(CNN) - In the final weeks of the race for the Democratic Party's nomination, the battle is for delegates . . . and for momentum.
In the latest episode of CNN=Politics Daily, Sen. Barack Obama tries to steal back momentum from rival Sen. Hillary Clinton by going to Michigan, a general election battleground, and announcing the he has locked up the endorsement of John Edwards.
On the same day that Obama nabbed one of the most coveted remaining endorsements in the Democratic race, Sen. Clinton sought to capitalize on her landslide victory in West Virginia by sitting down for a one-on-one interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. Clinton answers questions from two CNN iReporters, explains why she's staying in the race and then opens up about her daughter Chelsea.
Finally, Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider reports on the results from a special election in Mississippi that may have troubling implications for the Republican Party in the fall.
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(CNN) - Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe said Wednesday Hillary Clinton has overcome Barack Obama in the total popular vote.
“Senator Clinton took the lead in the popular vote last night because voters believe she is the candidate best able to beat John McCain and lead our country," McAuliffe said.
Is he right? That depends on which measure of the popular vote is used.
Four different scenarios of the total popular vote have been kicked around: (1) only counting primary contests without factoring in Florida and Michigan, whose contests were not sanctioned by the national party, (2) counting primary and caucus contests without Florida and Michigan, (3) counting primaries and contests and Florida but not Michigan, and (4) counting all primaries and caucuses including Florida and Michigan.
Clinton trails in all four counts, but by significantly different margins. In the first scenario she trails by by about 397,000, in the second she's behind 699,000, in the third she has a 405,000 vote deficit, and in the fourth scenario she trails by 77,000 votes.
The fourth scenario does not give Obama any votes out of Michigan, where he did not appear on the ballot.
The only scenario in which Clinton would appear to have the lead is a fifth scenario that only counts primary states – including both Florida and Michigan – and excludes any votes cast in the party’s caucuses. In that count, Clinton currently holds a lead of about 225,000 votes.
(CNN) - CNN has confirmed that former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards will endorse Barack Obama shortly at a Michigan campaign event.
The endorsement could help Obama reach out to white, blue-collar voters - a demographic group that Obama has failed to capture, most notably in the recent Pennsylvania and West Virginia primaries.
Edwards received 7 percent of the vote in Tuesday's West Virginia contest.
The former North Carolina senator had campaigned on the message that he was standing up for the little guy, the people who are not traditionally given a voice in Washington, and that he would do more to fight special interests.
After dropping out of the race on January 30, Edwards asked both Clinton and Obama to make poverty a central issue of the general election and a future Democratic administration, something both agreed to do.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) - Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain conceded Wednesday his party’s loss in a Mississippi GOP stronghold is a bad sign for his own chances in November.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. I have a lot of work to do. I understand the challenge. I am confident at the end of the day my vision and plan for action for this nation will get the majority of the votes, but I have no illusions in this campaign,” McCain told reporters during a stop at an Ohio recycling plant. “It will be a very difficult challenge.”
A few minutes earlier on his campaign bus, McCain had been more specific.
“When you look at the data and look at our brand, we’ve got real challenges to re-energize our base,” he said. “This is an indication that our party has a lot to do if we’ve going to win. Not only my campaign but gaining seats in the House and Senate.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hillary Clinton choked up Wednesday as she told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that her daughter's presence on the campaign trail had been one of the "most incredibly gratifying experiences of my life."
"Well, it's one of the most incredibly gratifying experiences of my life, as a person and as a mother. I get very emotional," she said. "She is an exceptional person, and she's worked so hard, and she's done such a good job that I'm just filled with pride every time I look at her.
"Obviously, we are very close. We are in communication all the time. But she is doing this because she believes I'd be a good president, but also because she cares so much about our country's future. She did grow up in the White House. She knows what a difference a president makes. If anybody ever doubted what difference a president makes, after seven years of George Bush, I think the doubts should be put to rest.
"So she's doing it because she's my daughter, but she's doing it because, as she says, she's a young American who cares about our future."
Chelsea Clinton, who has been a constant presence on the trail this cycle, was in Puerto Rico Wednesday in advance of the territory's June 1 primary.
Watch Wolf Blitzer's interview with Hillary Clinton at 4 and 6 p.m. ET on CNN's The Situation Room.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic Party has reached an unusual joint fundraising agreement with both its remaining presidential candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
The agreement, announced Wednesday, creates a new entity, the "Democratic White House Victory Fund" - a move which will allow both candidates to fundraise for the cash-strapped Democratic National Committee, and to help shoulder some of their primary and general election expenses. John McCain has already created his own Victory Fund with the Republican National Committee – but those funds are usually created after a nominee has been decided.
