As the presidential primary season winds down, the candidates are turning their attention to November and their likely general election opponents.
In the latest espisode of CNN=Politics Daily, John McCain gets heckled in Denver and takes on Barack Obama for saying that he would meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mary Snow reports.
Ed Henry takes a look at comparisons Democrats are drawing between John McCain and President Bush and explains why the two men are fundraising together behind closed doors.
The DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee will meet on Saturday to discuss viable options for seating the Michigan and Florida delegations. Brian Todd investigates possible outcomes.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - It promises to be the highest-profile gathering of Democratic heavyweights until the summer nominating convention – and shaping up to be a harder ticket to come by: this Saturday’s Washington meeting to debate the seating of the Florida and Michigan delegations is officially the toughest ticket in town.
The members of the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee – the panel weighing how both states should be represented at the convention in Denver – will meet very publicly, at a hotel site ringed with protestors and satellite trucks. Inside, they’ll be joined by a swarm of political journalists – and a few rank-and-file Democrats. Only about 300 people – including RBC members, press and public - will be allowed inside.
But hundreds of Democrats eager for a front-row seat to history found themselves out of luck today, as the party’s online registration system for the spots available to the public was overwhelmed at 10 a.m. ET, when it opened. All available seats were claimed in about a minute.
(By comparison: the Hannah Montana concert earlier this year at the Verizon Center – granted, a much larger venue – took roughly 12 minutes to sell out.)
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) - Democrat Barack Obama Tuesday continued
his efforts to tag John McCain as a candidate with ideas no different than President Bush's.
The Illinois senator highlighted McCain's scheduled Tuesday evening closed-press fundraiser, where Bush and the presumptive Republican nominee will appear together.
"No cameras, no reporters, and we all know why," Obama said. "Sen. McCain doesn't want to be seen, hat in hand, with the president whose failed policies he promises to continue for another four years. Now the question for the American people is do we want to continue George Bush's policies?"
To this, the crowd promptly answered, "no."
Obama, though, isn't completely in the clear himself when it comes to private fundraisers. The "bitter" controversy int he wake of Pennsylvania's primary contest stemmed from comments the White House hopeful made at a closed-door event in San Francisco April 6.
Watch McCain confront protesters at a speech Tuesday morning.
(CNN) – Four sets of anti-war protesters interrupted John McCain in the first 10 minutes of his foreign policy speech Tuesday.
They were all quickly and quietly escorted out. Chants of "John McCain" broke out from the supporters after two of the incidents.
"I have town hall meetings all the time when people are allowed to come and state their views. One thing we don't do is interfere with others' right to free speech," McCain said as one group of protesters were escorted out.
"This may turn into a longer speech than you had anticipated," he joked. "And by the way, I will never surrender in Iraq. Our American troops will come home with victory and with honor."
Related: McCain calls for slashing U.S. nuclear arsenal
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic National Committee’s Rules Committee meets in Washington on Saturday and may decide to move the goalposts.
At issue: what to do about those Michigan and Florida pledged and super delegates. Right now, they don’t count in the presidential selection process because those two states moved up their primaries against DNC rules.
The current goalposts, as a result, stands at 2,026 – the number of delegates needed to clinch the presidential nomination. Without Michigan and Florida, there would be a total of 4,050 delegates at the Denver convention representing the other 48 states, the U.S. territories, and Americans living abroad.
The DNC Rules Committee could decide to reverse itself and seat the Michigan and Florida delegations despite their primary violations. That would move the goalposts to 2,210 – the new number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination. If the committee did that, there would be a total of 4,418 delegates at the convention.
There is a third option that is being discussed right now: the so-called Republican option. It would seat the Florida and Michigan delegates at the convention, but only at half-strength. This proposal would punish both states but still seat half of their delegates – as the Republicans did. That, in turn, would move the goalposts to 2,118 – the number needed under this scenario to clinch the nomination. Under this third option, there would be 4,234 delegates at the convention.
In other words, we could see the goalposts move this weekend. But here’s the question – would moving these goalposts really make much of a difference in the nominating process given Barack Obama’s current lead over Hillary Clinton and the party’s proportionate distribution of delegates under all the scenarios?
Hillary Clinton "was a good senator before, and she can be a great senator in the future."
Those are the words of Obama supporter and Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy. He tells The Washington Post Clinton will need to decide what to do after the campaign since it is now a foregone conclusion she is not going to be the nominee.
