(CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton got some bad news Wednesday when Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights legend and prominent African-American superdelegate, announced he is no longer supporting Clinton and now backs Sen. Barack Obama. Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley reports on the Lewis endorsement and Clinton's game plan in the final days before March 4.
Clinton and Obama may be rivals but they have both pledged to begin to withdraw American troops from Iraq if they win the White House. Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr investigates the implications of a Democratic win in November on the U.S. military and the conflict in Iraq.
The oil industry may be hit with tax increases if Democrats in Congress get their way. Brian Todd looks at the politics of petroleum as gas prices continue to rise and the American public turns its attention to the general election later this year.
In Tuesday night's Democratic debate, Sen. Clinton made an issue of Sen. Obama's failure to hold a single substantive oversight hearing on Afghanistan in his capacity as chairman of a Senate subcommittee. Jessica Yellin takes a closer look at Clinton's assertions about Obama's record on Afghanistan.
Finally, we remember conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr. who died Wednesday.
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–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/02/27/art.lewis.gi.jpg caption=" Rep. John Lewis is now backing Obama."]
ATLANTA (CNN) - Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who backed Hillary Clinton in his state's Democratic presidential primary, announced Wednesday that he is switching his support to Barack Obama to reflect the will of his constituents.
"Something is happening in America," the 11-term congressman, a bloodied veteran of the civil rights movement, said in a statement issued by his office.
"There is a movement, there is a spirit, there is an enthusiasm in the hearts and minds of the American people that I have not seen in a long time, since the candidacy of Robert Kennedy."
In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Obama called Lewis "an American hero."
"I am deeply honored to have his support," he added.
Lewis endorsed Clinton, the senator from New York and former first lady, in October. But his central Atlanta district went strongly for Obama, the senator from Illinois, in Georgia's Feb. 5 primary - forcing what he called "a difficult decision" for him.
"As a U.S. representative, it is my role not to try to subdue or suppress the will of the people, but to help it prosper and grow," he said.
Lewis is a member of the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives and a Democratic "superdelegate," one of the elected officials and party leaders who will not be bound by the results of primary elections or caucuses when they vote on the party's presidential nominee at its August convention in Denver. He is also a longtime friend of Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and said he had "a deep and abiding love" for both.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/02/26/art.debate2.ap.jpg caption=" Clinton raised Obama's subcommittee chairmanship at Tuesday's debate."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign Wednesday pounced on Sen. Barack Obama's acknowledgment that he has yet to hold a substantive hearing since becoming chairman of a Senate subcommittee on Europe.
The admission during Tuesday night's Democratic debate offered a "glimpse of the real Barack Obama," and was emblematic of the Illinois senator's light record of results, the Clinton camp said in an e-mail.
Obama "did not hold a single oversight hearing because he was too busy running for president; the Barack Obama who spends his time talking about change you can believe in instead of change you actually can count on," the e-mail stated.
Clinton herself raised the issue at the debate in Cleveland.
'"He chairs the subcommittee on Europe. It has jurisdiction over NATO. NATO is critical to our mission in Afghanistan," she said. "He's held not one substantive hearing to do oversight, to figure out what we can do to actually have a stronger presence with NATO in Afghanistan."
In response, Obama noted he has only served as the committee's chairman since January of 2007, just when his presidential campaign was beginning - a fact the Clinton campaign's memo also highlighted.
"But by his own admission, he was too busy running for president to conduct a single substantive hearing of the committee he chairs," the memo stated. "So he would rather talk about what he would do rather than do it through the responsibility he had.”
For the record, Obama has held two hearings on ambassadorial nominations, but no oversight hearings.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/04/art.blitzer.cnn.jpg caption=" The economy issue could help the Democrats."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - If the economy is weak in November, the Democrats will have a great chance of winning the White House and increasing their majorities in the House and Senate.
That’s the prevailing view among many political insiders of both parties. They say voters will tend to blame eight years of Republican leadership in the White House under President Bush for their fears of losing their jobs, homes and health insurance. If voters are worried about recession and inflation, they will want to see change in Washington. That, these insiders say, would be the major factor in the election.
They remember what happened in 1992. The economy was the dominant issue in that campaign when Bill Clinton challenged then-President George H.W. Bush. Bush was coming off the heels of a major win in the first Gulf War when he ordered half a million troops to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s occupation. At the end of 1991, we saw the collapse of the Soviet Union, ending more than 70 years of Communist rule in Russia and the other Soviet Republics. The president had enormous national security and foreign policy experience. But it was all for naught.
By mid-1992, there were serious fears of recession. People were worried about the bread-and-butter issues and they wanted change. Bill Clinton may have been a governor from Arkansas with limited foreign policy experience, but voters flocked to him and he won. With serious concern over the economy right now, Democrats are hoping to see the same scenario played out this year irrespective of whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is the party’s nominee.
There is, of course, a huge wild card out there – the war in Iraq and the overall war on terror. We don’t know what is going to happen over the coming months on either front. If Americans come to fear a major terror threat, or if there is another major terror strike against the United States, all bets might be off. Voters could rally behind John McCain, who has lots of national security experience.
Just some thoughts to consider as this hectic campaign season continues.
–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/02/27/art.clintonplane.ap.jpg caption=" Clinton says she remains optimistic."]COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) - After a debate performance that did little to alter the dynamic of the Democratic primary race, Hillary Clinton on Wednesday presented a stay-the-course optimism about her campaign as it heads into the final stretch before crucial primaries in Ohio and Texas.
Hillary Clinton told a gaggle of reporters on board her airplane during a flight from Cleveland to Columbus that at this late stage of the primary race, "people are really rallying to my candidacy."
