(CNN) - It's a topic that would likely make for awkward conversation at a Clinton family dinner: Who would be the better president, Bill or Hillary?
But daughter Chelsea Clinton made her position on the matter clear Friday, saying unequivocally that she thinks her mom will make a better president than her dad.
"I don't take anything for granted, but hopefully with Pennsylvania's help, she will be our next president, and yes, I do think she'll be a better president," the former first daughter said during a campaign event in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
She did not elaborate on just why she thinks her mom would be the better commander-in-chief, but the former president himself made similar statements to an Israeli TV interviewer last November.
Bill Clinton said then he thought his wife would make the better president because she is more experienced than he was in 1992.
"In some ways she would be (better) because of what we did together," he said then. "First, she has the Senate experience I didn't have. Second, she would have had the eight years in the White House."
"I think she wouldn't make as many mistakes because, you know, we're older and more mature, and she is far more experienced now in all the relevant ways than I was when I took office," he added. "So I think in a way she has the best of both worlds."
No word on where Hillary herself comes down on the issue.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN) - As bickering has increased in the Democratic nomination race, Sen. Hillary Clinton faces pressure to drop out and Sen. Barack Obama is working hard to best Clinton in Pennsylvania's upcoming primary.
In the lastest episode of CNN=Politics Daily, Jessica Yellin reports on how Clinton has responded to pressure from high-ranking Obama supporters in the Democratic Party who would like Clinton to end her presidential bid.
Despite Obama's overall lead in the delegate count and in pledged delegates awarded so far, the Illinois senator faces an uphill battle in Pennsylvania. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider reports on a key endorsement Obama received Friday in Pennsylvania. Schneider explains how the endorsement may help Obama with a demographic he must win over in order to win the next primary.
Obama's front-runner status has brought new scrutiny and a new label – 'liberal.' Randi Kaye reports on Obama's legislative record and on claims that he leans to the left on the political spectrum.
While Obama and Clinton continue to battle it out for their party's nod, Sen. John McCain is seeking to define himself in the eyes of the electorate. Mary Snow reports on McCain's new ad campaign and a multi-state bus tour the Arizona senator will take next week in an effort to style himself as the most attractive option for voters in November.
Finally, it's Friday so it's time for Jennifer Mikell's Trail Mix - a look at this week's most memorable moments in the presidential campaign.
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–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
(CNN) – The Republican National Committee called on both Democratic presidential candidates Friday to denounce recent comments from Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean who called John McCain a 'blatant opportunist.'
Dean made the comment earlier in the day in a statement issued by the DNC on McCain's new television ad that features footage of the Arizona Republican as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
"While we honor McCain’s military service, the fact is Americans want a real leader who offers real solutions, not a blatant opportunist who doesn’t understand the economy and is promising to keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years," Dean said.
RNC Deputy Chairman Frank Donatelli called the comment a "character smear," and said they are the "latest in what has become a troubling pattern where the chairman of the national party has questioned Senator McCain’s character and integrity."
"Howard Dean owes John McCain an immediate apology and both Senators Clinton and Obama should unequivocally denounce this disgraceful attack," Donatelli added.
Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama are battling for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Responding to Donatelli's comments, DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney said the RNC is "cherry picking the facts."
"Clearly the RNC recognizes that the biggest threat to John McCain, as we heard loud and clear from voters in our recent focus groups, is the damage he inflicted on his 'independent' image and reputation for 'straight talk' by shifting his positions to make them more acceptable to the right wing of the Republican Party," she said.
"The truth is that most Americans would likely agree that while we honor Senator McCain's service, America cannot afford another Bush Republican who doesn't understand the economy and who wants to keep our troops in Iraq for up to 100 years," she added.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A pair of high-profile backers of Sen. Barack Obama
have called on his rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, to drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, issued the most unvarnished statement Friday, saying Clinton "has every right, but not a very good reason, to remain a candidate for as long as she wants to."