Kennedy would know a thing or two about this. After losing the primary battle to Jimmy Carter in 1980, Kennedy returned to the Senate and resumed his career as a lawmaker, authoring landmark bills on issues like health care and education. Many Democrats think that's the path Clinton should follow to reshape her political career...
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
(CNN) – Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign released two new South Dakota ads Tuesday.
The television ad “Responsibility” targets President Bush rather than her primary rival Sen. Barack Obama – the latest in a string of positive television spots from the New York senator.
“George Bush’s spending has sent the economy in a tailspin and put Social Security in jeopardy,” says the announcer in the 30-second spot. “Hillary Clinton will stop spending money America doesn’t have.”
“I will get us back to fiscal responsibility,” says Clinton, in a clip drawn from her stump speech.
The 60-second radio ad, “Matters,” takes a veiled swipe at Obama and his supporters. “Some people say the presidential primary in South Dakota doesn’t much matter. That your voice doesn’t really count,” says the announcer. But the bulk of the firepower is directed at Bush’s management of federal spending.
(Full script after the jump)
(CNN) – Barack Obama will formally capture the Democratic presidential nomination soon after next week's final primaries, the Illinois senator's top campaign aide is predicting.
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said that after the June 3 primaries in South Dakota and Montana, Obama will "be at the number we need to claim the nomination."
"We're very close now," Axelrod said. "When the primaries end, I think, we'll be where we need to be. ... We'll be at the number we need to claim the nomination."
According to CNN's latest estimate, Obama is now 52 delegates short of clinching the Democratic nomination while Clinton is 246 delegates short of the magic number. There are 86 pledged delegates up for grabs in the remaining three contests. Just over 200 superdelegates also have not publicly declared who they are supporting.
Obama is unlikely to clinch the nomination with pledged delegates alone, but his campaign has said it expects enough superdelegates will declare their support of the Illinois senator soon after the final two primaries.
Axelrod's comments come two days after Bill Clinton suggested some are trying to “push and pressure and bully” superdelegates to make up their minds prematurely.
The former president also suggested Sunday that if the New York senator ended the primary season with an edge in the popular vote, it would be a significant development.
"If you vote for her and she does well in Montana and she does well in Puerto Rico, when this is over she will be ahead in the popular vote,” said Clinton.
(CNN) - It's no secret that John McCain has trouble raising money. At least the kind of cash that his earlier Republican rivals did - and the amounts his likely competitor for the White House, Barack Obama can.
In the month of April, McCain took in nearly $18 million - an impressive amount to be sure, and a personal best - but Obama's haul was a whopping $31 million. It's because of a major Democratic breakthrough: a fundraising base of individual small donors.
But ask McCain adviser Carly Fiorina why he can't generate the same campaign cash of his rivals, and you get the sort of sleight-of-hand answer she gave us today on American Morning. "The RNC raised over $40 million in April, which is ten times the rate of the Democratic National Committee and that's important because Senator McCain has access to those total funds", said Fiorina. "That's true," I responded, "the RNC has a lot of cash." But why is it that McCain can't attract the same response among individual donors that his predecessors did?
Fiorina: "Well, I hate to keep correcting you, but in truth, the RNC is raising money very specifically for the presidential campaign, and by the rules, the money that the RNC raises can be used for the presidential campaign."
It's the type of non-answer we may expect to hear more as McCain will clearly have to rely on the awesome fundraising power of the Republican National Committee to help him keep pace with the Democratic nominee.
(CNN) - John McCain is launching a television ad in the crucial swing states of Michigan and Pennsylvania Wednesday, the latest sign the Arizona senator is gearing up his general election campaign.
The ad, called "Accountable," previously ran in Iowa and promotes the Arizona senator's pledge to lower taxes, make healthcare more affordable, and solve the country's energy problems.
McCain's decision to extend the ad into the more expensive media markets of Michigan and Pennsylvania is the Arizona senator's first shot of the general election campaign, said Evan Tracey of TNS Media Intelligence/Campaign Media Analysis Group.
"The fact that he's expanding into these states is a clear signal that both the general election has begun and fundraising has fattened his campaign accounts," Tracey said.
The McCain campaign is also looking to capitalize on Obama's 9 point primary defeat in Pennsylvania and the little attention the Illinois senator has so far devoted to Michigan. (Obama removed his name from the primary ballot there after the state violated party rules by holding its contest early.)
"What you're seeing is McCain turning up the volume in states that Hillary Clinton won, and clearly trying to capitalize on any negative momentum for Obama in those places," Tracey also said.