(CNN) - Barack Obama will travel to three crucial swing states next week, the latest sign the Illinois senator is moving into the general election phase of his campaign.
As first reported by the Web site Talking Points Memo and confirmed by an Obama campaign aide, the Illinois senator plans to make stops in New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado next week.
Specifically, Obama will make stops in Las Cruces, New Mexico Monday, the Las Vegas area on Tuesday, and the Denver area on Wednesday.
All three states lean Republican but have increasingly been up for grabs in recent presidential elections. In 2004, President Bush beat John Kerry by 1 percentage point in New Mexico, by 5 points in Colorado, and by 3 points in Nevada.
The Obama campaign has argued that his appeal to independent and moderate voters will play well with voters in these key Western states.
(CNN)–In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN’s Brian Todd has the exclusive details on John McCain’s official rejection of Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement. The news comes after a recording surfaced of comments that seemed to suggest Adolf Hitler had been carrying out God’s will.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama continues to get a skeptical reception from some Jewish Democrats. CNN’s Jessica Yellin is on the campaign trial in Florida following the Illinois senator’s continued effort to court Jewish voters.
Every potential president needs to find the right running mate to balance his or her ticket. Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley explains the significance of this decision.
Finally: Hillary Clinton continues to argue that she would be a stronger candidate against presumptive Republican nominee John McCain. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider reports on a new set of polls that seem to support the New York senator’s claim.
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(CNN) - As Barack Obama courted Jewish voters in Florida Thursday, John McCain looked to resurrect the controversy over the Illinois senator’s former minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright - who drew scrutiny earlier this year for comments he made in praise of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
The presumptive Republican nominee was responding to fallout over his decision to reject Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement, because of remarks that seemed to suggest Adolf Hitler had been carrying out God’s will because his actions drove many Jews to return to Israel.
“I have said I do not believe Senator Obama shares Reverend Wright's extreme views,” said McCain in his statement rejecting Hagee’s backing. “But let me also be clear, Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual advisor, and I did not attend his church for twenty years. I have denounced statements he made immediately upon learning of them, as I do again today.”
Obama immediately fired back, telling reporters McCain was unfairly implying Wright’s controversial remarks were somehow attributable to him.
(CNN) - In the face of mounting controversy over headline-grabbing statements from Pastor John Hagee, CNN has learned presumptive Republican nominee John McCain has decided to reject his endorsement.
The Huffington Post had published a recording of Hagee saying that Adolf Hitler had been fulfilling God’s will by hastening the desire of Jews to return to Israel in accordance with biblical prophecy.
“Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee's endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well,” McCain said in a statement to CNN Thursday.
He added that his relationship with Hagee did not compare with Obama’s lengthy association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “I have said I do not believe Senator Obama shares Reverend Wright's extreme views. But let me also be clear, Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual advisor, and I did not attend his church for twenty years. I have denounced statements he made immediately upon learning of them, as I do again today,” said McCain.
The Arizona senator had earlier renounced comments from Hagee that termed the Catholic church "the great whore" and "an apostate church."
Update after the jump: Hagee rescinds McCain endorsement
(CNN) – Barack Obama will take Sen. Ted Kennedy's place in delivering the commencement address at Wesleyan University this Sunday.
According to Kennedy's Senate Office, Obama offered to take the Massachusetts senator's place earlier this week after Kennedy was diagnosed with brain cancer.
"Senator Kennedy accepted knowing it would be an historic opportunity for the school and all those attending, including his daughter Caroline Raclin who is graduating and his son Ted Jr. who is attending his reunion," Kennedy's office said in a statement. "He's enormously grateful to Senator Obama and the support he's received from all of his colleagues this last week.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic presidential nominating process is still being played out. It certainly looks like Barack Obama is very close to wrapping it up, but Hillary Clinton is not yet giving up.
There are still three more contests left, on June 1 in Puerto Rico, and on June 3 in Montana and South Dakota. And now, Senator Clinton and her advisers are even leaving open the possibility that this process could drag on to the Democratic convention in Denver at the end of August, especially if there is no change in the party’s refusal to seat the full Michigan and Florida delegations.
Back in early January, just before the first caucuses in Iowa, few would have thought that this process could continue into June. Many pundits actually predicted the Republican nominating process could drag on. But the widely-held assumption then was that the Democrats would wrap it up quickly, probably with Hillary Clinton winning the nomination. All of this goes to show that making political predictions can be a risky business.
Now, Democratic insiders are already starting to look beyond this year. Some are questioning the entire nominating process.
