(CNN) - With less than a week to go until the critical primaries in Indiana and North Carolina, it's getting close to crunch time for Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
In the latest episode of CNN=Politics Daily, Jessica Yellin reports on how Clinton and Obama are courting blue collar voters in Indiana and courting their party's superdelegates.
In an effort to dissuade the so-called "Reagan Democrats" from choosing Sen. John McCain in the general election, unions in several key states have already begun to target the Republican Party's presumptive nominee. Chief National Correspondent John King is out on the campaign trail with McCain. King explains what the unions are up to and what McCain intends to do to court a key group which both he and the Democrats will likely need to win the White House.
As Clinton and Obama continue to battle it out in the remaining primaries, their party has yet to resolve how to handle the delegations of Florida and Michigan - two states who held their primaries in violation of the Democratic National Committee's rules and were punished by being stripped of all their delegates to the nominating convention. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider reports on a new proposal by Michigan's congressional delegation to apportion the state's delegates between Clinton and Obama and allow the state's delegation to participate in the convention.
Clinton, Obama, and McCain have been trading barbs lately over who has the best plan to tackle rising gas prices. Dan Lothian reports on the proposals of the three candidates.
Finally, a union leader in Indiana gave Sen. Clinton an unusual introduction Wednesday. Watch Clinton be complimented for her "fortitude."
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(CNN) - Ron Paul’s loyal supporters helped him set campaign fundraising records and capture more delegates during his presidential run than some of his high-profile Republican rivals. They even managed to briefly shut down Nevada’s GOP convention earlier this month over a rules change controversy.
Now they’ve taken his latest book to the top of the Amazon.com bestseller list.
“The Revolution: A Manifesto”, released earlier this month, is currently No. 1 on the Web site’s list of top sellers, besting even Oprah’s latest Book Club selection.
“Despite a media blackout, this septuagenarian physician-turned-congressman sparked a movement that has attracted a legion of young, dedicated, enthusiastic supporters . . . a phenomenon that has amazed veteran political observers and made more than one political rival envious,” boasts the book’s product description, adding: “Candidates across America are already running as ‘Ron Paul Republicans.’”
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (CNN) –- Democrat Barack Obama's wife Michelle chose silence Wednesday when the couple were asked about recent comments made by their former pastor, and the harsh words Sen. Obama had for him Tuesday.
In a question-and-answer session with voters, the two were asked what kind of toll it takes on them to have to turn their backs on someone who had been good to them in the past.
Sen. Obama responded first, saying he "made a statement yesterday that was hard to make."
"What we want to do now though is to make sure that this doesn’t continue to be a perpetual distraction," he said.
Then he turned to his other half.
"Michelle, do you have anything to add to that?" After a brief hesitation he said, "You do, but..." He stopped and smiled as she shook her head.
The audience laughed.
"Remember, there are a lot of reporters around," he said, joining in the laughter.
Watch Michelle Obama speak out tonight in an interview with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux at 8:20 p.m. ET, with an extended version airing at on AC 360 at 10 p.m. ET
(CNN) - John McCain responded to a question about groups that continue to use his "100 years" remark in negative ads by directing his fire at Barack Obama.
The presumptive Republican nominee said that every objective assessment of “the distortion of my statement about our involvement in Iraq is totally, totally false.
“And it’s a little distressing to me when Senator Obama says that he wants to run a very great campaign that is above politics, and above the mundane aspects of political campaigns, and then keeps turning around and saying and totally falsifying my statement,” which said it was acceptable to have troops in Iraq along the lines of the long-term U.S. presence in South Korea, said McCain.
(CNN) - Less than a day after Hillary Clinton’s campaign debuted an ad that attacked Barack Obama for opposing a gas tax holiday, the Illinois senator’s campaign unveiled a new 60-second spot that dubs the idea an ineffective quick fix.
The ad, titled “Truth” will run in both Indiana and North Carolina, where voters head to the polls May 6. Both Democratic presidential hopefuls have spent the week sparring over the proposal – Obama calls the idea a gimmick; Clinton says it is necessary to give consumers immediate relief from soaring fuel costs.
In the spot, Obama calls for an investigation of the nation’s oil companies for price gouging – a position shared by Clinton - and says Congress should adopt a long-term energy strategy that includes higher fuel efficiency standards and a greater investment in alternative fuels.
