(CNN)—Massive crowds take to the streets in Berlin in hopes of getting a glimpse of Barack Obama as his delivers his highly anticipated foreign affairs speech. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley highlights the presumptive Democratic nominee’s speech from Berlin, while Chief National Correspondent John King takes a look at how the speech is being perceived in the political world.
Meanwhile back in the United States, John McCain seems to be taking a dim view of Obama’s trip abroad. CNN’s Mary Snow has the latest criticism coming from the presumptive Republican nominee.
Finally: Two states moved into the toss-up column on CNN’s Electoral Map. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider tells you which states shifted and what it means for both presidential candidates.
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(CNN) — Barack Obama holds a 3-point lead over John McCain in the latest CNN poll of polls.
The new average of the three most recent national surveys of registered voters shows the Illinois senator at 44 percent with McCain standing at 41 percent. About 15 percent say they are undecided.
The margin between the two presidential candidates has dropped by half over the past week: in a CNN poll of polls taken July 16, Obama and McCain were separated by 6 points.
The latest poll of polls includes recent surveys from Gallup, Fox News, and NBC/Wall Street Journal.
(CNN) - During a week he's struggling to wrestle media attention away from Barack Obama's trip abroad, new polls out Thursday show John McCain has narrowed the gap in four crucial battleground states.
New surveys conducted by Quinnipiac, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal suggest the Arizona senator is in a more favorable position in Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin than he was one month ago.
In Colorado, McCain now holds a 2 point lead over Obama, 46 to 44 percent - a significant reversal from a similar poll conducted last month that put the Illinois senator on top there by 5 points.
In equally good news for McCain, Obama now only holds a two point lead in Minnesota - the state that's playing host the Republican National Convention in early September. A similar poll one month ago had Obama on top by 17 points. The new poll result has prompted CNN to switch Minnesota from a state that is "leaning" Obama to a "toss-up" in its electoral map.
The race also remains tight in Michigan, with Obama holding a 4 point lead there, 46 percent to 42 percent. That's down from the 6 point lead Obama held there last month.
The Democratic presidential candidate still holds a significant lead in Wisconsin, though there too the gap has narrowed over the last month. In June, Obama led the Illinois senator by 13 points, 52 to 39 percent. Now that lead is down to 11 points, 50-39 percent.
(CNN) - Sen. John McCain sharpened his attacks against Sen. Barack Obama on Thursday, saying he'd rather give a speech in Germany as president than as a presidential candidate.
Obama was in Berlin for the latest leg of an international trip intended to bolster his foreign policy credentials at home and set out his vision for a new era of transatlantic cooperation.
McCain was campaigning Thursday in Ohio, focusing on health care.
Speaking to reporters outside Schmidt's Restaurant and Banquet Haus, a German eatery in Columbus, Ohio, McCain responded to Obama's Berlin speech, which attracted large crowds at the Victory Column.
"Well, I'd love to give a speech in Germany ... a political speech or a speech that maybe the German people would be interested in," he said. "But I would much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate for the office of the presidency."
(CNN) – Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was able to dodge questions about the vice presidential game – for a second.
At a news conference outside a Bloomington, Minnesota gas station to promote John McCain’s energy plan, the questions turned to whether he’s atop the presumptive Republican nominee’s running mate shortlist.
Pawlenty paused and turned to the gas station owner next to him. To laughter, the owner said “I’m really flattered you’re considering me, asking that question.”
But the governor offered little more, saying he has “stopped engaging in the discussion.” He told reporters, “I’m honored to have my name mentioned. I have just stopped engaging in the speculation because I think it is largely speculation, and it just fuels more speculation.”
(CNN) - Support for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama extend to death row Wednesday.
According to The Jackson Clarion Ledger, a Mississippi newspaper, death row inmate Dale Leo Bishop's final words before being executed Wednesday night included an appeal to Americans to vote for the Illinois senator.
"For those who oppose the death penalty and want to see it end, our best bet is to vote for Barack Obama because his supporters have been working behind the scenes to end this practice," Bishop said, according to the paper.
Bishop was convicted in 2000 of participating in the murder of a man who was beaten to death with a claw hammer two years earlier. Bishop himself did not deliver the fatal blow and, not including contract killings, is only the eighth person executed who did not directly kill his victim since the death penalty was reinstated 32 years ago, according to the paper.
Obama himself is not explicitly against the death penalty, saying it should be reserved for "only the most heinous crimes." He also said he disagreed with a Supreme Court decision last month that struck down the death penalty for child rape.
"I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes," Obama said then. "I think that the rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances the death penalty is at least potentially applicable that that does not violate our Constitution."
He's also said he would support the death penalty for Osama bin Laden.
(CNN) — Two more states have shifted to the toss-up column in the new CNN Electoral Map that charts the candidates’ strength leading up to the November election.
Minnesota – which had turned from toss-up to “leans Obama” in the last analysis – is back up for grabs, along with New Mexico, which had been classified “leans McCain.” The shift of both states gives the Arizona senator a net gain of five votes over his standing in the previous CNN Electoral Map – but his opponent still has 221 electoral votes — 32 more than McCain’s total of 189, and 49 shy of winning the presidency.
CNN made the change in New Mexico after new polling conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center showed that demographic, a major voting bloc in the state, backs Obama’s candidacy by a margin of greater than 2 to 1, 66 percent to 23 percent. Minnesota’s move comes after a new Quinnipac survey finds Obama’s lead in that state has shrunk to a statistically insignificant 2-point margin, 46 percent to 44 percent.
Election: Check out CNN's new electoral map
This is only a CNN estimate, and is likely to change many more times before Election Day.
Obama speaks in Berlin, German Thursday. (AP Photo)
(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama on Thursday challenged people to look to Berlin as an example of what can be accomplished when nations come together to tackle global challenges.
"This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life," he said before a massive crowd at Berlin's Victory Column.
Obama introduced himself as a "proud citizen of the United States and a fellow citizen of the world."
Thousands gathered for Obama's highly anticipated speech - an event the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said was not a "political rally."
(CNN) - Barack Obama has opted against plans to visit wounded members of the U.S. military in Germany over concern that trip might be viewed as a political one.
“During his trip as part of the CODEL to Afghanistan and Iraq, Senator Obama visited the combat support hospital in the Green Zone in Baghdad and had a number of other visits with the troops,” Obama senior advisor Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
“For the second part of his trip, the senator wanted to visit the men and women at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to express his gratitude for their service and sacrifice. The senator decided out of respect for these servicemen and women that it would be inappropriate to make a stop to visit troops at a U.S. military facility as part of a trip funded by the campaign.”
(CNN) – Shortly before Barack Obama took the stage in Berlin, Germany Thursday, John McCain’s campaign tried to keep the spotlight on domestic concerns with a conference call focused on the nation’s energy crisis, and Democratic opposition to off-shore oil drilling. “Barack Obama is touring Europe and back home his leadership, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, are opposing any effort to expand exploration in the United States,” said McCain policy advisor Doug Holtz-Eakin.
The call was originally intended to highlight a visit by the presumptive Republican nominee to an off-shore oil rig in Louisiana - a photo op that had to be scrubbed late Wednesday, as Hurricane Dolly headed for the Gulf Coast.
Listen: McCain advisors say Democratic policy is costing Americans at the pump