(CNN) - A new series of Quinnipiac polls out of Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania appear to bolster Hillary Clinton's argument that she is better positioned than Barack Obama to beat John McCain in the crucial swing states.
According to the polls released Thursday, Hillary Clinton would beat John McCain in all three states by wide margins while Barack Obama would lose to the Arizona senator in Ohio and Florida and narrowly beat McCain in Pennsylvania.
CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said the poll could be a "early-warning sign" for Democrats, though cautioned early polls often are not predictive.
Specifically, the poll found Clinton tops McCain in Florida by 7 points (48 percent to 41 percent), in Ohio by 7 points (48 percent to 41 percent) and in Pennsylvania by 13 percent (50 percent to 37 percent).
Meanwhile the poll finds McCain would beat Obama by 4 points in Florida (45-41 percent) and by 4 points in Ohio (44 percent to 40 percent). Obama beats McCain in Pennsylvania, but by a narrower margin than Clinton does - he beats McCain by 6 points there, 46 percent to 40 percent.
According to Quinnipiac, the difference between Clinton and Obama's performances in the state can be traced to the fact that several Clinton supporters and white working class voters there say they will support McCain over Obama if the Illinois senator is the party's nominee. (Related: Can Obama win over the working class)
"This could be an early-warning sign for the Democrats, particularly since Obama did not do well in the Pennsylvania and Ohio primaries," Holland said. "On the other hand, any poll conducted in May - particularly when the primaries have not finished - may have little predictive value."
The last presidential candidate to win the White House without winning two of the three largest swing states was John F. Kennedy in 1960. (Kennedy won Pennsylvania that year, but lost Ohio and Florida.)
But the 2008 electoral map could look different than most recent elections, both the McCain and Obama campaigns have said. Each candidate has shown to strongly appeal to independent and moderate voters - meaning more states could be up for grabs this year than has been the case in past elections.
View more polling information at the CNN Election Center
(CNN) - Sen. John McCain will give select members of the media a three-hour glimpse at his medical records Friday.
If elected, McCain, the 71-year-old presumed Republican nominee, would be the oldest president of the United States, beating Ronald Reagan by three years on inauguration day.
Presidents and candidates have released records in the past, and some, like McCain, have stipulated that the records cannot leave the room.
McCain, a cancer survivor, is particularly under pressure to prove to the public that he is physically fit for office.
Democratic candidates Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton have not made their health records public, but whoever secures the nomination probably will, said David Mark, senior editor at Politico.
McCain has told reporters not to expect surprises, and that doctors told him everything is fine.
(CNN) – Three of Florida’s Democratic delegates filed a federal lawsuit Thursday in an attempt to force the Democratic National Committee to seat Florida’s delegation at the convention.
Steven Geller, an uncommitted Florida superdelegate and a Florida state senator; Barbara Effman, a pledged delegate for Sen. Hillary Clinton; and Percy Johnson, a pledged delegate for Sen. Barack Obama, have alleged that the DNC violated their constitutional rights to equal treatment and a fair process by stripping Florida of all of its delegates to the nominating convention because the state held its presidential primary prior to a date specified by the national party.
“This litigation addresses the view of Howard Dean and the Democratic National Committee that 1.75 million Democrats can be ignored at will,” Geller said in a statement released Thursday.
The DNC said the lawsuit had little chance of success. "In two other cases so far, the courts have upheld the Democratic National Committee's right to establish and enforce its own rules regarding the selection of delegates to the Democratic Convention,” said DNC spokesman Dag Vega.
In late March, the federal appeals court in Florida upheld the dismissal of another lawsuit filed in an attempt to force the DNC to seat the Florida delegation.
The Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC is set to meet May 31 to hear appeals from Florida and Michigan Democrats to allow the seating of both states’ delegations at the summer convention in Denver.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday served a subpoena on former top Bush aide Karl Rove to compel his testimony concerning allegations that the Department of Justice had dismissed U.S. attorneys based on party affiliation.
The committee ordered Rove to appear July 10 to testify on allegations he was a key player in pressing the Justice Department to dismiss some U.S. attorneys and to prosecute Democrats
It had authorized the subpoena earlier, but only delivered it Thursday after Rove's attorney said he would not appear voluntarily, Chairman John Conyers, D-Michigan, said in a written statement.
"It is unfortunate that Mr. Rove has failed to cooperate with our requests," Conyers said. "Although he does not seem the least bit hesitant to discuss these very issues weekly on cable television and in the print news media, Mr. Rove and his attorney have apparently concluded that a public hearing room would not be appropriate. Unfortunately, I have no choice today but to compel his testimony on these very important matters."