(CNN) - In what could be an ominous sign for Barack Obama just days before he is formally named the Democratic presidential nominee, a new CNN poll of polls out Tuesday shows the Illinois senator's lead over John McCain has been cut in half in recent days.
According to CNN's average of several recent national surveys, Obama's lead is now a slim 3 points over the Arizona senator, 46-43 percent - half of his advantage in a CNN poll of polls one week ago, and down from a high of 8 points in mid-July.
Election Center: Check out CNN's electoral map
The latest poll results come amid increased attacks from McCain on Obama's readiness to be commander-in-chief and the re-emergence of national security worries among voters in the wake of the Georgia crisis.
“Over the last week, we’ve seen Sen. Obama’s lead in the poll of polls cut in half,” noted CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib. “This change was likely driven by a renewed focus on foreign policy after Russia’s invasion of Georgia, as well as by Sen. McCain’s willingness to launch more aggressive attacks against Obama on issues such as off-shore drilling."
A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll out Tuesday evening was the latest national survey to indicate Obama's lead is dwindling, putting the Illinois senator ahead of McCain by only 2 points, well within the poll's margin of error. The CNN Poll of polls also includes new surveys from Quinnipiac and Gallup.
But the recent downturn in the polls for Obama may not last - the Democratic White House hopeful is headed for a week of what is likely to be overwhelmingly postive coverage as he names his running mate and officially accepts his party's presidential nomination.
"The big question now is whether Obama can successfully regain control of the campaign agenda as we head into the Democratic convention," Silverleib also said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With vice presidential speculation reaching fever pitch, Barack Obama's campaign said Tuesday that the Democrat will campaign in central Virginia later this week alongside V.P. contender Gov. Tim Kaine.
Kaine and Obama will host an invitation-only town hall meeting on Thursday in Chesterfield County, a suburb of Richmond. Kaine's sturdy performance in the traditionally conservative Richmond suburbs helped vault him to the governorship in 2005.
Kaine, the former mayor of Richmond, is widely regarded as one of the three top candidates for a slot on the Democratic ticket, along with Delaware Senator Joseph Biden and Indiana Senator Evan Bayh.
Obama has scheduled a campaign event for Saturday at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, where he kicked off his presidential bid - but the campaign would neither confirm or deny whether the candidate will appear with his running mate.
Obama will also stump in the commonwealth on Wednesday with Virginia’s other two Democratic stars, Senator Jim Webb and former Governor and current Senate candidate Mark Warner, who is scheduled to keynote the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
(CNN)—With less than a week to go until the Democratic convention in Denver, anticipation is building for Barack Obama’s vice presidential announcement. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider breaks down the latest polls and gives a preview of what to expect in the days ahead.
Meanwhile: John McCain continued his push for offshore drilling Tuesday. CNN’s Ed Henry reports on how the presumptive Republican nominee is looking to link high gas prices to his fall rival’s policy stands.
Plus: Internet reporter Abbi Tatton has the details on the role technology will play in the Democratic and Republican conventions.
Finally: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined with her NATO counterparts Tuesday in calling for Russian troops to withdraw from the Republic of Georgia. CNN’s Michael Ware has the details from that nation’s capital, Tbilisi.
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(CNN) - Tom Ridge downplayed the effect his pro-choice views would have in a John McCain administration during an interview with CNN Tuesday, the same day reports surfaced the former Pennsylvania governor is seriously being considered for the bottom half of the Republican presidential ticket.
"Everybody wants to be the vice president," Ridge said. "At the end of the day, you're only giving your private counsel to the president. Publicly you echo the president's position, and I think every vice president understands that and appreciates that's the rule."
Watch: Ridge defends McCain
"All I know is that my friend of 25 years, John McCain, is strongly and forever pro-life," Ridge also said. "He also believes that you shouldn't be judgmental on other people's point of view with regard to this and some other very difficult issues. And as I said before, I think he'll make the right choice for his vice presidential nominee."
Ridge - who was reportedly on President Bush's VP shortlist in 2000, and rumored to be a potential replacement for Dick Cheney in 2004 - did little to stem speculation he's again among the top picks for the No. 2 spot.
"We'll just have to wait to see, won't we?" he said when asked directly about the possibility.
(CNN) - Former Rep. Rob Portman - who reportedly figures high on John McCain’s VP shortlist - will attend the major campaign rally in Dayton, Ohio next week where the presumptive Republican nominee is expected to make his vice presidential announcement, amid mounting speculation the former Ohio congressman may join the GOP ticket.
Portman representative Rob Lehman confirmed that the former Bush official would be on hand at the event - which is scheduled for Friday, just hours after the Democratic convention officially ends - but added that his presence at the rally is not unusual. “He always tries to attend events when McCain is in Ohio," Lehman told CNN.
