(CNN) - As the three remaining presidential candidates continue to campaign, a former of aide of President Bush took center stage Wednesday.
White House Correspondent Ed Henry reports on the response from Bush and members of his inner circle to the new tall-all book by former White House press secretary Scott McClellan.
Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama are still duking it out in anticipation of their likely general election match-up.
Candy Crowley reports on McCain’s latest efforts to take Obama to task over Iraq and national security.
The Democrats see huge potential in the Western states, but McCain says the west is his turf. Mary Snow has the story.
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(CNN) - Hillary Clinton supporter and New York Gov. David Paterson appeared to backtrack Wednesday from his comments last week suggesting the New York senator's latest actions on the campaign trail showed signs of "desperation."
Speaking on a New York radio station Wednesday, Paterson said "desperation" was probably not the correct word to attribute to the New York senator.
"I think a better word would have been 'frustration,'" Paterson said Monday on Talk 1300. (Listen to the interview here.) "The frustration was that the senator had won votes in Florida and Michigan and would like to have those delegates. Certainly in Florida, I think there is a very good argument with that."
"I still believe that number one, she is the best person suited for the presidency and number two, she is the most likely to defeat John McCain," he also said.
Paterson's original comments came Thursday, when he appeared to express disagreement with Clinton over her continued push to get the full delegations of both states seated.
"I would say at this point we're starting to see a little desperation on the part of the woman who I support and I'll support until whatever time she makes a different determination," Paterson said then.
THORNTON, Colorado (CNN) - Barack Obama's presidential campaign is using former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's new book attacking the Bush administration to take a swipe at John McCain, connecting what Obama calls "the failed Bush policies" to the presumptive Republican nominee.
"It's not news that this Administration engaged in spin and deception to lead us into a war that should've never been authorized and never been waged," Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan said in a statement.
"The only question now is do we continue George Bush's failed policy in Iraq or do we change it? John McCain is promising four more years of the exact same policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave troops and nothing of the Iraqi government, while Barack Obama wants to begin a phased withdrawal of our troops and refocus our efforts on going after al-Qaeda in Afghanistan."
A senior aide declined a request to make Obama himself available for an on-camera comment.
The Democratic Party is going to try to sort out the headache created by Michigan and Florida.
The rules committee meets this weekend to decide what to do with the delegates from those states. Michigan and Florida broke party rules by moving up their primaries and as punishment were stripped of all their delegates. It was made clear to them before they changed the primary dates that is what would happen.
Party lawyers say the DNC has the authority to seat some of these delegates, but not all. They say seating half of the delegates is quote “as far as the committee can legally go.” And, once the committee decides how many of the delegates to seat then they need to figure out how to divide them between Clinton and Obama. Could be a long weekend.
It becomes pretty tricky when you consider that in Michigan, Barack Obama’s name wasn’t even on the ballot. It’s also important to note that both candidates signed a pledge not to campaign in either state and agreed the primaries should be invalid if the states changed the dates.
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McClellan and Bartlett worked closely together in the White House. (Getty Images)
Watch Dan Bartlett respond to McClellan at 4 p.m. ET on The Situation Room
(CNN) - Former White House counselor Dan Bartlett lashed out at Scott McClellan in a telephone interview Wednesday, saying the allegations that the media was soft on the White House are "total crap," adding that advisers of President Bush are "bewildered and puzzled" by the allegations in McClellan's new book.
"It's almost like we're witnessing an out-of-body experience," Bartlett said of McClellan. "We're hearing from a completely different person we didn't have any insight into."
Bartlett added that intimates of the President feel McClellan has violated his trust. "Part of the role of being a trusted adviser is to honor that trust," said Bartlett. "It's not your place now to go out" and criticize the President like this.
"What did he really believe when he was serving as press secretary?" Bartlett asked.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - I don’t remember a time when a White House press secretary has written a book and made such explosive charges about a sitting president. That is exactly what Scott McClellan has done in his new book: “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.”
Yes, there have been White House insiders who have written books critical of their respective bosses. I remember George Stephanopolous and Robert Reich writing books that came down hard on Bill Clinton and his administration.
But McClellan goes way beyond any of that. He says the war in Iraq was a blunder. He writes that war “should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary.” Does that mean that the 4,000-plus American troops killed in Iraq and the hundreds of billions of dollars spent were for naught?
He says President Bush and his senior advisers “confused the propaganda campaign with the high level of candor and honesty so fundamentally needed to build and then sustain public support during a time of war.”
(CNN)–The CNN general election national poll of polls now shows both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton leading John McCain McCain by two points: 46 percent to 44 percent.
The last general election poll of polls - released May 15 - showed Obama leading McCain by five points (48 percent to 43 percent) and Clinton leading McCain by four points (48 percent to 44 percent).
Full poll results after the jump
(CNN) - With only three primary contests remaining in the prolonged race for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton is stepping up her efforts to convince potential voters and the party's superdelegates that she is a stronger general election candidate than Barack Obama.
In a particularly spirited speech Tuesday night at a Montana campaign event, the New York Senator suggested Obama is much more likely to lose to presumptive Republican nominee John McCain next fall.
"We have not gone through this exciting unprecedented historic election only to lose," Clinton said at an event in Billings, Montana.
"You have to ask yourself who is the stronger candidate?" she continued. "And based on every analysis of every bit of research and every poll that’s been taken and every state that a democrat has to win, I am the stronger candidate against John McCain in the fall."
It was not immediately clear which polls and states Clinton was specifically referencing.
Recent polls out of the crucial swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida have indicated she has a better chance of beating McCain in those places than Barack Obama. But the Illinois senator performs better is several other swing states that Democrats have historically had difficulty winning, such as New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic Party is likely to meet rule-breaking Florida and Michigan halfway when it comes to seating their delegates at the national convention, two members of the rules committee said Wednesday.
Such a move may help Sen. Hillary Clinton close the delegate gap with front-runner Sen. Barack Obama but not overtake him, said sources familiar with party deliberations.
The sources did not want to be identified because the full committee has not yet discussed the problem or ruled on it.
(CNN) - Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s predecessor, Ari Fleischer, said in a Wednesday statement that “There is something about [McClellan’s new] book that just doesn’t make any sense.”
Fleischer said McClellan had been an “always reliable, solid deputy” during his own White House tenure – but “not once did Scott approach me – privately or publicly – to discuss any misgivings he had about the war in Iraq or the manner in which the White House made the case for war.
“Scott himself repeatedly made the case for the war from the podium and even after he left the White House… If Scott had such deep misgivings, he should not have accepted the press secretary position as a matter of principle.”
Fleischer also said the book had changed dramatically from the way it had first been described to him, and that many of the passages did not sound like his former colleague, hinting that perhaps an editor had been responsible for the shift in tone.
“Nevertheless, it is Scott’s book and I want to hear his explanation for why he has had such a dramatic change in his point of view,” said Fleischer, who added that he continued to wish McClellan well on a personal level.