(CNN) - A “Hillraiser” – a major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton – said Friday he had defected to Barack Obama’s campaign. The official announcement will be made next week.
Gabriel Guerra-Mondragon – who served as ambassador to Chile during the Clinton administration – had raised close to half a million dollars for Clinton’s campaign, reports Chuck Todd, who broke the story.
"We're just bleeding each other out," Guerra-Mondragon told the Washington Post. "Looking at it as coldly as I can, I just don't see how Senator Clinton can overcome Senator Obama with delegates and popular votes. I want this fight to be over, the quicker the better."
He added that leaving the Clinton campaign for Obama's "was a very, very difficult decision for me to make. I am an old and longtime friend of Senator Clinton. And I continue to think she is a fantastic and formidable person. But I am first of all a Democrat."
(CNN)— Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has been working to put the controversy surrounding his former pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright behind him, but the issue returned to center stage Friday with the re-appearance of the man himself.
Plus: some voters feel the issues at the heart of the presidential campaigns are being drowned out by attack ads and candidate animosity. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider gives his analysis as the Democratic race drags on.
Finally: in a podcast exclusive, CNN’s Jennifer Mikell serves up the weekly dose of campaign trail mix: some of the most memorable moments making news this week.
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(CNN) — The Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee — which is tasked with ruling how to seat Florida and Michigan delegates at the party's summer convention — will meet next month to discuss the situation in Washington, D.C.
"The main item of business on the Committee’s agenda will be the consideration of two pending challenges," write committee co-chairs Alexis Herman and Jim Roosevelt Jr. in a memo sent to members Friday. "We hope you are able to attend this very important RBC meeting."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Lawyers for the Barack Obama campaign have asked the Justice Department to investigate two unofficial web sites that, until late this week, invited people to "Donate to Barack Obama for President 2008."
The Web sites - named donateooobama.org and donatetobarackobama.com - were operated by a group calling itself "Concerned Citizens for Obama." The first was advertised as a sponsored link on Google searches for "Barack Obama," appearing alongside Obama's official campaign web site.
As of Friday afternoon, the sites displayed nothing but a 'for sale' notice. But screengrabs taken by CNN earlier this week show what appears to be an official Obama campaign logo, a photo of the candidate, and an invitation to donate up to $2300 - the maximum contribution allowed by a single donor to a political committee during a primary campaign.
In a letter dated April 24, Obama campaign lawyer Robert Bauer wrote to the Department of Justice asking for an investigation.
"These activities ... appear clearly intended to deceive supporters of Barack Obama into believing they are contributing funds to our Committee," Bauer wrote.
(CNN) - The most powerful African-American in Congress again scolded former President Bill Clinton for comments he made over the course of the Democratic presidential race.
In an interview with the New York Times late Thursday, House Majority Whip James Clyburn called the former president's conduct "bizarre," and said several of Clinton's actions had deeply upset many African-Americans.
Clyburn told the newspaper that many African-Americans believed the Clintons were trying to damage Obama to the point where he could not be elected. He also made similar comments in an interview with Reuters Thursday.
"There are African Americans who have reached the decision that the Clintons know that she can’t win this," he told Reuters. "But they’re hell-bound to make it impossible for Obama to win.”
Speaking with the New York Times, Clyburn said such actions could lead to a longtime division between the former president and his once most reliable constituency.
“When he was going through his impeachment problems, it was the black community that bellied up to the bar,” Clyburn said. “I think black folks feel strongly that this is a strange way for President Clinton to show his appreciation.”
Speaking to reporters Friday, Obama said he does not believe in "irreparable breaches. "
"I am a big believer in reconciliation and redemption," he said. "This has been a fierce contest. I am confident, come August there are going to be a whole bunch of people standing on the stage with a lot of balloons and confetti raining down on the Democratic nominee and people are going to be excited about taking on John McCain in November."
(CNN) – Mike Huckabee, a former contender for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, said it would be “a little bit presumptuous to ever assume” that a congregant agrees with everything a pastor says.
“Influential? Sure. Necessarily transferable? Usually not,” Huckabee told a reporter while speaking with the press aboard Sen. John McCain’s campaign bus, the Straight Talk Express.
Huckabee, who was a Baptist pastor before eventually becoming Arkansas’s governor, is campaigning with McCain in Little Rock Friday. The former rivals maintained a cordial relationship before Huckabee ended his presidential bid leaving McCain as the GOP’s presumptive nominee.
Related: Huckabee and McCain do the rounds
(CNN) - With the North Carolina Democratic presidential primary coming up, the pressure will increase on former North Carolina Senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards to endorse either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
A formal endorsement from Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, potentially could make a difference in that May 6 primary, especially if they decide to go out and campaign aggressively throughout the state during their final days. Both Edwardses remain very popular among the state’s Democratic base.
There have been intriguing hints that both John and Elizabeth Edwards are leaning in favor of Clinton, but they have avoided any formal announcement. John Edwards has declined most interview requests since dropping out of the presidential contest.
Earlier this month, Elizabeth Edwards, a cancer survivor, said she supports Hillary Clinton’s health care plan over the one put forward by Barack Obama.
“In order to ensure that we have universal coverage, we need to say everybody has to join,” she told ABC News. “So, for that reason, the mandates that Sen. Clinton is talking about, I think are going to be more successful in achieving the goal.”
She added: “I just have more confidence in Sen. Clinton’s policies than Sen. Obama’s on this particular issue.”
Still, she and her husband have stopped short of offering any formal endorsement though some of their former campaign aides also seem to be leaning toward Clinton.
So let’s see if they change their minds and endorse a candidate before the primary. If they do, that could have a real impact.
(CNN) - What if I told you the cattle call of air travel is going to get worse? You’d probably believe me if you’ve traveled recently.
But you might not realize just how bad it could get because you might not know just how bad things have already gotten. The airlines are getting pounded. They’re losing tons of money. Their stock prices are down. Several have already gone belly-up.
But almost every move the airlines make to turn things around is likely to make flying more expensive, less convenient and increasingly difficult for average travelers like you and me.
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton and John McCain’s campaign both fired back at Barack Obama Friday over assertions that they were part of a broken Washington that has hasn’t done enough to solve the energy crisis and fight the power of lobbyists.
Obama told reporters Friday morning that he is the only candidate in the race who has worked to rein in the power of lobbyists and that his opponents’ Washington experience hasn’t yielded results.
"The candidates with the Washington experience - my opponents - are good people. They mean well," said Obama Friday. "But they’ve been in Washington for a long time, and even with all that experience they talk about, nothing has happened.
"...So what have we got for all that experience? Gas that’s approaching $4 a gallon, because you can fight all you want inside Washington, but until you change the way it works, you won’t be able to make the changes Americans need."
(CNN) - Barack Obama said Friday he expected the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to take issue with his recent denouncement of Wright's past sermons.
"I understand he may not agree with me on my assessment of his comments, that’s to be expected," Obama told reporters Friday at a press conference. "He is obviously free to express his opinions on these issues. I have expressed mine very clearly."
Obama's comments follow recent remarks from Wright in a PBS interview to be aired Friday night. According to released excerpts, Wright did not back away from his controversial comments, and said of Obama, “He goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician.”
“I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God,” Wright also said.