MILLERSVILLE, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Hillary Clinton has scheduled a last-minute campaign stop in Detroit for Wednesday morning, a move the campaign says will spotlight Michigan's efforts at a primary re-vote and keep the pressure on Barack Obama to consent to another election in the state.
The Wednesday morning event is billed as a routine "Solutions for America" campaign rally, but Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said the trip is intended to put the focus squarely on Obama, who has resisted agreeing to re-votes in Florida and Michigan.
"The ball is in Obama's court," Elleithee said. "Senator Obama is in the way, so she's going to go to Michigan to press the case personally." In a conference call held earlier in the day, Clinton aide Phil Singer also said the ball was in Obama's court.
"Why doesn't he go ahead and say, 'Let's do this'?" said Singer.
A draft proposal currently under consideration in Michigan calls for a new Democratic primary to be held on June 3, to be paid for with private money. That plan would have to be approved by the state legislature. The state Senate Majority Leader, a Republican, has said he will not give his support to any plan that does not have the consent of all the parties involved, including both presidential campaigns.
The Obama campaign on Tuesday again accused the Clinton campaign of attempting to change the rules late in the electoral game to garner delegates, saying it continued to harbor "valid concerns about the proposal" to hold another primary in June.
"We have raised these concerns, as legislators in Michigan did today, and we're waiting to see if these issues can be resolved by the legislature," Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.
– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby
(CNN) - Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha announced Tuesday he's backing Hillary Clinton's White House bid.
In a statement, Murtha said Clinton is "the candidate that will forge a consensus on health care, education, the economy, and the war in Iraq.
"I've known Senator Clinton for fifteen years," he said. "I know that she continually reaches out for opinions and ideas not just from our nation's leaders, but from all Americans."
Murtha’s announcement comes several weeks before the critical Pennsylvania Democratic presidential primary. He is also the latest so-called Democratic “Super Delegate” to choose sides in the contest between Clinton and Barack Obama. According to CNN's latest estimate, Clinton leads Obama among super delegates by 30, though that margin is significantly less than it was before Super Tuesday.
(CNN) - While all three presidential candidates are locked in a dead heat in potential matchups, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll suggests voters see major differences in each of their personal qualities.
When it comes to bringing about change, a majority of Americans - 56 percent - say Sen. Barack Obama will be able to achieve that task; 49 percent say the same for Sen. Hillary Clinton; and 39 percent say that for Sen. John McCain.
Survey respondents also ranked the Illinois senator highest - 65 percent - when asked who would work with both parties to get things done, compared with 56 percent who say McCain would and 52 percent who say Clinton would.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN) – As some Americans recover from hangovers induced by St. Patrick’s Day, a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll released Tuesday suggests a voter’s drinking preferences may also reveal their political preferences.
Beer drinkers appear more likely to vote for Sen. John McCain in November, while those who enjoy wine say they’re more likely to vote Democratic in the fall. Among registered voters who prefer beer to wine, McCain has a 53 percent-46 percent edge over Sen. Hillary Clinton while McCain winds up in a virtual tie with Sen. Barack Obama among beer drinkers. In the head-to-head match-ups with McCain, Sens. Obama and Clinton each win a majority among registered voters who prefer wine to beer.
Overall, 28 percent of all Americans say they prefer beer to wine and 31 percent say they would rather have a glass of wine than a bottle of brew. (The rest claim that they never drink under any circumstances.)
The apparent political differences are really matters of gender and class – men are big beer drinkers while women prefer wine over beer, as do higher-income Americans and college graduates.
The poll of 950 registered voters was conducted by telephone on March 14-16 and has a sampling error of plus or minus 6.5 percentage points.
– CNN’s Keating Holland and Martina Stewart
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Over 11,000 pages of Hillary Clinton's schedule as first lady are set to be released to the public on Wednesday, the National Archives announced.
The documents are among those the Obama campaign has long said need to be made public in order to fully evaluate the New York senator's experience and tenure while First Lady.
In a statement Tuesday, the Archives said the documents are from the files of Patti Solis Doyle, the director of Clinton's scheduling while she was first lady, and later the manager of her presidential campaign. Doyle stepped down from managing the campaign earlier this year after a string of poor showings in primary contests.
“Arranged chronologically, these records document in detail the activities of the First Lady, including meetings, trips, speaking engagements and social activities for the eight years of the Clinton Administration,” the statement said.
The documents are among those that were the center of a legal battle between the Archives and Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest group that has long urged a speedier release of files from the Clinton White House years.
In a court motion earlier this month, the Archives promised to release the schedules by the end of the month, but said it will need "one to two years" to process remaining documents, including over 20,000 pages of call logs - an indication those documents won't be released by the November 4 presidential election.