Clinton said she was "really pleased" with her debate performance in Cleveland, arguing that she was able to present "some real contrasts" against Barack Obama, especially on the issues of health care and the economy.
"What I feel is happening is that people are turning towards the big questions that we should have to answer in this campaign," she said. "Give me the best Commander in Chief. Who do you want in the White House answering the phone at three a.m.? Who is the best steward of the economy?"
Clinton said that along with getting a second look from voters, her campaign continues to raise $1 million a day over the internet, a factoid she has been touting since Super Tuesday.
Despite that cheery forecast, her campaign sent out a fundraising e-mail Wednesday from Bill Clinton that accused Obama of trying to drown out his primary opponent with a barrage of TV ads.
"So let's show the Obama campaign that they can't win this race just by throwing more money at it," the email said, seeking to raise $1.9 million in the next 24 hours.
Clinton is hosting an "Economic Solutions Summit" in Zanesville on Wednesday, followed by two rallies in the towns of St. Clairsville and Belpre. She heads to Texas late Thursday for the remainder of the week, hitting the major media markets of Houston, San Antonio and Dallas/Fort Worth.
- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/POLITICS/02/27/mccain.obama.iraq/art.mccain.camp.gi.jpg caption=" McCain and Obama got into a back in forth over Iraq Wednesday."]COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) – Presidential frontrunners Barack Obama and John McCain clashed over Iraq policy Wednesday, as the Illinois Democrat directed most of his criticism at the Arizona Republican – not his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton – during a campaign stop in this capital city six days before next week’s primary.
“John McCain may like to say he wants to follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, but so far all he’s done is follow George Bush into a misguided war in Iraq,” Obama said.
Earlier, McCain released a statement that attacked Obama for his comments at Tuesday’s debate that were critical of the Iraq war.
"Last night, we also heard Sen. Obama say that once he withdrew US forces from Iraq he would 'reserve the right' to act 'if Al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq,'” McCain said in the statement. “Is Sen. Obama unaware that Al Qaeda is still present in Iraq, that our forces are successfully fighting them every day, and that his Iraq policy of withdrawal would embolden Al Qaeda and weaken our security?
“Where is the audacity of hope when it comes to backing the success of our troops all the way to victory in Iraq? What we heard last night was the timidity of despair. Our allies deserve better, our soldiers deserve better, and so do the American people."
During his appearance at Ohio State University, Obama accused McCain of trying to score cheap political points.
“McCain thought that he could make a clever point by saying 'Well, let me give you some news, Barack, al Qaida IS in Iraq,' like I wasn’t reading the papers, like I didn’t know what was going on. …”
A new poll out Wednesday suggests McCain will be difficult to beat in November. (Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new poll out Wednesday suggests Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, will be a difficult candidate for the eventual Democratic nominee to beat in a general election match up this fall.
According to a just released Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, McCain would be in tight races with either of the remaining Democratic presidential candidates.
McCain is statistically tied with Sen. Barack Obama, 44 percent to 42 percent, and ahead of Sen. Hillary Clinton by 6 points, 46 percent to 40 percent. The poll's margin of error was plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.
The poll also showed McCain with a 61 percent approval rating, a number higher than both Clinton's and Obama's in past polls. (A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll earlier this month measured Clinton's approval rating at 52 percent and Obama's at 58 percent.)
The Arizona senator holds a clear advantage on dealing with the war in Iraq, according to the poll, and holds a 9 point advantage on economic issues over Obama, despite having acknowledged that area is not his expertise. Though the poll finds voters favor Clinton by 10 points over McCain to handle the economy.
The same poll also showed Obama with a 6 point edge over Clinton nationally - a finding that's consistent with several other polls out earlier this week that indicate that the senator from Illinois is the frontrunner in the Democratic race.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/02/27/art.clinton.msnbc.gi.jpg caption=" Sen. Hillary Clinton at last nights debate in Clevland, Ohio."]
Early on in last night's debate, Clinton referenced a Saturday Night Live skit that showed reporters fawning over Obama and showering him with softball questions. She said, "Maybe we should ask Barack if he's comfortable and needs another pillow." Clinton also whined about getting asked the first question more often in the last several debates.
The Clinton campaign has been complaining recently – more so since she has fallen behind – that the news media is tougher on her than Obama. It's a tactic as old as politics: things aren't going well, blame the media.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/02/27/art.buckley.ap.jpg caption=" William F. Buckley, Jr. has died."](CNN) - National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. died overnight at his home in Stamford, Conn., officials at the magazine confirmed Wednesday.
"I’m devastated to report that our dear friend, mentor, leader, and founder William F. Buckley Jr., died this morning in his study in Stamford, Connecticut," Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of the National Review Online wrote on the Web site Wednesday.
"He died while at work; if he had been given a choice on how to depart this world, I suspect that would have been exactly it. At home, still devoted to the war of ideas. "
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General Michael Mukasey is getting his first look at the controversial military prison complex at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Mukasey arrived late Wednesday morning for the previously unannounced trip, which is expected to last only about five hours.
"The visit provided him with the opportunity to see first hand the state of the art detention facility at the station," said Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr.
Mukasey is scheduled to meet with military personnel and other officials involved in the Military Commissions proceedings.
Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents assigned to the the "high value" detainee cases have been involved in the investigation since they were moved to Guantanamo Bay.
Recently military officials announced they would be seeking charges and a potential death penalty against six of those detainees, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, known as the
mastermind of the Sept. 11th attacks.
–CNN Justice Producer Terry Frieden