(CNN) — For the second time in three days, Hillary Clinton has told reporters that the "pledged" delegates awarded based on vote totals in their state are not bound to abide by election results - an idea that has been floated by her or a campaign surrogate several times this month.
“…As you know so well, Mark, every delegate with very few exceptions is free to make up his or her mind however they choose,” she told Time’s Mark Halperin in an interview published Wednesday. “We talk a lot about so-called pledged delegates, but every delegate is expected to exercise independent judgment.”
The remarks echoed her Monday comments to the editorial board of the Philadelphia Daily News. "And also remember that pledged delegates in most states are not pledged,” she said Monday. “You know there is no requirement that anybody vote for anybody. They're just like superdelegates."
Clinton also made similar comments in a Newsweek interview published two weeks ago.
Earlier this month, Clinton adviser Harold Ickes first raised the prospect that pledged delegates were not legally bound to vote as election results indicate – an idea that has drawn sharp criticism from supporters of rival Barack Obama. "Despite repeated denials, the Clinton campaign has again admitted that they will go to any length to win," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said again Wednesday.
The Clinton campaign has 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 – but on a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Ickes defended Clinton’s Monday remarks and repeated his view that pledged delegates were free to switch their allegiance at any time.
“I think what Mrs. Clinton was trying to make clear was that no delegate is required by party rules to vote for the candidate for which they're pledged,” said Ickes. “I mean obviously circumstances can change, and people's minds can change about the viability of a particular candidate and that's permitted now under our rules ever since the 1980 convention.”
He added that although the rules permitted them to campaign pledged delegates to switch sides, they had not engaged in such an effort.
Barack Obama leads Clinton among all Democratic delegates, 1,622 to 1,485, in the latest CNN count. Among pledged delegates, Obama leads Clinton 1,413 to 1,242.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) - Perhaps, now the candidates will play nice.
For all their insistence on how unlike they are from one another, the three U.S. presidential candidates share some noteworthy family connections, the New England Historic Genealogical Society has found.
Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, who has made his opposition to the Iraq war a linchpin of his campaign, is distantly related not only to U.S. President George W. Bush but also to another wartime leader - former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Because of his shared ancestry with President Bush, Obama is also indirectly related to his rival on the Republican side, Sen. John McCain.
McCain, it turns out, is a sixth cousin of First Lady Laura Bush.
Meanwhile, Sen. Hillary Clinton, is related to beatnik author Jack Kerouac, Canadian Prime Minster Pierre Trudeau and Camilla Parker-Bowles, wife of Prince Charles of England.
Clinton also shares ancestors with Grammy Award-winning singers Celine Dion and Madonna.
The senator won a Best Spoken Word Grammy for the audio version of her book, "It Takes a Village." Rival Obama also snagged one in the same category for his book "The Audacity of Hope."
McCain sees an opening as his Democratic rivals continue to fight it out. (Getty Images)
Chula Vista, CALIFORNIA (CNN) - While the Democratic presidential candidates are duking it out on the campaign trail, Sen. John McCain is trying to fill up his campaign coffers. But some supporters fear he's not making the most of his time.
Just back from his eighth trip to Iraq, McCain returned to the campaign trail Monday in Chula Vista,California, with last week's words from Osama bin Laden in hand.
"He urged Palestinians and people of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to - quote - 'help and support the mujahadeen brothers in Iraq, which is greatest opportunity and the biggest task,' " McCain said.
It's proof, he argued, that Democrats are dead wrong about the war in Iraq.
– CNN's Dana Bash
(CNN) - Chelsea Clinton has fielded a lot of questions as she campaigns for her mother's presidential bid, but on Tuesday the former first daughter faced a particularly awkward query for the first time.
Campaigning at Butler University in Indianapolis, an audience member asked the 28 year-old whether the Monica Lewinsky scandal had damaged her mother's reputation.
"Wow, you're the first person actually that's ever asked me that question in the, I don't know maybe, 70 college campuses I've now been to, and I do not think that is any of your business," Clinton responded, appearing a bit surprised by the question. The crowd immediately cheered loudly at the response.
It was supposed to be the last question of the event, but Chelsea Clinton decided to take one more, saying, "I don't think that should be the last question."
Though she has faced the glare of public life since she was a girl, Chelsea Clinton has contended with renewed press coverage after taking on a more prominent role in her mother's campaign earlier this year.
The Monica Lewinsky scandal made a brief return to the news last week, when newly-released White House schedules indicated Hillary Clinton was likely in the White House during at least 6 reported instances of encounters between her husband and the former White House intern.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Compiled by Jonathan Helman
CNN Washington Bureau
NY Times: McCain Warns Against Hasty Mortgage Bailout
Drawing a sharp distinction between himself and the two Democratic presidential candidates, Senator John McCain of Arizona warned Tuesday against vigorous government action to solve the deepening mortgage crisis and the market turmoil it has caused, saying that “it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers.”
LA Times: Presidential Hopefuls Are Mum On Medicare And Social Security Woes
With the presidential campaign going full tilt, a new government report on a big national problem is usually followed by volleys of rhetoric from the candidates. But on Tuesday, when the annual report on the precarious state of Medicare and Social Security came out, the reaction was not exactly deafening.
Boston Globe: McCain's Stand On Tobacco Is Put To Test
Sen. John McCain's longtime effort to crack down on tobacco is being put to a new test. Within weeks, the Senate is expected to vote on legislation to allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco. McCain agreed months ago to cosponsor the current bill with Senator Edward M. Kennedy, but McCain's policy adviser said the senator won't commit to voting for it until he sees the final legislation.
Washington Post: In Obama's New Message, Some Foes See Old Liberalism
As Sen. Barack Obama heads into the final presidential primaries, Sen. John McCain and other Republicans have already started to brand him a standard-order left-winger, "a down-the-line liberal," as McCain strategist Charles R. Black Jr. put it, in a long line of Democratic White House hopefuls.
Compiled by Jonathan Helman, CNN Washington Bureau
*Hillary Clinton attends a “March to Victory” event with her daughter, Chelsea, in Washington, D.C.
*John McCain gives a speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council in Los Angeles, California.
*Barack Obama attends a town hall meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina.
(CNN) – Facing a media firestorm Tuesday, Hillary Clinton tried to shift the glare of the spotlight back to rival Barack Obama, offering up public criticism of the Illinois senator's relationship with his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for the first time - a week after Obama addressed the controversy in a major Philadelphia speech.
Will it be enough to push her headline-grabbing misstep over the details of her long-ago Bosnia trip off the front page? In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN's Dan Lothian reports on the latest from Pennsylvania.
After his marathon overseas tour, John McCain is turning to domestic concerns this week, as he continues his fundraising blitz in California and gives his vision for the economy. Dana Bash explains what McCain's package entails and discusses the latest major endorsement he is set to receive Tuesday night.
Plus, Barack Obama's campaign released his tax returns Tuesday and contined their pressure on Clinton to do the same, Suzanne Malveaux reports.
Finally, the state of Pennsylvania is seeing record numbers for voter registration ahead of its April 22 primary. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider gives his Pennsylvania preview.
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–CNN's Emily Sherman