CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby looks on as Sen. Clinton talks to reporters aboard her plane Sunday morning. (Photo Credit: AP)
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton on Saturday rejected calls by supporters of rival candidate Barack Obama to quit the Democratic presidential race, and Obama said Clinton should remain in race "as long as she wants."
"The more people get a chance to vote, the better it is for our democracy," the New York senator and former first lady told supporters at a rally in Indiana, which holds a May 6 primary.
"There are some folks saying we ought to stop these elections," she said.
"I didn't think we believed that in America. I thought we of all people knew how important it was to give everyone a chance to have their voices heard and their votes counted."
Clinton has won primaries in the biggest states so far, but Obama has won more total contests and leads her in the race for delegates to the party's August convention in Denver - where the Democratic nominee will be formally ratified.
Two of Obama's leading supporters, Sens. Christopher Dodd and Patrick Leahy, said Friday that Clinton should rethink her chances of overcoming that deficit and consider folding her campaign.
JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Sen. Hillary Clinton should remain in the Democratic presidential race "as long as she wants," rival candidate Barack Obama said Saturday despite two of his high profile supporters urging the former first lady to give up.
"She is a fierce and formidable competitor, and she obviously believes that she would make the best nominee and the best president," the Illinois senator told reporters while campaigning in Pennsylvania. "I think that she should be able to compete, and her supporters should be able to support her for as long as they are willing or able."
Pennsylvania is the scene of the next Democratic primary, on April 22, and the largest state that hasn't yet weighed in on the party's presidential race. Clinton, of New York, has won primaries in the biggest states so far, but Obama has won more total contests and leads Clinton in race for delegates to the party's August convention in Denver - where the nominee will be formally ratified.
Two of Obama's leading supporters, Sens. Christopher Dodd and Patrick Leahy, said Friday that Clinton should rethink her chances of overcoming that deficit and consider folding her campaign. Leahy, D-Vermont, said Clinton "has every right, but not a very good reason, to remain a candidate for as long as she wants to."
In Indiana Saturday, Sen. Clinton continued to resist recent suggestions that she end her presidential bid. (Photo credit: AP)
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (CNN) - Hillary Clinton began her Saturday in Indiana by continuing to push back against calls for her to exit the presidential race, telling an audience in Indianapolis that “it is better for our democracy” to keep the nomination contest moving forward.
“There are some folks saying we ought to stop these elections,” she said amidst boos, repeating a line she introduced yesterday after Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy urged Clinton to step aside.
“I don’t think we believe that in America,” she said. “I thought we of all people knew how important it was to give everyone a chance to have their voices heard and their votes counted, and we’re going to give Indiana that chance on May 6. The more people that have a chance to vote, the better it is for our democracy.”
Clinton also included a line about counting the results from two disputed primaries, telling the crowd at Ben Davis High School that “we’re also going to have to come to terms with how to count the votes of your neighbors in Michigan and the people in Florida."
In the city of Hammond, Indiana on Friday afternoon, Clinton argued that the long Democratic nomination battle is a boon for her party and will only serve to strengthen the eventual nominee.
“We will have a united party behind whomever that nominee is,” she told reporters in Hammond. “I certainly will do everything I can to make sure that we win in November.”
– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby
WASHINGTON (CNN) - On the sidelines during presidential campaign season for the first time this decade, former presidential adviser Karl Rove couldn't resist taking shots at Democratic frontrunner Sen. Barack Obama.
Rove focused his firepower on the Illinois senator at a speech to the Young America's Foundation in Washington, D.C. Friday night, barely mentioning his Democratic rival, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.
President Bush's former chief strategist, who left the White House in 2007, pegged Obama as a do-nothing senator who talked big and achieved little. "What bills has he sponsored?" Rove asked.
The fact that some Democrats are still hoping that former Vice President Al Gore will bring the party together, said Rove, is a signal that the party is in disarray. "You know you got a problem if the answer is Al Gore," Rove said to laughter.
Rove expressed cautious optimism that a conservative would be in the White House come next January, telling the crowd "there's a long time until November."
–CNN's Jeff Simon and Jillian Harding
(CNN) – Ralph Nader, who recently announced his own 2008 presidential bid, has now also weighed in on the battle between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
In a blog posting on his campaign’s website, Nader advised Clinton to stay in the Democratic nomination race, despite recent calls for her to drop out from high-ranking members of the Democratic Party who back Obama.
“Just like every other citizen, you have the right to run. Whenever you like. For as long as you like,” wrote Nader.
Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, both of whom support Obama, made comments Friday that are some of the strongest yet from prominent Democrats suggesting that Clinton reconsider her presidential run.
Clinton has showed no signs of dropping out of the race. She currently leads polls in Pennsylvania, the next state to hold a primary. But, Obama was endorsed Friday by Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. and the endorsement may help Obama with Catholic voters, an important demographic in Pennsylvania which has favored Clinton in other states’ primaries.
–CNN’s Rebecca Sinderbrand and Martina Stewart
(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.
Click here to subscribe to CNN=Politics Daily.
–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.
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.