(CNN) – Just over a week after creating a vice presidential selection committee, Barack Obama’s committee head Jim Johnson steps down. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux reports on the most recent development.
John McCain received some tough criticism Wednesday for his comment on the importance of bringing the troops home from Iraq. CNN’s Dana Bash has the details.
Meanwhile, as both candidates head to Pennsylvania Friday, Wolf Blitzer takes you on a overview of that swing state’s voting history.
Finally: Is Obama surpassing McCain’s effort to coalesce Clinton’s core constituency? CNN’s Jessica Yellin tells viewers why female voters are warming up to the presumptive Democratic nominee.
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(CNN) - A new poll out Wednesday suggests Barack Obama is picking up support among older female voters, a demographic that largely voted for Hillary Clinton in the prolonged Democratic primary race.
The findings could be a sign the Illinois senator is making significant strides among that bloc of voters, who had been fiercely loyal to Clinton and potentially ambivalent about supporting Obama in the general election.
According the new survey out by Gallup, Obama now holds a 6 point lead over McCain among women over 50 nationwide, 47 to 41 percent. That compares to a 3 point lead (46 to 43 percent) McCain held over Obama in a similar poll taken last week just days before Hillary Clinton conceded the nomination.
Extended to all female voters, Obama now holds a 13 point lead over McCain, up 8 points from this time last week.
Eight days after the Democratic nomination officially came to an end, Alan Silverleib, CNN Senior Political Researcher, said the poll provides "solid evidence that the wounds of the Democrats’ long primary season are already starting to heal."
“Obama will need most of Clinton’s women supporters to beat McCain in November," Silverleib said. "Fortunately for Obama, many of these supporters are apparently rallying to his side.”
(CNN) - Meghan McCain, daughter of presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain, is trying her hand at being a children's author.
The publishing giant Simon & Schuster announced Wednesday that McCain, 23, will write a children's book about her famous father set to be published during the first week of September - the same week as the Republican Party's national convention in Minneapolis.
"I am truly excited about the opportunity to write a children’s book about my father, who is not only a fantastic dad, but also a great American," McCain said in a statement. "This book will offer children the unique opportunity to see the character building events that happened over his lifetime, experiences that led up to his current bid to become the future President of the United States."
Simon & Schuster said it will donate a portion of the proceeds from the book to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, an organization that aids military personnel and veterans who have brain injuries.
Meaghan McCain has already drawn attention for her writing this year - her campaign blog became a primary season phenomenon.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - One after another, they jumped ship and left Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign to back her Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama. And while the chapter on her campaign may be closed, there are still open wounds over those who've crossed the Clintons.
"So today, I am standing with Sen. Obama to say, 'yes we can!' " Clinton said on Saturday.
Yes, Clinton can support Obama in his race for the presidency. But as for the former Clinton supporters who switched sides, forgiving and forgetting might not come that easily.
The New York Times reported that some Clinton loyalists have been keeping tabs on those who have crossed the Clintons.
But CNN contributor and longtime Clinton backer James Carville told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Wednesday that article is "laughable."
"It's a very silly piece ... There really wasn't a list ... It's laughable. I talked to a lot of people in Clinton land today and they're not even sure what the point of the story was," he said.
One former Clinton adviser, however, said there's no doubt some have forever burned bridges with the power couple.
(CNN) - Barack Obama's campaign seized on an interview Wednesday by presidential rival John McCain where he said the date when U.S. troops can begin to withdraw from Iraq is "not too important."
The Arizona senator made the comments on NBC's Today Show where he was asked if he had an estimate of when a withdrawal process may be possible.
"No, but that's not too important," McCain replied. "What’s important is the casualties in Iraq, Americans are in South Korea, Americans are in Japan, American troops are in Germany. That’s all fine. American casualties and the ability to withdraw; we will be able to withdraw."
In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Obama surrogate and former presidential candidate John Kerry said McCain consistently confuses facts about the war and is "unbelievably out of touch."
"It is unbelievably out of touch and inconsistent with the needs of Americans and particularly the families of troops who are over there," the Massachusetts senator said. "To them it’s the most important thing in the world when they come home. It’s a policy for staying in Iraq."