Obama and the DNC had come to an agreement several weeks ago.
“In signing this agreement, Senator Clinton and Senator Obama are demonstrating their commitment to unifying our party and ensuring that we have the resources needed to win the White House, no matter who the nominee is,” said DNC Chairman Howard Dean in a statement. The message is clear. Democrats are unified to put a Democrat back in the White House so we can get our economy back on track, bring our troops home and finally do something about our ailing health care system."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - On this day after Hillary Clinton’s landslide victory over Barack Obama in West Virginia, I sat down with her in Washington. We had a wide-ranging interview on several substantive issues, including the economy, gas prices, the war in Iraq, and her race for the White House. “We’re going to finish this process,” she said. “I still believe I’d be a better president and the stronger candidate against Senator McCain.”
But it was a very personal matter that sparked a more emotional response from Senator Clinton. I asked her about her daughter Chelsea and the amazing work that she has been doing for her mother on the campaign trail. I was CNN’s White House correspondent back in 1993 when Bill Clinton became president. Chelsea was then a little girl. But now she’s a grown woman.
I asked Senator Clinton what goes through her mind when she sees her daughter working as hard for her campaign as she does.
“It’s one of the most incredibly gratifying experiences of my life, as a person and as a mother,” she replied, her eyes beginning to get moist. “I get very emotional. She is an exceptional person, and she’s worked so hard, and she’s done such a good job that I’m just filled with pride every time I look at her.”
It was such a very human and touching mother-daughter kind of moment. She may be a tough politician and a real fighter but she’s also a loving mother, and that came through on this day.
Watch me interview Senator Clinton at 4 and 6 p.m. ET on The Situation Room.
"There is no district that is safe for Republican candidates," according to the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Representative Chris Van Hollen. He tells the Washington Post that "no one could have imagined the tsunami that just crashed on Republicans in Mississippi."
That's where a Democrat won a Republican-held congressional seat in the northern part of the state yesterday. This is a district where President Bush won by 25 points in the 2004 election, and the former Republican congressman won reelection with 66% of the vote in 2006.
It's the third special election the GOP has lost this spring, including a House race in Louisiana that had been Republican for more than three decades and the seat of former House speaker Dennis Hastert in Illinois.
Seems to have set off some warning bells.
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(CNN) - Barack Obama has picked up the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice America, an organization that has supported Hillary Clinton in the past.
"Sen. Obama has been a strong advocate for a woman's right to choose throughout his career in public office," NARAL President Nancy Keenan said in a statement Wednesday. "He steadfastly supports and defends a woman's right to make the most personal, private decisions regarding her reproductive health without interference from government or politicians."
The president of EMILY’s List, a group that supports pro-choice Democratic women candidates, called NARAL's endorsement "tremendously disrespectful" to Hillary Clinton.
“I think it is tremendously disrespectful to Sen. Clinton - who held up the nomination of a FDA commissioner in order to force approval of Plan B and who spoke so eloquently during the Supreme Court nomination about the importance of protecting Roe vs. Wade - to not give her the courtesy to finish the final three weeks of the primary process," Ellen Malcolm said in a statement. "It certainly must be disconcerting for elected leaders who stand up for reproductive rights and expect the choice community will stand with them.”
(CNN) - A day after suffering his second-worst defeat of the primary season, a new poll shows Barack Obama is headed for a big win in Oregon next Tuesday.
According to a new poll from the Portland Tribune and KPTV, the Illinois Democrat holds a 20 point lead over Clinton there, 55 percent to 35 percent. Ten percent of voters remain unsure.
The poll was conducted May 8-10, entirely before Clinton's blowout win in West Virginia Tuesday night. There, Clinton beat Obama by 40 points, her second widest margin of victory all year. But Oregon promises to be more favorable for Obama, given its broader swath of liberal and college educated Democrats.
Kentucky, a state with similar demographics to West Virginia, also votes next Tuesday and is expected to hand Clinton another big win.
Both Oregon and Kentucky are bigger prizes in terms of delegates than West Virginia. Fifty-two delegates are up for grabs in Oregon and 51 are on the line in Kentucky. Only 28 delegates were awarded in West Virginia.
Related Video: CNN's Dan Lothian reports on key voter concerns in Kentucky.