(CNN) - Hillary Clinton appears to have taken a clear lead in the crucial primary state of Indiana while Barack Obama remains ahead in Tuesday's other big prize - North Carolina.
According to new CNN surveys of several recent polls out of both states, Clinton's lead increased in Indiana while Obama remained the frontrunner in North Carolina - albeit by single digits.
A CNN poll of polls in Indiana shows Clinton now leads Obama there by four points among likely Democratic voters, 48 to 44 percent. Eight percent of voters there remain undecided. That lead is up from several recent surveys of polls that showed Clinton and Obama locked in a dead heat in Indiana.
Meanwhile, several new North Carolina polls indicate Obama holds a clear lead in North Carolina. The CNN poll of polls shows Obama with an 8-point edge, 50 to 42 percent. That margin is exactly the same as it was in a similar CNN poll of polls conducted last week. But Obama had long held a double-digit lead in the state, and is considered the clear favorite given North Carolina's demographics.
Indiana and North Carolina are considered crucial contests for both candidates. An Obama sweep would effectively establish the Illinois senator as the party's presumptive Democratic nominee while two victories for Clinton would give the New York senator a fresh boost of momentum ahead of the race’s final stretch.
On the national front, Obama holds a slight edge over Clinton. A CNN poll of polls shows Obama with a 4-point lead over Clinton nationwide - that margin is slightly higher than it was in a poll of polls last week that showed Obama with a 2-point lead.
(CNN) - Sen. John McCain used Cinco de Mayo as a launching pad for a new Spanish-language Web site on Monday, and emphasized his stance on immigration and border security, hoping to attract Hispanic voters, a demographic which has become more important this election cycle.
The presumptive Republican nominee, who represents a border state with a large Latino population, stressed the importance of securing the borders for the sake of national security, a priority he said Hispanics agree with, but he admitted the tone of debate has “harmed” the GOP’s image with Hispanic voters.
“I think the tenor of the debate has harmed our image amongst Hispanics, [but] I believe the majority of Hispanics share our view that the border must be secured and the border must be secured first,” The Arizona senator said.
McCain, who came under attack last year from some conservatives for his support of a bipartisan immigration bill, empathized with Hispanics who he said have often been mistreated.
(CNN) – On the eve of critical primaries in Indiana and North Carolina, Sen. Barack Obama sought to draw a contrast between him and rival Sen. Hillary Clinton by laying out three major differences between himself and the New York senator.
Speaking at a North Carolina light bulb manufacturer, Obama told workers that his differences with Clinton are “not that much about policy, for the most part.” Instead, Obama identified differences in style, approach and outlook.
“Right now, on May 6, here in North Carolina, the question you have to ask yourself is: Who is best able to lead that Democratic Party to deliver on change?” said Obama. “This is where there are big differences between Sen. Clinton and me.”
GREENVILLE, North Carolina (CNN) – Hillary Clinton went on a weekend offensive, aggressively highlighting her differences with Barack Obama to North Carolina and Indiana voters – accusing him of not supporting relief from high gas prices, saying his health care plan would leave 15 million people uninsured and telling crowds that Obama voted against stopping home foreclosures.
On Monday morning however, she struck a more conciliatory tone.
“We have some differences my opponent Sen. Obama and I, and those are perfectly legitimate. You know, no two people are alike, you can’t expect two people running for president to have exactly the same positions,” Clinton told supporters.
“Of course once we have a nominee we’re going to close ranks and have a unified party because the differences between us as Democrats pale in comparison to the differences we have with Sen. McCain and the Republicans,” she added.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Americans are already paying through the nose for gasoline, and they think it's only going to get worse.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll found that 94% of respondents expect they will have to pay $4 a gallon sometime this year – and 78% said they figure it will hit $5.
The national average for gasoline was $3.61 on Monday.
Consumers' fear they will have to pay more has intensified. A year ago, 79% thought gas would cost $4 gas by the end of 2007 and only 28% feared $5 gas.
At the same time, high prices seem to be easier to swallow now than it has been for most consumers in the past. Of the more than 1,000 American adults surveyed in the poll, conducted April 28-30, 60% said high fuel prices have caused hardship for them or their household. That's down from 72% in March and 66% during the same time last year.
(CNN) - If only Indy drivers were superdelegates.
The Clinton campaign on Monday touted the endorsement of Sara Fisher, the first woman to earn a pole position at an IndyCar series event.
"We need a president who will stand up for us and be a fighter for Hoosiers and all Americans," Fisher said in a statement released by the campaign. "Hillary will be a president who steers our country in the right direction and puts our economy back on track.