Later when asked if calling McCain "confused" could be taken as a shot at the 71-year-old senator's age, Kerry said that suggestion was "unfair and ridiculous."
Meanwhile, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said the Obama campaign is launching "a false attack."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A key member of Barack Obama's vice-presidential search team, James Johnson, is stepping down after criticism over a mortgage he received, the Obama campaign said.
"Jim did not want to distract in any way from the very important task of gathering information about my vice presidential nominee, so he has made a decision to step aside that I accept," the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said in a statement.
Republicans had been hammering Johnson since the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that he received a good deal on a mortgage from Countrywide due to his friendship with the company's CEO Angelo Mozilo. Obama has criticized Countrywide in connection with the subprime mortgage crisis.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - One of the most awkward developments for Bush administration and McCain campaign officials to defend is the appearance of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Iran, embracing and kissing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranians are widely accused by U.S. military and civilian officials of helping to kill American troops in Iraq. The Iranian leader is widely accused of supporting a covert nuclear weapons program. He has been quoted calling for Israel to be removed from the map. So why is the top U.S. ally in Iraq kissing him?
The Administration’s defense is that the Iraqis need to work out a good, long-term relationship with their Iranian neighbors. High-level discussions between the Iraqi and Iranian leadership, they say, will help – not hurt – the overall security situation in Iraq.
The Democrats, including Barack Obama, make the point that Iranians have in fact been the big winner in the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Iran is a more influential player in the region now, especially since it no longer has to worry about its former Number One enemy, Saddam Hussein.
All this takes on a greater significance now that the U.S. and Iraqi governments are trying to negotiate what’s called a Status of Forces agreement in Iraq. That would spell out the terms for a prolonged U.S. military stay. The Iranians are telling the Iraqis that the U.S. must pull out. And some Iraqis agree.
“The Americans are making demands that would lead to the colonization of Iraq,” Sami al-Askari, a senior Iraqi politician close to the Prime Minister told The Washington Post. “If we can’t reach a fair agreement, many people think we should say ‘Goodbye, U.S. troops. We don’t need you here anymore.’”
The Democrats and Republicans might be settled on their nominees now, but that doesn't mean Barack Obama and John McCain are the only ones in the spotlight.
Maureen Dowd writes in her New York Times column called "Mincing up Michelle" that now that HIllary Clinton is out of the race, the Republican machine can turn its full attention to demonizing Michelle Obama. "She is the new, unwilling contestant in Round Two of the sulfurous national game of "'Kill the witch.'"
There are web sites dedicated to portraying Michelle as a female version of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a recent cover of the National Review called her "Mrs. Grievance" and one popular conservative blogger described her as "Obama's bitter half."
Michelle Obama stirred controversy last February when she said, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country." The campaign clarified that she meant she was proud of the participation of thousands of Americans, but it still led to accusations that she was unpatriotic.
Cindy McCain has also drawn criticism. When she first refused to release her tax returns, some said that wasn't consistent with her husband's message of openness. Mrs. McCain has also talked about her addiction to painkillers in the early 90s, and how she initially kept it secret from her husband and family.
So what is fair game when it comes to the nominees' spouses?
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
(CNN) - Scarlett Johansson, it appears, has a crush on Barack Obama.
The Golden Globe-nominated actress, who has long been an Obama supporter, told the Politico on Tuesday she often e-mails the Illinois senator and is amazed he takes the time to write back.
“You’d imagine that someone like the senator who is constantly traveling and constantly ‘on’ — how can he return these personal e-mails?” she told Politico. “But he does, and in his off-time I know he also calls people who have donated the minimum to thank them. Nobody sees it, nobody talks about it, but it’s incredible.”
“I feel like I’m supporting someone, and having a personal dialogue with them, and it’s amazing," Johansson said.
Specifically, Johansson said she e-mailed Obama following the last Democratic debate in Pennsylvania, after which the moderators were criticized for focusing on trivial issues instead of more pressing matters. The Hollywood starlet said she wrote Obama to congratulate him for "holding his ground."