WASHINGTON (CNN)—Barack Obama officially opted out of public financing for the general election Monday, leaving him the option of raising unlimited campaign cash. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley has the details on how Obama came to the decision, and what this means for John McCain.
CNN’s Dana Bash reports on John McCain’s first-hand look at the floods that ripped through Iowa, on a trip that coincided with President Bush’s visit to the state.
While visiting Vietnam to promote Operation Smile, Cindy McCain sat down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with Chief National Correspondent John King. During the interview, she explains why she thinks she and Michelle Obama should be off-limits.
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(CNN) - After the long, bruising primary battle with Hillary Clinton, a lot of Democrats were concerned Barack Obama would have a problem getting support from women, but the big surprise is that it could be men who become the deciding factor this election cycle.
According to the latest CNN Opinion Research Corporation Poll Obama is running nearly even with John McCain among men. McCain has a slight edge with 49 percent to Obama’s 47 percent. Meanwhile, Obama leads McCain by 9 points among women 52 percent to 43 percent.
WATCH Why men could be the deciding factor
The support from men has become crucial for Republicans in past elections.
According to exit polls from the 2000 election, 53 percent of men helped George W. Bush get elected in 2000, with only 42 percent of men supporting Al Gore. In 2004 George Bush was re-elected with 55 percent support from men to John Kerry’s 44 percent. Most women voted for Gore and Kerry.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Majority Whip James Clyburn said Thursday he expects some Democratic legislators to hold back from endorsing Barack Obama because it could prove politically unwise in their congressional districts.
On CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," Clyburn was asked if some Democrats might follow the path of Oklahoma Rep. Dan Boren, who said last week he would not endorse Obama because the presumptive Democratic nominee holds liberal positions that are out of step with his constituents. (Yesterday, Boren clarified that he will indeed vote for Obama.)
Clyburn said “most Democrats in the United States Congress are going to be very supportive of this campaign” but predicted that others may be more hesitant.
WATCH Clyburn's interview from The Situation Room
"A lot of them are going to look at their congressional districts and see how the congressional district voted,” Clyburn said. "And they'll be holding back, waiting to get some signal from their constituents as to how they ought to conduct themselves."
It's justified for some conservative Democrats to withhold their support, Clyburn explained.
"That's how it should be, Wolf," he said. "It’s one thing for us to have a big tent party. But it's also another thing for these candidates to stay in close touch with their constituents. And I understand that."
(CNN) – A new Gallup poll suggests more than half of the country may support a proposal backed by President Bush and Sen. John McCain to allow states to authorize off-shore oil drilling, a practice currently banned by the federal government.
Fifty-seven percent of Americans favor allowing oil drilling in coastal and wilderness areas that are currently off-limits. Forty-one percent of Americans oppose allowing drilling in those areas, and 2 percent have no opinion.
The poll also reveals a partisan divide on the issue. Eighty percent of Republicans surveyed favored opening up off-limits areas to oil exploration and 56 percent of independents favored allowing the practice. But 59 percent of Democrats opposed the idea.
During the last week, the prospect of oil drilling off the U.S. coast has become into a major policy dispute between Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, respectively the presumptive Republican and Democratic nominees, and between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill.
The Gallup survey involved telephone interviews nationally with 1,013 adults aged 18 and older and was conducted May 19-21. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees – a 1.4 million-member union that backed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary – endorsed Barack Obama for president Thursday.
“AFSCME will mobilize more members and invest more resources than ever before to help Senator Obama win the White House,” AFSCME President Gerald McEntee said in a statement. “We will turn out an army of 40,000 AFSCME activists to knock on doors, make phones calls and talk with their co-workers and neighbors to produce an unprecedented turnout in the 2008 election.”
