February 3rd, 2008
12:00 PM ET
13 years ago

On final swing to Super Tuesday, candidates everywhere

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/03/art.supertues.ap.jpg caption=" McCain boards his plane for a day of marathon campaigning ahead of Super Tuesday."]
- While the nation was gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday, the remaining contenders for the presidency kicked off their final maneuvers for Super Tuesday, fine-tuning their closing messages in appearances on the Sunday talk shows and fanning out across the nation for an exhaustive list of last-minute campaign stops.

Sen. John McCain expressed some hope of clinching his party's nomination Tuesday - and, minutes later, found himself speaking on live national television with Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has vowed she is the Democrat best prepared to beat him in a general election.

Smiling and exchanging pleasantries briefly on "Fox News Sunday," the two - apparently unaware they'd be put on the air together live between their separate interviews from different cities - vowed that if selected for their parties' nominations they would have a "respectful" debate focusing on serious "differences."

Of course, neither knows who will ultimately enter the general election. Clinton is locked in a neck-and-neck race with Sen. Barack Obama. McCain has a clear lead in polls heading toward Tuesday, but is facing stepped-up attacks by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Asked whether he may win the nomination Tuesday, McCain responded, "I hope so. But you know, you don't know for sure. I think we got a lot of good momentum and a lot of endorsements, and crowds who are enthusiastic, and we're working hard, and I'm guardedly optimistic."

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Clinton, meanwhile, focused on specific parts of her platform, talking to both Fox and ABC about her plans for universal health care and the economy.

Working to draw a distinction from Obama, she told ABC's "This Week," "I've been taking the incoming fire from Republicans for about sixteen years now, and I'm still here, because I have been vetted, I have been tested."

Obama, on CBS' "Face the Nation," reiterated his argument that because many Republicans consider Clinton "polarizing," he stands a better chance of drawing "independents and others that Clinton cannot."

Obama's campaign, fueled by momentum from victory in South Carolina's primary and a heavy influx of monetary donations in January, faced a new twist Sunday when the New York Times ran a front page story examining Obama's work in the Illinois state senate involving radioactive leaks. On his Web site, the campaign challenged the story.

But a series of polls showing him closing the gap on Clinton's national lead - including in California, the most delegate-rich prize in Tuesday's race - left Obama's campaign enthusiastic about his prospects to clinch a large number of delegates Tuesday.

While Obama was in Delaware and Clinton had stops in Missouri and Minnesota, both had their superstar surrogates at work in California. Former President Bill Clinton visited several predominantly African-American churches in southern California, while Oprah Winfrey planned to take part in a rally for Obama in Los Angeles.

The former president also plans to watch the Super Bowl with former Democratic presidential contender Bill Richardson, a popular figure in the Latino community. Richardson has not endorsed a candidate since dropping out of the race. Latinos are a core constituency for Clinton, though Obama has fought to win over Latinos, partly with the help of Sen. Ted Kennedy.

If Clinton and Obama split delegates in Tuesday's Democratic contests in 22 states and American Samoa, the Democratic contest could easily last weeks longer.

Romney, hoping to force a similar situation on the GOP side - where 21 states will hold their contests - fought to capitalize Sunday on the frustration many conservatives feel with McCain.

He told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" that "conservative voices, both from radio and from publications, are saying, 'you know what, we've got to get behind Mitt Romney. We really can't afford John McCain as the nominee of our party.'

"And that kind of groundswell I think is what led me to win in Maine yesterday."

The Maine caucuses are still under way, and CNN has not projected a winner. Early results showed Romney with an apparent lead.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a conservative who trails in national polls, rejected any suggestions that he may soon drop out.

"I think people need to remember that the people are going to make this choice, not the national pundits," he told CNN's "Late Edition."

Huckabee added, "Come Tuesday, we feel like we are going to pick up quite a few delegates and do very well. And we are going to keep going."

