisle at Senator Obama, other than a great speech, I do not see the same body of experience to deal with the issues,” said Ballard.
UPDATE: Obama said at a campaign event Monday he is "not running for vice president."
"I want everybody to be absolutely clear. We are in a tough battle," he said. "And I don't presume that I have won this election. Senator Clinton is fighting hard. She's tenacious. I respect her for that. She is working hard to win the nomination. But I want everybody to be absolutely clear. I'm not running for vice president. I'm running for president of the United States of America."
– CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
WASHINGTON (CNN) –Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip, who was sworn in this morning, stopped by the Justice Department press room to pay a courtesy visit to journalists who work at Main Justice.
Shortly after Filip sat down to chat informally with about a half dozen wires service reporters and network news producers, the CNN monitors began to carry the statement by Elliot Spitzer apologizing for his behavior.
I abruptly jumped up, boosted the volume, and asked the brand new second-highest ranking law enforcement official in the nation if he could kindly hold on a minute, as everyone’s attention turned to Spitzer’s words. “No problem. I want to see it too,” Filip said. He made no other comment on the matter, which presumably involves federal prosecutors and investigators who had been officially under his control for about five hours.
Filip said he hopes in his ten months as Deputy to Attorney General Michael Mukasey to be active in areas that are largely non-partisan. Filip acknowledged the election year could limit what can be accomplished, but he singled out the theft of Intellectual Property as an area of criminal law where he hopes he can make a difference before the Administration term concludes.
Filip gave up a lifetime appointment as a federal judge in his native Chicago to accept the number two post at the Justice Department. Filip began his career as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago.
–CNN's Terry Frieden
(CNN) - Casey Knowles has graced the airwaves this month as the unwitting star of a headline-grabbing campaign ad for Hillary Clinton. But the 17-year-old is hoping to grace the small screen this campaign year for another presidential hopefully: Clinton’s Democratic rival, Barack Obama.
Stock footage of an 8-year-old Knowles sleeping – shot when she worked as an extra in TV commercials - was used in Clinton’s “red phone” ad, which asked “Who do you want answering the phone at 3 a.m.?” in the case of a foreign policy crisis.
But the high-school senior – who will be eligible to vote in the general election – is actually a passionate supporter of Barack Obama’s, and has been volunteering for the Illinois senator’s campaign.
“I think it would be wonderful if Barack Obama and I could get together and do a counter-ad,” she told CNN Saturday.
Appearing on CNN's American Morning Monday, Knowles said she was shocked to discover she was in the commercial, and said it made her feel disloyal to Obama.
"It makes me feel a little disloyal and kind of," she said. "It hurts that footage of me would contribute to a candidate that I'm not necessarily supporting. Hopefully Mr. Obama would forgive me. "
Knowles, who lives in Washington State, also said she plans on helping Obama in Oregon ahead of that state's primary in May.
"They want to get me down there and hopefully get me to help support and get campaigning going on down there," she said.
In Wyoming on Friday, Obama told voters at a campaign event that people shouldn’t worry about what he’d do if an emergency 3 a.m. call came into the White House when he was president.
“What do people think I’m going to do? I’m going to answer the phone,” he said.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama Monday focused on Mississippi, which holds primaries on Tuesday, while Sen. Hillary Clinton keep her eye on the next big prize on the Democratic calendar, Pennsylvania.
Thirty-three delegates are at stake Tuesday, and in the tight Democratic race, every delegate is critical. CNN estimates that Obama leads Clinton by less than 100 delegates, 1,527 to 1,428. A candidate needs 2,024 delegates to win the nomination. Obama won the Wyoming caucuses Saturday, where he picked up seven delegates. Clinton won five delegates.
Obama was scheduled to hold rallies in Columbus and Jackson, Mississippi, while Clinton was set to hold campaign events in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania holds its primary on April 22.
(CNN)— John McCain may have clinched the Republican presidential nomination last week, but rival Ron Paul told CNN Monday his fight isn't over just yet.
Given the dwindling number of primaries, “It is certainly winding down,” Paul said of his campaign in an interview Monday. However, “If you’re in a campaign for only gaining power, that’s one thing. If you’re in a campaign to influence ideas and future of the country, the campaign is never over,” said Paul who explained he has every intention of participating in the upcoming April 22 primary in Pennsylvania.
