(CNN) – Hillary Clinton's Pennsylvania win last Tuesday has clearly given the New York senator a boost in the national polls, the latest daily tracking survey from Gallup suggests.
Clinton and Obama are now dead even at 47 percent among likely Democrats, according the newly released numbers. That number remains unchanged from a tracking poll released Saturday and represents a 5-point gain for Clinton since her Pennsylvania win.
In a similar tracking poll released the day of the primary, Obama led Clinton by eight points, 50-42 percent. The Illinois senator's lead over Clinton reached a high of 11 points on April 14.
Meanwhile, a Newsweek poll released Saturday also shows gains for Clinton, but finds the New York senator continuing to trail Obama. In that poll, Obama holds a 7 point lead over Clinton. That margin is more than half of the 19 point lead Obama held in a similar Newsweek poll taken shorlty before the Pennsylvania primary.
Recent polls also show the two candidates locked in a dead heat in the crucial state of Indiana, which votes May 6. In a CNN "poll of polls" released Friday, Clinton and Obama both register 45 percent support from likely Democrats in the Hoosier state.
Since Obama is favored to win North Carolina - the other major prize May 6 - some Clinton advisers have said the New York senator must score a victory in Indiana remain a viable candidate.
MIAMI (CNN) - Despite his newfound willingness to make political hay out of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, John McCain insisted three separate times on Monday he does not believe Barack Obama shares Wright’s “extremist views.”
McCain, campaigning in South Florida, faced a series of questions about Wright from reporters shortly after the pastor made a defiant public appearance at the National Press Club in Washington, in which he defended his church and condemned the national media.
“I’ve said again and again, I do not believe that Sen. Obama shares Rev. Wright’s extremist views which he has stated, whether it be the United States Marine Corps or the flag or what,” McCain said. “I am leaving that issue to a dialogue between Sen. Obama and American people.”
In another press conference held Sunday, McCain broached the topic of Wright unprompted for the first time, despite previous suggestions that the Wright issue would be an out-of-bounds topic in the presidential race.
GRAHAM, North Carolina (CNN) – Hillary Clinton rolled out a new plan to help ease the burden of high gas prices, along with fresh criticism of presumptive Republican nominee John McCain – whose campaign continued a recent war of words with Barack Obama over his own proposal for relief at the pump.
After briefly touching on it Sunday night, Hillary Clinton rolled out proposed legislation Monday morning to ease the burden of high gas prices by removing the tax on gas and instead taxing oil companies for “windfall” profits.
“I understand that the American people need some relief and you see I think we want to show that the government can actually work for hardworking Americans again,” Clinton told supporters at a North Carolina campaign event.
The plan would temporarily remove the tax drivers pay on gas for the summer, and shift that burden to oil companies that earn “enormous” profits. An average profit would be calculated for the oil companies, and anything over 10 percent higher than that average would be taxed 50 percent.
GRAHAM, North Carolina (CNN) – Hillary Clinton wouldn’t say Monday whether she agrees with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean's latest comments that either she or Barack Obama should drop out of the race following the last Democratic primary on June 3.
“We’re going to go through these next contests, we’re going to see where we end up and we’ll take stock of where we are after they finish,” Clinton told reporters on the trail in North Carolina, adding that she feels the prolonged race has been good for both the party and voters.
Clinton said again that Michigan and Florida’s votes should be counted.
“We have to decide, do we wish to punish Michigan and Florida, two states that we have to win in the fall in order to win back the White House? When there are perfectly acceptable ways of resolving this?” Clinton asked. “So we’ve got to resolve Michigan and Florida and we’ll see how the process plays out.”
(CNN) - Barack Obama’s former pastor on Monday said it was not him, but the black church that has been the subject of recent attacks.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright, speaking before an audience of 300 at the National Press Club, sought to explain the black religious experience. He said the theology of the black church is a “theology of liberation, it is a theology of transformation and it is ultimately a theology of reconciliation.”
Wright said the black religious tradition, despite its long history, is in some ways “invisible to the dominant culture.”