Portman campaigned on McCain’s behalf last week in Indiana.
(CNN) - Rush Limbaugh, the popular conservative talk-show host who's long been lukewarm to John McCain's candidacy, warned the Arizona senator Tuesday picking a pro-choice running mate could devastate the Republican Party.
Referencing reports McCain advisors are seriously considering both former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge and former Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman - both of whom favor abortion rights - Limbaugh said picking either of those men would ensure a GOP defeat, and damage the party’s brand for years to come.
"How about some discussion from the McCain campaign about a conservative who can be counted on across the board, who can help lead the country in the right direction?" said Limbaugh. "Who can help rebuild the Republican Party? Lieberman can’t do that - and rebuild the conservative movement? McCain nor Lieberman nor Ridge can do that.”
The comments come amid reports senior advisors to McCain are floating both Lieberman and Ridge's names among key social conservatives in an effort to measure the blowback the Arizona senator will face if he names either man to the ticket. One party insider tells CNN that McCain campaign manager Rick Davis has called several state party chairs and indicated Ridge will be the Republican vice presidential pick this cycle.
Limbaugh said Tuesday that the drawbacks of choosing either man far out-weighed any potential benefits.
"McCain has already seen to it that he can walk across the aisle that he’s the top of the ticket," Limbaugh said. "If anybody is going to attract moderates, it’s going to be the top of the ticket guy. He’s not going to help himself any additional way, he’s going to hurt himself by putting a liberal or a liberal Republican on this ticket, particularly pro-choice.”
(CNN) - Republican sources tell CNN that John McCain campaign manager Rick Davis and senior advisor Charlie Black have been calling activists to sound out the pros and cons of several possible running mates – including former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, a choice that could spark major discontent from the conservative base.
Several campaign officials say they do not believe a final decision has been made – though two sources say McCain may have already decided, and told only Davis. One party insider tells CNN that Davis has called several state party chairs indicating Ridge will be the Republican vice presidential pick this cycle – although it is possible that Christian conservatives may be playing up the former governor’s chances in an effort to raise alarm and prematurely kill off his candidacy.
Several conservative activists say they know McCain’s campaign manager has been warned of possible dire consequences for the Arizona senator’s presidential bid at the convention and beyond if he picks a candidate who supports abortion rights.
"If he picks Ridge, the convention blows up, you will have a base completely demoralized,” said one activist. “And it will be viewed that he is ceding the future of the GOP to a liberal Republican. It would be a disaster."
But the same activist also says McCain is unlikely to make that move, pointing to comments by the presumptive Republican nominee that he would most likely have an anti-abortion running mate, and remarks this weekend that he would have a "pro-life" presidency.
Yet another sign that Hillary Clinton is doing her dead-level best to take title to the Democratic National Convention.
In addition to the laundry list of concessions she has already wrung out of Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton plan to use the convention to raise money to pay off more of her campaign debt from the primaries.
Hillary Clinton has announced she will award one lucky donor a trip to the convention – with her. And in case that's not incentive enough, Bill Clinton sent an e-mail to potential contributors promising a memorable week with his wife.
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(CNN) - Barack Obama's campaign confirms that the Illinois senator will hold an event in his home state Saturday, kicking off the "roll into the convention" - but would not confirm or deny reports that he might be joined on stage by a running mate.
The event will be held in the Old State Capitol in Springfield - where Obama first launched his presidential bid a year and a half ago.
(CNN)— MoveOn.org has their sights set on Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s unexpectedly competitive contest for re-election in North Carolina, spending nearly half a million dollars on an ad accusing the North Carolina senator and fellow Republican John McCain of being “in the pocket of Big Oil.”
“We could have provided clean energy for a million homes…or reduced our dependence on foreign oil,” the announcer says. “Instead, John McCain and Elizabeth Dole allowed big oil companies to keep $13.5 billion dollars in tax breaks.”
Dole, who currently has $2.7 million in her campaign war chest to State Senator Kay Hagan’s $1.6 million, was thought to be a safe bet for re-election, but finds herself in an unexpectedly tough fight.
The 30-second spot, “Pocket,” is MoveOn’s first Senate race ad this cycle, according to Communications Director Ilyse Hogue. She added that MoveOn currently has no set plans to use similar versions of the ad in other states, but has not ruled out the possibility, as the nation’s energy woes continue to dominate headlines this campaign season.
Dole campaign spokesman Dan McLagan downplayed the potential statewide impact of the MoveOn buy, saying Dole had already been hit with a million dollars in outside spending, “and they are welcome to spend more. That dog ain't gonna hunt down here. These are the same surrender monkeys that called for a peaceful response to the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans. Their credibility in North Carolina is pretty low."