Although his campaign has largely been considered a long shot, Paul garnered a legion of enthusiastic supporters and was able to raise more money than many better known candidates in the field.
The Texas congressman also said he is not likely to support McCain because he disagrees with the Arizona senator on several issues. Paul acknowledged his party's unity is vital right now, but said he can’t reject what he’s talked about and supported for 30 years.
Ron Paul is the only Republican Presidential candidate to call for a speedy withdrawal of troops from Iraq. He also opposes the federal income tax and supports limiting federal spending.
- CNN’s Emily Sherman
(CNN) - In a new interview, Hillary Clinton again seems to raise the prospect that "pledged" delegates – those awarded based on election results – might still be considered up for grabs..
"There are elected delegates, caucus delegates and superdelegates, all for different reasons, and they're all equal in their ability to cast their vote for whomever they choose," she told Newsweek in an interview published Sunday. "Even elected and caucus delegates are not required to stay with whomever they are pledged to."
After a similar reference earlier this year drew sharp criticism from Obama supporters, the Clinton campaign said that they had not been planning to try to actively convince the Illinois senator's pledged delegates to switch sides, and would not do so in the future.
Barack Obama leads Clinton among all Democratic delegates, 1,527 to 1,428, in the latest CNN count. Among pledged delegates, Obama leads Clinton 1,328 to 1,190.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN)— Controversy surrounding the results from Michigan and Florida’s primaries continued Monday as both Democratic campaigns make their pitches for how the Democratic National Committee should handle the situation.
Senior Clinton Campaign Adviser Ann Lewis told CNN in an interview Monday, the DNC should recognize and respect that such large numbers of Democrats came out to vote.
Michigan and Florida were stripped of their delegates when they scheduled their primaries before February in violation of DNC rules. However, given the unexpected close nature of the Democratic race some party leaders are calling for a ‘do-over’ in both states.
Barack Obama’s Communications Director Robert Gibbs told CNN’s John Roberts the Obama campaign is waiting to see what the DNC decides is ‘fair and reasonable.’
“We’ve said since the beginning that we unlike others would play by the rules that have been established,” Gibbs said in an apparent strike at the Clinton campaign.
None of the candidates campaigned in either state and Hillary Clinton was the only major candidate to appear on the Michigan ballot.
DNC Chairman Howard Dean said the decision is ultimately up to state leaders—assuming the Obama and Clinton campaigns feel the resolution is fair to both sides.
“I have to run these rules so that the losing side feels it’s been treated fairly,” Dean said on ABC’s “This Week,” adding that he has discussed possible solutions with Michigan Sen. Carl Levin and Florida Sen. Bill Nelson.
Related: Ann Lewis says Michigan and Florida's votes should be recognized
Related: Robert Gibbs says the Obama campaign is playing by the rules
--CNN's Emily Sherman
Compiled by Jonathan Helman
CNN Washington Bureau
WSJ: Obama Favored Over Clinton in Mississippi
Sen. Barack Obama is favored to win tomorrow's Mississippi primary, where more than one third of the state's electorate is African-American. The primary is also open to Republicans and independents, who have favored Sen. Obama but who polls show may favor Sen. Clinton in the state.
USA Today: Mississippi Relishes Chance To Play Part In Nomination
Mississippi gets a rare turn in the presidential campaign spotlight Tuesday, with a primary that — for Democrats anyway — has a national impact seldom seen in the Magnolia State.
NY Sun: Lawsuit Eyed by Sharpton Over Florida
Laying the groundwork for a court battle that could divide the Democratic Party, the Reverend Al Sharpton is threatening to sue the Democratic National Committee if it counts Florida's primary results in the official presidential delegates tally.
NY Times: McCain Uses Breathing Room to Focus on Coffers
Sewing up the Republican presidential nomination while the Democratic candidates continue to battle each other has given Senator John McCain a valuable commodity: time he can use to unite a fractured Republican Party, ramp up his lackluster fund-raising and transform his shoestring primary operation into a general election machine.
Compiled by Jonathan Helman, CNN Washington Bureau
*Hillary Clinton attends a rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
*John McCain holds media availabilities in Phoenix, Arizona and St. Louis, Missouri.
*Barack Obama holds a town hall meeting in Columbus, Mississippi and attends a rally in Jackson, Mississippi.