“We could suspend the gas tax for 6 months, but that’s not going to bring down gas prices long-term. You’re gonna save about 25, 30 dollars…or half a tank of gas,” he says. “That’s typical of how Washington works. There’s a problem, everybody’s upset about gas prices – let’s find some short-term, quick-fix, that we can say we did something even though, even though we’re not really doing anything.”
(Full script after the jump)
(CNN) - Barack Obama’s campaign has filed a formal complaint over a pro-Hillary Clinton group running ads attacking the Illinois senator on jobs and the economy in the critical primary state of Indiana.
The American Leadership Project, which includes veterans of the Clinton administration and longtime supporters, is a “527,” which means it is not bound by federal campaign finance laws as long as it does not directly advocate on behalf of a particular candidate.
The group announced earlier this week that it was planning to buy $700,000 worth of airtime in the state leading up to Tuesday’s vote. It has aired other spots in support of Clinton in key primary states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas.
The Obama campaign planned a conference call this morning with general counsel Bob Bauer to discuss the specifics of the complaint filed Wednesday with the Federal Elections Commission.
(updated with ALP response after the jump)
WASHINGTON (CNN)—House Majority Whip James Clyburn has a message for Rev. Jeremiah Wright: “Silence is golden.”
The Democratic congressman – who has not yet publicly backed a candidate – expressed relief over the controversial minister’s absence from the campaign trail the day after Barack Obama expressed called his comments “divisive and destructive.”
“Please let us go forward with this campaign… so that we can chalk a way forward that will be a benefit to our children and grandchildren,” Clyburn said in a message to Wright on CNN Wednesday, telling the pastor directly he should not continue to “inject himself” into the national discussion.
The South Carolina congressman repeated his pledge to remain neutral until a nominee is chosen, but did say he expected a clear nominee “within days” of the last Democratic primary contest on June 3.
“What I am trying to do is maintain a climate within our Democratic Party that allows good viable debate to take place that will add value to this campaign,” Clyburn told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
He rejected the notion that the candidate with the most pledged delegates should be the nominee, telling CNN that the nomination should be decided based on several important measures, including popular vote totals, the number of states a candidate has won, and an assessment of who will be most competitive against Republican John McCain in November.
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton said Wednesday she personally took offense to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's recent comments, the New York senator’s harshest assessment yet of Barack Obama's former minister.
"I think it’s offensive and outrageous. I’m going to express my opinion, others can express theirs," Clinton told Fox’s Bill O'Reilly. "It is part of just, you know, an atmosphere we’re in today.”
The comments appear to be a shift in Clinton’s tone on the matter. On Tuesday she criticized Republican presidential nominee John McCain for not doing enough to stop Republican ads running in North Carolina and Mississippi that feature Wright's comments.
"I regret the efforts by the Republicans to politicize this matter," Clinton said of the ad.
Speaking at the National Press Club Monday, Wright did not back down from some of his controversial remarks, including those that seemed to suggest the U.S. government might be responsible for the spread of AIDS among African-Americans, and his equation of U.S. wartime efforts with terrorism.
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Ever since Super Tuesday, Barack Obama has been outscoring Hillary Clinton big time when it comes to picking up support from the superdelegates. The Wall Street Journal suggests he's close to taking the lead, and that if he doesn't stumble badly in Indiana or North Carolina next week enough of them will break his way after June third to give him the nomination.
Seems simple enough. He leads in pledged delegates and she can't catch him there. He's won more states, has more popular votes, is a much better fund-raiser–very important consideration–and has shown he can appeal to Independents and Republicans. Piece of cake. Just run out the clock and get ready for McCain.
Yesterday on this program former President Carter, who is a superdelegate, was asked if he would support the candidate he voted for in the Georgia primary. His answer was, "Yes, unless I change my mind."
And therein lies the problem for Barack Obama.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania (CNN) – In a press conference Wednesday, John McCain trained his fire on Barack Obama’s opposition to a so-called “gas tax holiday,” accusing the Democratic presidential hopeful of hypocrisy.
On the gas tax issue, McCain said that while Obama refuses to endorse “a gas tax holiday” later this summer, he had “voted for it several times when the price of gasoline was about a dollar and a half per gallon,” referring to Obama's record in the Illinois state senate.
Obama, along with many economic analysts, has said the gas tax holiday – a suspension of the gasoline tax designed to put a few more dollars in the pockets of summer travelers – is little more than a “gimmick” to curry favor with voters.
McCain and Hillary Clinton both support a gas tax holiday. Despite criticism from analysts, McCain insisted he does not see temporary gas tax relief as a cure-all.