The backing of the nation’s largest public service sector union comes in the midst of a series of meetings in Washington this week between Obama and major labor leaders.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Bill and Hillary Clinton attended the memorial service for Tim Russert at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington on Thursday. That was the first time I have seen them since Senator Clinton dropped out of the presidential race and endorsed Barack Obama. She was very enthusiastic that day. It dawned on me yesterday that we still haven’t heard the former President formally endorse Senator Obama. I am sure he will be on the Obama bandwagon openly and energetically fairly soon. But I wonder what’s taking so long. Then again, is it really all that long?
As our CNN contributor and Democratic strategist James Carville has pointed out, it was only the other day when Al Gore endorsed Obama. We shouldn’t be surprised that Bill Clinton is waiting for the right moment to deliver his big endorsement speech. And having covered the Clinton White House, I can predict that it will be a major media event when he does. Bill Clinton is just one of those remarkable political figures. When he wants to do something, he has a knack of doing it in a spectacular way.
Stay posted with Wolf. Download the politics screensaver.
But after that big endorsement is made, how active will the former President be on the campaign trail?
(CNN) - Cindy McCain, wife of John McCain, said Thursday the spouses of the presidential candidates should be allowed to have some privacy.
"I do not think that spouses and family members ... are fair game," she told CNN's John King.
"There has to be some decorum left in politics and in American journalism as well. Our husbands are the candidates," she said.
Watch Cindy McCain entire interview on The Situation Room, beginning at 4 p.m. ET
(CNN) – John McCain and the Republican National Committee have issued sharp words for Barack Obama this week after Obama suggested in an interview that the United States can combat terrorism "within the constraints of the Constitution."
One McCain adviser said such comments demonstrate Obama’s foreign policy "weakness" and his "September 10th mindset."
But in consecutive days, the McCain campaign has attacked Obama's so-called "law enforcement approach" by offering up a pair of high-profile Republican surrogates who themselves have appeared to favor legal avenues for prosecuting terrorists.
The McCain campaign pressed their case against Obama on Thursday by convening a conference call with former GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson.
Thompson accused Obama of being "inconsistent on matters of national security and foreign policy" and criticized Obama's support for last week's milestone Supreme Court ruling, which determined that terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay should be granted habeas corpus rights.
But during Thompson’s presidential run, he also appeared to support legal pathways if Osama bin Laden were captured.
Watch a clip of John King's interview with Cindy McCain.
(CNN) - As the presidential campaigns of John McCain and Barack Obama tangle over which is unfairly dragging the prospective first ladies into the general election battle, Cindy McCain sent a signal this morning that she’s not about to step out of the fray.
The wife of presumptive Republican nominee John McCain stood behind her initial response to Democratic counterpart Michelle Obama’s comment that for the first time she was “really proud” of her country. She told CNN’s John King that her own remark – that she had “always” been proud of her country – had been a spontaneous response, not a planned attack.
“I’m an emotional woman when it comes to service to our country. I’ve watched many people’s children leave and go serve,” she said. “This is something that is the fiber of the McCain family. It was nothing more than me just saying, look, I believe in this country so strongly.”
“I think [Obama is] a fine woman and a good mother” but that both women were just “in an interesting line of work right now.”
Watch King’s full interview on The Situation Room at 4 p.m. ET
Sen. Obama released an ad Thursday that emphasizes patriotism and values.
(CNN) - Barack Obama’s campaign released its first ad of the general election campaign Thursday, a 60-second spot designed to highlight his patriotism and values.
“Country I Love” will air in some perennial swing states including Florida, Michigan and Indiana – but also in some traditionally Republican areas that the Obama campaign is hoping to compete in this fall, such as Georgia, North Dakota and Virginia.
WATCH Sen. Obama's new ad "Country I love"
The spot features a single-camera shot of Obama addressing the camera. “America is a country of strong families and strong values,” says the presumptive Democratic nominee. “My life’s been blessed by both.”
Earlier this week, John McCain released its first general election spot, “Global.” The 30-second spot, which is airing in traditional battleground states, seeks to spotlight McCain’s maverick reputation and environmental credentials.
The Obama campaign said the ad will air Friday in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia.
(Full script after the jump)