According to the Archives statement, 4,746 of the schedules have redactions, information removed before being released, that largely relate to privacy concerns and include "social security numbers, telephone numbers, and home addresses."
The documents will be available for view on the Clinton Library's Web site.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN) - Barack Obama had to walk a very fine line. He had to reassure the American public that he was strongly condemning the harsh words of his long-time minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. At the same time, he had to reassure many of his African-American supporters that he wasn’t simply ready to abandon Wright. It was not an easy assignment.
Obama said that Wright “expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America.”
He also said this of his minister: “As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children.”
Obama had no choice. He had to deliver this speech as much as he has wanted to avoid the entire subject. The brief clips of Wright’s angry remarks about the United States could not be ignored. Even some of Obama’s most ardent and passionate supporters going back to the start of his campaign were deeply worried. They feared that those clips (and, potentially, many more that have not yet aired) could derail his presidential ambition unless Obama addressed the subject head-on. He needed to take pre-emptive action. He did.
Now, we wait for the reaction and the fallout.
– Wolf Blitzer
The Politico reports that Obama's chief strategist David Axelrod calls Clinton "the ultimate Washington inside player" who keeps trying to change the rules:
"When they started off, it was all about delegates. Now that we have more delegates, it's all about the popular vote. And if that does not work out, they will probably challenge us to a game of cribbage to choose the nominee."
Another senior aide thinks Clinton is willing to destroy the party as long as she gets the nomination.
Clinton's campaign called these comments "unhelpful." Communications director Harold Wolfson says he doesn't think either side would destroy the party, that the primary process isn't over yet and we should "let democracy run its course."
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Quinnipiac poll out Tuesday suggests Hillary Clinton holds a clear advantage over Barack Obama in Pennsylvania, the next crucial battleground in the prolonged fight for the Democratic nomination.
Clinton holds a 12-point lead over Obama in the state, 53 percent to 41 percent, according to the poll. The New York senator's lead is double what a similar poll showed in late February, though it is still less than the 18-point gap between the two candidates in a month ago.
Clinton's widest gains in the state are among white voters, who now back her over Obama by a margin of 28 points. That compares to a 19-point gap in the late February poll.
Obama has made gains among Pennsylvania African-Americans, but hasn't drawn the same level of support from them as he has in previous contests. According to the poll, Obama wins 76 percent of the black vote, up from 69 percent in late February. In most recent primary states, Obama's African-American support has hovered around 90 percent. The narrower margin may be due to Clinton's endorsement from Philadelphia's popular black mayor Michael Nutter.
When it comes to the prospect of a joint ticket between the two candidates, 32 percent of Pennsylvania Democrats say they prefer Clinton on the top of the ticket while 18 percent prefer Obama. But 43 percent say they don't want the two to run together.
The new poll is similar to other recent surveys. In a CNN analysis of three recent polls, including Quinnipiac's, Clinton holds an average lead of 13 points over Obama.
Both campaigns have attempted to set the expectations ahead of Pennsylvania's vote. Obama's campaign has repeatedly noted the state is only 1 of 10 remaining contests, while Clinton's campaign has said a win there will prove the New York senator can win crucial swing states in a general election.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN)— Senator John McCain warned Tuesday Iran’s increasing influence in the Middle East is hindering progress in Iraq.
Closing a week-long congressional delegation to the region that included a time in Iraq, McCain expressed concern over a large cache of explosives found in Iraq and alluded that they may have been sent from Iran.
During a press conference in Amman, Jordan, the Arizona senator also said there is a continued concern that Iran may be training Iraqi extremists in Iran and then sending them back into Iraq.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee also said he was concerned about Iran developing nuclear weapons and said he planned to work closely with European allies to set in place a strict set of sanctions “that would be harmful and compelling" to Iran's trade, diplomatic, and financial institutions if he was elected president.
"There'd be a broad range of sanctions and punishments to the Iranians to help try to convince them that their activities – particularly development of nuclear weapons – is not a beneficial goal to seek," he said.
McCain said he was encouraged by the progress he saw in Iraq as well as his meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan.
"We realize that there are enormous challenges in the form of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and also continued efforts to win the struggle in Iraq, which we are succeeding but we still have a long way to go," he said.
Despite having a fundraiser planned in London this Thursday, McCain stressed the trip, his eighth to Iraq was not political. McCain is the ranking Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He was joined on his trip by two fellow committee members, Sens. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
–CNN's Emily Sherman
Watch portions of Obama's speech Monday. (Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama said Tuesday he chose to run for president because he believes "we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together."
Speaking to supporters at Philadelphia's National Constitution Center, the Democratic presidential candidate said he rejected racially charged comments made by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, but explained the root of his remarks.
Wright used to preach at the Trinity United Church of Christ, where Obama worships.
Obama said that his belief that all people want to move in the same direction comes from his "unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story."