(CNN)— Hillary Clinton’s lead in Pennsylvania is beginning to narrow with less than three weeks to go before the state’s crucial April 22 primary. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley reports on the candidates push for union support.
John McCain’s on the receiving end of fresh criticism that he’s dividing the Republican Party. CNN’s Dana Bash reports on the presumptive Republican nominee’s response and who may be on his list of potential Vice Presidential candidates.
Wednesday on Capitol Hill, Fed Chief Ben Bernanke suggested more Americans may be at risk of losing their jobs. Alan Chernoff explains where the economy could be headed next.
Finally, the debate over whether to seat Michigan and Florida’s delegates continues. Today, after meeting with a group of Florida’s Democratic leaders, national party Chairman Howard Dean said he’s committed to seating Florida’s delegation at the August convention. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider has the latest details.
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–CNN’s Emily Sherman
(CNN) - It was an issue that caused a stir last fall, and one that former Bush strategist Karl Rove predicts may plague Barack Obama in the general election.
In a newly-published interview with GQ magazine, Rove says Obama's reluctance to wear a flag pin on his lapel may translate as elitism to many blue collar democrats.
"There are Democrats, particularly blue-collar Democrats, who defect to McCain because they see McCain as a patriotic figure and they see Obama as an elitist who's looking down his nose at 'em, which he is," Rove told the magazine.
"That comment where he said, you know, 'After 9/11, I didn't wear a flag lapel pin because true patriotism consists of speaking out on the issues, not wearing a flag lapel pin?’ Well, to a lot of ordinary people, putting that flag lapel pin on is true patriotism. It's a statement of their patriotic love of the country. And for him to sit there and dismiss it as he did…" Rove added.
The Obama campaign declined to comment on Rove's remarks.
In early October, an Iowa reporter asked Obama why he was not wearing a flag pin on his lapel, as many politicians do. The Illinois senator said he wore one shortly after 9/11, but later decided to show his patriotism in other ways.
"After a while, you start noticing people wearing the lapel pin but not acting very patriotic,” he said then. “My attitude is that I'm less concerned with what you're wearing on your lapel than what's in your heart. You show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those ones who serve."
His Democratic rivals at the time dismissed it as a non-issue, but the comments were posted on several conservative blogs, and sparked several anonymous e-mails that questioned Obama's patriotism.
John McCain's campaign struck back shortly after Clinton's team released a new ad that makes the case that Hillary Clinton is better-prepared than the Arizona senator to handle the nation's economy.
(The McCain campaign has increasingly sparred with Barack Obama, criticizing the Democratic presidential hopeful in daily press releases, and on the trail - but the statement issued Wednesday afternoon in response to the Clinton contrast ad does not mention the New York senator by name.)
“John McCain is ready to lead with a pro-growth economic plan to lower taxes, cut government spending, empower America's entrepreneurs and get our economy back on track. Americans can’t afford the Democrats' liberal agenda to raise taxes, nationalize health care, cut off trade and crush the economy under big government.” - McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As President Bush travels overseas this week, it is a reminder of an early trademark moment of his presidency, his 2001 embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy," Bush said after their initial summit in Slovenia. "We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country. And I appreciated so very much the frank dialogue."
Seven years later, Putin is viewed more critically across the West, for veering off the path of democratic reform, among other things. Bush, though, maintains it is a critical relationship. Crucial, but thorny: Bush has differences with Russia over plans for a U.S. missile defense program, and over putting former Soviet bloc countries Ukraine and Georgia on the path to membership in the NATO alliance.
And if there are tensions with Bush, Putin and his successor can almost certainly look forward to even tougher relations with the next U.S. president.
Bush's close ties to Putin have been criticized by all of the leading candidates. Republican John McCain, for example, regularly mocks Mr. Bush's claims of looking into Mr. Putin's eyes and getting a sense of his soul. McCain tells audiences when he looks into Mr. Putin's eyes he "sees three letters: KGB."
(CNN) – John McCain said Wednesday he's compiled his initial list of potential running mates.
The presumptive Republican nominee said on his campaign bus that the list has approximately 20 names on it, but said it will take "weeks if not months" to narrow the list down.
"It's the same process that has been used by Democrats and Republicans," the Arizona senator said. "It's not an unusual thing. You put the list together and then you just could do a cursory kind of a look that I guess you could do on Google."
McCain also said he hopes to name his running mate before the party's convention in September, as has been the practice in several recent presidential elections.
"I'd love to do it earlier in the run than later, but it depends on the process," he said. "We just really haven't gotten far enough along in the whole thing to really be able to even predict what we're doing, seriously."
In 2004, John Kerry announced his selection of John Edwards in early July - more than six weeks before the Democratic convention.
But McCain said he did not want to rush the process, hoping to avoid what he said were mistakes past nominees had made in choosing a vice presidential candidate. Specifically, McCain singled out the first President Bush's selection of then-Sen. Dan Quayle who had "not been briefed and prepared for some of the questions."
"I'm a great friend of Dan Quayle's and I think he was a fine senator," McCain also said. "I just think that it was you know, a lot of people in retrospect would have thought maybe the process should have been...I just think you have to have a measured process, make sure that you have taken every, all the factors into consideration and then decide."
– CNN's Dana Bash and Alexander Mooney contributed to this report
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) - A visibly annoyed Barack Obama gave a flat-out "no" Wednesday to a rather persistent man who approached the Illinois senator numerous times throughout morning asking to pose for a photograph with him.
The campaign claims the man was seeking to sell items on eBay, the online auction site.
"They wanted a picture to authenticate the signatures," said spokeswoman Jen Psaki. "They were first at the Senator's hotel and tried to get in front of third graders who were lined up to see Senator Obama."
In the e-mailed statement, Psaki continued, "After being disruptive the police moved them to the sidewalk. They then followed the motorcade to the second stop at the market and continued to push for a picture to authenticate whatever they could get signed."
(Full back-and-forth from the pool report after the jump)
Hillary Clinton's campaign has gone live in Pennsylvania with a new ad that features sleeping children, and a 3 a.m. crisis call - but this time, the spot takes aim at John McCain. The 30-second spot - "Ringing" - highlights Clinton's "readiness to be steward of the economy on Day One."
On a conference call with reporters, spokesman Howard Wolfson said that Clinton had not faced any economic crises before, but that she possessed "a rich and deep understanding of complex problems" that gave her the tools to deal with them.
(Full script after the jump)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Just under three weeks to go before the Pennsylvania primary, which seems like an eternity in the epic struggle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
History suggests that the more time Obama has to campaign somewhere, the better he does. A new poll seems to bear this out. The Quinnipiac University poll shows Clinton with a 9-point lead over Obama... 50% to 41%,that's down from a 12 point lead two weeks ago.
Also, Obama continues to rack up endorsements from some pretty key figures.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
(CNN) - The McCain campaign said Wednesday the Arizona senator's medical records will no longer be released by April 15. They now say the new timetable is "sometime in May."
UPDATE: The McCain campaign tells CNN the reason for the delay is because they want to gather all his doctors for a press conference to answer reporters' questions and May is the soonest that can be done.
– CNN Medical Unit and CNN’s Dana Bash