INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (CNN) - Barack Obama told reporters Friday that had top Clinton strategist Mark Penn been on his staff, he would have removed him for having met with the Colombian government to discuss passing a proposed free trade agreement with the nation.
"Let me put it this way," the Illinois senator said. "I'm not surprised that Sen. Clinton found herself in an uncomfortable position as a consequence, and I know that if staff of mine were putting me in that kind of position I would get rid of them."
On the campaign trail Clinton has emphasized her opposition to any trade deal with Colombia.
Obama also added, "I think it was surprising to me that a high ranking, if not the highest ranking, member of Sen. Clinton's team would be engaged in business activities and lobbying that was directly contrary to a position that Sen. Clinton had taken."
CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) - President Bush will release his tax return Friday, a spokesman said.
(CNN) - Bill Clinton strongly defended his wife Thursday over the recent coverage surrounding her 1996 Bosnia trip claims, saying the media acted as if she'd "robbed a bank."
"I got tickled the other day, a lot of the way this whole campaign has been covered has amused me, but there was a lot of fulminating because Hillary, one time late at night when she was exhausted, misstated and immediately apologized for it, what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995. Did y'all see all that? Oh, they blew it up," the former president said at a campaign event in Boonville, Indiana Thursday afternoon.
"You would have thought, you know, that she'd robbed a bank the way they carried on about this," he added. "And some of them when they're 60 they'll forget something when they're tired at 11 at night, too."
Controversy surrounded Clinton after video footage showed she did not land "under sniper fire" during her 1996 trip to Bosnia, despite making that claim on several occasions - most recently during a mid-morning address on March 17. Clinton later said she "misspoke" about the trip, and attributed the exaggerations to exhaustion.
"I have been in the public eye for many, many years, and this is something that I think happens to anybody," Clinton also said if the exaggeration which served to raise questions anew about her candor.
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) – On the face of things, with its sizeable African-American population, Philadelphia looks to be friendly territory for Barack Obama by the time the Pennsylvania primary rolls around on April 22.
But Hillary Clinton is making a push Friday for the urban vote, holding two policy-oriented events in the city to spotlight the twin issues of crime and the economy.
Appearing at a YMCA in west Philadelphia this morning with Mayor Michael Nutter, who yesterday signed into law a series of controversial anti-gun measures, Clinton unveiled a plan to cut the national murder rate in half.
Introducing Clinton, Nutter urged the federal government to provide more assistance to mayors around the country working to put ex-offenders back to work and protect families from violent crime
“Here in west Philadelphia, we’re worried more about Al Gangsta than al Qaeda,” Nutter joked. “Osama bin laden and some of those other folks couldn’t last five minutes in west Philadelphia.”
At a press conference in Indianapolis, Barack Obama said that when it comes taking action against excessive CEO compensation, John McCain is all talk.
The McCain campaign quickly responded, calling the comments a "cheap political attack."
(full exchange after the jump)
Watch Clinton laugh off a question on Colombia.
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Hillary Clinton used her trademark laugh Thursday to deflect a question about the $800,000 her husband earned in 2005 giving speeches for a Bogota-based group that supports the Colombia free trade agreement - the same trade deal she currently opposes.
Asked by CNN if those earnings represented a conflict of interest given that she has dipped into her family's pocketbook to pay campaign bills, Clinton threw up her hands and laughed loudly for several seconds.
"How many angels dance on the head of the pin?," she responded, continuing to giggle. "I have really, uh, nothing to ... I mean, how do you answer that?"
The New York senator explained there are different sides to the argument over trade, and re-emphasized her own opposition to the trade deal, assailing the Colombian government's "outrageous" record of "targeting labor leaders."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senator John McCain's presidential campaign and congressional Republicans are stepping up their efforts to coordinate campaign strategy and political messaging.
McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis and senior policy advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin are scheduled to meet Friday morning on Capitol Hill with the chiefs of staff for all Republican House members, according to several GOP congressional aides.
"This is the campaign generally starting to take on the mantle of the leadership. McCain now becomes the standard bearer of the Republican message," Sean Noble, campaign spokesman for Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., one of McCain's early Hill supporters, told CNN.
(CNN) - Barack Obama's once double-digit lead over John McCain in a hypothetical match-up has evaporated, according to a just released Associated Press poll.
Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are now statistically tied with McCain, suggesting the Arizona senator may be benefiting from the drawn out Democratic primary race.
In the latest survey, Clinton holds a 48-45 percent lead over McCain while Obama and McCain are even at 45 percent. Factoring the poll's 3 point margin of error, both Democrats are even with the presumptive Republican nominee.
But in an AP poll conducted last February, Obama held a 51-41 percent advantage to McCain. Clinton's lead over McCain was also outside the margin of error, 48-43 percent.
A key reason for McCain's rise is the apparent divisions between supporters of Obama and Clinton. Close to a quarter of Obama supporters reported they will back McCain if the Illinois senator fails to get the nomination, while a third of Clinton backers said they'd vote Republican if Obama is the Democratic nominee.
Compiled by Jonathan Helman
CNN Washington Bureau
LA Times: Barack Obama May Lose Support In Philadelphia Over 'Street Money'
Fourteen months into a campaign that has the feel of a movement, Sen. Barack Obama has collided with the gritty political traditions of Philadelphia, where ward bosses love their candidates, but also expect them to pay up.
Washington Post: McCain Revises Proposals for Families in Economic Crisis
Two weeks after drawing criticism for saying he favored only a limited federal role to help deal with the home mortgage crisis, Republican presidential candidate John McCain sought to assure Americans that he is prepared to use the government where necessary to help ease the impact on working families of a declining economy.
Philadelphia Inquirer: PA. Race May Be A Tale Of Two Cities
Steelers or Eagles? Pro-football loyalties are not the only differences that divide Pennsylvania's two big cities. In Democratic politics, the contrasts between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are so sharp that they might decide the outcome of the state's presidential primary April 22.
Washington Times: McCain Advisers Tied To Foreign Lobbying
Two of Sen. John McCain's top advisers and fundraisers are among several Republican and Democratic presidential campaign officials whose lobbying firms have been paid more than $15 million by foreign governments since 2005.
Compiled by Jonathan Helman, CNN Washington Bureau
*Hillary Clinton attends campaign events at the Westside YMCA and at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
*John McCain attends finance events in Dallas and Lubbock, Texas as well as a rally in Lubbock, Texas.
*Barack Obama holds town hall meetings in Columbus and Terre Haute, Indiana.