Huckabee was in Georgia Sunday, while McCain was in Connecticut and Romney had events in Illinois and Missouri.

No major public events were scheduled at nighttime however. It seemed no candidate wanted to try to compete with the Super Bowl.

- CNN's Josh Levs

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Conservative4Life, USA

    McCain is WRONG About the Middle East

    I keep hearing McCain say one thing over and over that is patently untrue and underscores how he is so wrong about the Middle East. Here's the problem. McCain fundamentally does not understand the type of war that is going on in the Middle East, nor does he understand how America's presence there is perceived.

    In his own words: "...It's not American presence, it's American casualties. We have American troops all over the world today and nobody complains about it because we're defending freedom." (NYT January 24, 2008 Republican Debate)

    McCain, you are wrong – it IS about our presence there! It has always been about our presence there!!! This isn't Japan or Germany who welcomed us there as liberators. What McCain fails to understand is this: we're not dealing with people who think like us. We're not dealing with people who can be appeased with money or concessions. The minute we step foot in the Middle East, we're on their turf. And to them, it's not only personal, it's religious! The sooner we can bring about stability in Iraq the better, because we need to be out of there the very next day, NOT IN 100 YEARS!!! Anyone else that thinks otherwise does not understand the region at all! The only thing McCain understands is that we need to win at all cost there. Well, it's the "at all cost" that is going to be his undoing, and ours if we let him.

    February 3, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. matt UK

    IF YOU WANT THE DREAM TICKET- VOTE FOR HILLARY. She will nominate Obama for VP without a shadow of a doubt wherever you ask or inquire, but he will not do the same for her. and if he cant reach out as far as clinton, i fail to see how he can reach out as far as republicans.

    If that doesn't clinch it for you, and neither will the issues, then what can?

    February 3, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. Gwen

    I'm amazed at how stupid so many Americans are. I've read most of the comments on this page. The ignorance is overwhelming. All of these candidates get up everyday, unlike most of us, and try to do something positive for this country. None of them are perfect, but neither are you. We simply need to remove the fumbling idiot that currently resides in our house and replace him with someone who has proven strength and will, who is capable of doing the job. Not someone who simply has great ideas, but someone who can make the vision a reality. The Clintons did it before, if you look at the facts, it was the most successful and peaceful period of our country's history. Hillary is the only one really ready to be hired for the job. Obama is not ready to handle this yet, he needs more time to prepare. I ask everyone as a fellow American to make an intelligent vote, not an uninformed or emotional vote.

    February 3, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. Kris K.

    Where are the voters in the equation? It is just an indication of what the Clinton's and McCain (McCranky) think of voters. Nothing has been decided yet. Doesn't anyone else find their postition of what the final outcome will be insulting? Why are we voting if it has all been decided?)

    February 3, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. Toni

    I do not understand why McCain is considered such an authority on war, simply because he was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. Plus the tactics used in Vietnam are completely different than the ones used in Iraq.

    February 3, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |


    February 3, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. matt UK


    The only way to get barack and hillary on the same ticket is to VOTE HILLARY. and that's unstoppable. sorry folks. thats not just my opinion, its expert concensus, even among republicans. look it up, anywhere.

    February 3, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. John chalz


    February 4, 2008 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  9. AJ

    This just goes to show that the voters of Californina are fickle and cant make up their minds about anything. The land of fruits and nuts has spoken for Obama. I wonder what kind of deals were made with the Gov. in order to get the do-nothing Maria to endorse Obama? Americans are easily duped.

    February 4, 2008 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  10. WMW

    Hillary can beat McCain but if Ron Paul gets the respect he deserves and the American people start hearing his message instead of having him silenced by the so-called free press which is anything but free press, then we will see the Republicans start to have a chance!

    February 4, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  11. Marwa

    Air Deadbeat is still bnicdaastorg?I haven't seen a moonbat mentioning AD and their on-air personalities (can't write talent) on forums like the DU for, gotta be at least 6 months or more.

    February 17, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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