His remarks came one day after he addressed an audience of 10,000 at the NAACP dinner in Detroit.
Reiterating some of the same points from that dinner, Wright on Monday said “being different does not mean one is deficient – it simply means one is different, like snow flakes.”
Wright said reconciliation means “we embrace our individual rich histories.”
He said this means rooting out “any teaching of superiority, inferiority, hatred or prejudice” and recognizing that each person “is one of God’s children ... no better, no worse.”
“Only then will liberation, transformation and reconciliation become realities and cease being ever-elusive ideals,” he said.
Wright is a retired pastor from the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, where Obama worships.
(CNN)— Former president Bill Clinton criticized the Bush administration’s stimulus checks Monday saying they will only help the economy if everyone spends them and no one saves them.
“You know what you are supposed to do with these stimulus checks, is stimulate,” Bill Clinton told a group of his wife’s supporters while campaigning Indiana. “Go out and blow it. Don’t you dare pay down your credit card or save it,” he quipped.
The federal government started depositing the stimulus checks Monday into bank accounts of 800,000 Americans hoping the extra money will encourage people to spend.
Between now and July, the treasury will distribute more than $110 billion to at least 117 million low and middle income homes.
Clinton said the fundamental issue is most people need the checks to pay off credit debt and bills. “Even if it’s all spent the way the president and Congress hoped it would be,” the current housing crisis would dwarf any possible gains.
(CNN)—Embarking on a week long health care tour Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Monday he wants to transform the health care system and lower costs by putting the families back in charge and not the government.
“I’m convinced that the wrong way to go is to turn over your lives to the government and hope it will all be fine,” McCain told a group of supporters at Miami Children’s Hospital. “We must move away from a system that is fragmented and pays for expensive procedures toward one where a family has a medical home...where the focus is on affordable quality outcomes.”
It remains undecided who the presumptive Republican nominee will face in the fall, but both and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have made health care a central theme of their campaigns, arguing for more universal health care coverage.
Clinton’s plan would mandate individual coverage for all, while Obama’s would only require coverage for children.
The Arizona senator is expected to travel to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado and Iowa this week as part of his “Call to Action tour.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Supreme Court on Monday backed Indiana's law requiring voters to show photo identification, despite concerns thousands of elderly, poor, and minority voters could be locked out of their right to cast ballots.
The 6-3 vote allows Indiana to require the identification when it holds its statewide primary next month.
At issue is whether state laws designed to stem voter fraud end up disenfranchising large groups of Americans who might lack proper documents to prove they are eligible to vote.
The justices wrestled with a balancing test of sorts to ensure both state and individual voter interests were addressed, in what has become a highly partisan legal and political fight.
(CNN)— Texas Congressman Ron Paul said Monday his revolution is still alive, and he will not be shut out of the presidential race by the Republican Party.
“We’re trying to say we have a right to argue our case that Republicans ought to stand for something,” Paul told CNN Monday morning. Adding, the need for change is vital, but all three candidates, including John McCain, represent a continuation of the same policy.
A large group of Paul’s supporters managed to bring Nevada’s Republican Convention to a standstill over the weekend after the party tried to exclude The Texas congressman from delegate allocations.
Paul, who never officially dropped out of the Republican presidential race, said he continues to gain support from delegates. “What’s the sense of having a convention if everything is decided?” He did not give any details as to who he might be referring to, or where this new support was coming from.
The congressman has 21 delegates in the latest CNN count. Arizona senator John McCain has 1,331 total delegates, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has 267, and Mitt Romney has 255.
Paul said his views are “very much in tune with being a good Republican,” and traditional GOP values.
Asked if he would encourage his supporters to back McCain, Paul reiterated his views that the two differ on fundamental issues, namely bringing troops home from Iraq.
Paul has said he will use his remaining campaign war chest of roughly $4 million to support candidates who share his vision.
Obama spokesman Bill Burton and Clinton spokesman Phil Singer share a rare, spin-free moment at Saturday night's White House Correspondents Dinner. (CNN Photo)