Sen. Chris Dodd, who sought the Democratic nomination for president himself but threw his support behind Obama after dropping out of the race in January, expressed a similar sentiment Thursday.
"I mean, if a person wants to stay in the race, stay in the race," he told the National Journal, a Washington magazine. "But if you have enough people rallying behind what appears to be the likely choice, and I believe the choice is Barack Obama, ... then I think you have to step up to the plate and say, enough is enough. We want this to be over with."
Larry J. Sabato, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia, said the Obama campaign was probably behind the remarks.
"Those things don't just happen," he said. "They must have gotten some encouragement from the Obama hierarchy. Senators like Leahy and Dodd can occasionally pop off, but not in a situation like this."
The Obama campaign denied responsibility for the Dodd and Leahy comments. Obama has said it is not for others to say when a candidate should get out of the race.
(CNN) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she won't let the increasingly heated Democratic presidential race harm the party's congressional candidates, in a fundraising appeal sent Friday to Democratic donor’s just days after several Hillary Clinton fundraisers demanded the California Democrat publicly change her position that the party's superdelegates support the pledged delegate leader.
"Here's what you and I can't let happen," Pelosi wrote in email to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee supporters. "We can't allow the tension and pressures of a spirited presidential contest to spill over and harm hard-working Democratic candidates running to strengthen our Democratic majority in the House.
“I will do whatever it takes to protect our candidates and make sure their campaigns to drive change forward don't skip a beat. I need you to do the same.”
Two days earlier, 20 Clinton backers strongly criticized Pelosi for saying the Democratic superdelegates would harm the party if they overturned the pledged-delegate results. That stance benefits Barack Obama, whose current pledged delegate lead of 171 is virtually insurmountable given the Democratic Party's proportional delegation allocations, even if Clinton were to win each of the remaining 10 primary contests.
In their letter, the Clinton donors directly reminded Pelosi they have been strong supporters of the DCCC in the past - a statement many perceived as a veiled threat that they may cut off their support.
"We have been strong supporters of the DCCC. We therefore urge you to clarify your position on super-delegates and reflect in your comments a more open view to the
optional independent actions of each of the delegates at the National Convention in August," the supporters stated in the letter.
In a statement Friday afternoon, DCCC spokeswoman Jennifer Crider said Pelosi is "always a part of the DCCC’s end of quarter fundraising program and, like previous her e-mails, has called for Party unity to elect a Democratic President and to strengthen our majority Congress.”
But CNN Political Editor Mark Preston noted that the timing and content of the email was not coincidental.
“Speaker Pelosi was clearly sending a message that she would not be strong armed by anyone and will not allow this presidential contest to jeopardize House Democrats in November,” he said.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) - What key constituency group are the presidential candidates fighting over? Soccer moms? NASCAR dads? Perhaps, but if television ad spending habits are any indication, the keys to the White House may be held by Pat Sajak and Vanna White.
Over the course of the campaign, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain together have spent over $2 million to air televised campaign ads on “Wheel of Fortune,” the long-running syndicated game show hosted by Sajak and White. This is more than the three have spent on any other individual television program, according to data from TNS Media Intelligence/Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), CNN’s consultant on political ad spending.
Obama has spent the most on “Wheel,” with over $1 million spent so far, followed by Clinton with $815,000 and McCain with $168,000.
“’Wheel of Fortune’ is a great way to talk to typical American voters in an efficient way,” says Evan Tracey, CMAG’s chief operating officer. “It’s a program that typically follows the news and leads into prime-time, so it’s inexpensive but also efficient.”
Running a close second to “Wheel” is “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Obama, who received Winfrey’s endorsement last year, has bought an estimated $974,000 in ads on the Chicago-based talk show, compared to $596,000 for Clinton and $185,000 for McCain.
(CNN) – When it comes to a government hotline number for homeowners seeking mortgage relief, President Bush just can't get the digits right.