"Something Hillary and I have in common is our commitment to achieving our goals, leaving roadblocks behind and refusing to be knocked down," she also said. "Hillary is a doer and a fighter who keeps getting out there, going for the checkered flag.”
Fisher has completed in six Indianapolis 500s and will try to qualify for her seventh this month.
(CNN) - Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton hit each other hard Monday, a day before contests in North Carolina and Indiana that could break the deadlock over who will be the Democratic nominee for president.
The Democratic rivals traded shots over Clinton's proposal that the government do away with the federal gas tax for the summer and make up the budget shortfall by taxing what she calls oil companies' "windfall profits."
Obama has dismissed the proposal, saying it's unlikely to help consumers or to become law, prompting Clinton to accuse him of being out of touch with "the hard-working American consumer and the middle class."
(CNN) - Barack Obama's campaign released a new television ad in North Carolina and Indiana Sunday that calls rival Hillary Clinton's proposal for a suspension of the gas tax a "bogus gimmick."
The ad is a response to a recent Clinton commercial that criticizes Obama for not supporting the proposal.
"More “low road” attacks from Hillary Clinton," the ad's announcer states. "Now she’s pushing a “bogus” gas tax gimmick…Experts say it’ll just “boost oil industry profits.”
The Clinton campaign quickly fired back in a conference call with reporters, saying Obama is "siding with the oil companies" and his stance on the issue is a key reason why he has difficulties winning over working class voters.
"That’s a critical distinction in this race between, in Senator Clinton, someone who understands the pain that middle class and working class families are feeling...and Senator Obama, somebody who just doesn’t seem to understand that middle class families are hurting, working class families are hurting and that they need relief," Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson said.
The campaign is also taking issue with one of the ad's quotes from the New York Times saying Obama's proposal would "boost oil industry profits." Clinton spokesman Phil Singer says that quote pertained to John McCain's proposal for the suspension of the gas tax, not Hillary Clinton's.
Obama supporter and Missouri Senator Clair McCaskill also held a conference call on the gas tax plan Sunday afternoon, during which she characterized Clinton's plan as a "political trick."
Sunday's back-and-forth is the latest on the issue that has come to dominate the Democratic presidential race over the last week as gas prices continue to set record highs.
(Full script after jump)
Compiled by Jonathan Helman
CNN Washington Bureau
CNN: Republicans Use Obama As The Bad Guy In Negative Ads
Is Sen. Barack Obama the new Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sen. Hillary Clinton or former House Speaker Newt Gingrich? For Republican candidates and political ad makers, the White House hopeful might very well be. A review of political television advertising nationwide shows that Obama has played a starring role or has been mentioned in at least 9 GOP-inspired ads designed to undercut a Democratic candidate in recent months.
NY Times: Seeing Grit and Ruthlessness in Clinton’s Love of the Fight
The kind of language and pugilistic imagery Sen. Hillary Clinton uses on the campaign trail evokes the baggage that makes Clinton such a provocative political figure. For as much as a willingness to “do what it takes” and “die hard” are marketable commodities in politics, they can also yield to less flattering qualities, plenty of which have been ascribed to her over the years. Just as supporters praise her “toughness” and “tenacity,” critics also describe her as “divisive,” “a dirty fighter” or “willing to do anything to win.”
Indianapolis Star: Primary Party Switches Could Aid Incumbents
Voting Republican in Indiana used to be so easy. Grab a ballot, skip the presidential nominees - those races were usually over by now, at least for the past 40 years - and focus on local and state primary races. But this year, Hoosiers have that rare chance to help determine a presidential nominee. Of course, to do so means you have to vote like a Democrat.
Washington Times: Democrats Lose Footing For Gains In November
"Saturday Night Live" veteran Al Franken should have had an easier run for U.S. Senate in Minnesota against an embattled Republican incumbent but is being dogged by $70,000 in unpaid taxes and is slipping in the polls — just one of the topsy-turvy races clouding Democrats' expectations of big gains in November.
Compiled by Jonathan Helman, CNN Washington Bureau
*Hillary Clinton attends “Get Out The Vote” events in Greenville and High Point, North Carolina. She then travels to Indiana and attends a canvass kickoff event in Merrillville and “Get Out The Vote” rallies in New Albany and Evansville.
*John McCain holds a media availability in Phoenix, Arizona and then attends the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Town Hall Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.
*Barack Obama makes local stops in Evansville, Indiana before flying to Durham, North Carolina to hold a discussion with workers. He makes a few local stops in North Carolina and flies back to Indiana where he attends a “Get Out The Vote” rally in Indianapolis.