After a housing roundtable in New Jersey, Bush twice gave out the wrong number in a public statement, saying the relief line was 1-88-995-HOPE – leaving off the third 8 in the area code of the correct number: 1-888-995-HOPE.
At the end of his statement, the president was quietly informed of his mistake and issued a correction.
Bush had trouble with the same number in December when it was first unveiled. Then the president incorrectly said the number was 1-800-995-HOPE.
Anyone who dialed 1-800-995-HOPE did not reach the mortgage hotline, but instead contacted the Freedom Christian Academy — a Texas-based group that provides Christian education home schooling material.
Some Democrats see the neutral Gore as a potential powerbroker. (Getty Images)
(CNN) – He's increasingly mentioned as a potential Democratic powerbroker, but former Vice President Al Gore said Thursday he still expects his party's heated White House race will resolve itself.
"What have we got, five months left?" Gore told the Associated Press after delivering a speech at Middle Tennessee State University.
"I think it's going to resolve itself, but we'll see," he added.
The former vice president did not say whether he expected the race will be resolved before the party's convention in late August.
His comments come as Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said in several interviews that he hopes the party's approximately 350 undecided superedelegates make their decision by July 1 — less than a month after the final primary contests in Montana and South Dakota.
As the Democratic race drags on, Gore's name has been invoked as a neutral Democratic party elder who could forge a compromise between the two candidates, or even appear on the top of the presidential ticket himself.
Earlier this week, Democratic Rep. Tim Mahoney of Florida suggested Gore, the party’s 2000 presidential nominee, could assume the role of a compromise candidate if neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama could broker a deal.
"If it goes into the convention, don’t be surprised if someone different is at the top of the ticket,” he told a Florida newspaper, adding Gore could be that choice.
TIME.com: Is Al Gore the answer?
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
While the Democrats sweat it out over how voters perceive race and gender in this election, maybe it's time for the Republicans to take a look at how Americans feel about electing a 71-year-old man.
If John McCain wins, he will be the oldest person ever to serve a first term as president. And a new survey out suggests that the public might have more doubts about voting for someone of McCain's age for president than they would for an African-American or a woman.
The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows 72% of those surveyed say voters are ready to elect a qualified black candidate, 18% say they're not. Meanwhile, 71% say Americans are ready to vote for a woman, 20% say they're not. But only 61% say the voters are prepared to vote for a person over 70, while 29% say they're not. Not exactly encouraging numbers for McCain and the Republicans.
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HAMMOND, Indiana (CNN) - Barack Obama will put his well-reputed basketball skills on the line in an effort to register young voters in this hoops-obsessed primary state, his campaign announced Friday.
Obama's staff is hoping the chance to play a game of 3-on-3 pick-up with the presidential candidate will entice Indiana high school students to register their friends to vote in the state's May 6 contest. Every student that signs up at least 20 new voters before Indiana's April 7 registration deadline will be eligible to be picked to play against Obama in a game the campaign is calling "The 3-on-3 Challenge for Change."
Students who will be 18 by Election Day this November are eligible to vote in the state's primary.
One winning student will be selected for the game, and he or she will then pick two friends to take on Obama's team at their own high school. Obama's squad will include at least one college student who also signs up new voters, but the campaign has yet to determine who will be the third member.
The Illinois senator played basketball in high school, when he was a member of Punahou High School’s 1979 Hawaii state championship team, and he continues to work court time into his campaign schedule.
Obama was described as "fiercely competitive" on the court in an examination of his hoops prowess last year by the New York Times. A more recent Sports Illustrated story written about Obama's game before the Iowa caucuses heaped praise on the senator's easy jump shot.
The contest was announced Friday by former NBA player Calbert Cheaney, the Evansville native who was named the state's Mr. Basketball in 1989 before going on to play for Bob Knight at Indiana University, where he became the Big Ten's all-time leading scorer.
– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby