[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/03/art.edwards.gi.jpg caption="Reuters reports Edwards ruled out running as the vice presidential candidate."]Former presidential candidate John Edwards said Thursday he will not accept the No. 2 spot on the Democratic presidential ticket, Reuters reports.
Edwards, who dropped out of the presidential race in January and has since remained neutral, said flatly "No" when asked by a reporter if he'd be willing to serve as the vice presidential candidate.
Edwards was the 2004 vice presidential nominee.
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) – In the middle of Philadelphia's bustling Reading Terminal Market stands Herschel's East Side Deli, a kosher eatery serving up softball-sized hot pastrami sandwiches to long lunch lines.
Owner Steve Safern works behind the counter slicing the meat and ringing up his stream of customers. He started Herschel's a year and a half ago, naming it for his uncle Hersh who saved Safern's father when in 1939 the Nazis rounded up and killed most of the residents in their mainly Orthodox Jewish town on the Poland-Russia border, including the brothers' seven siblings and their parents.
Safern has sold electronics to law enforcement agencies for 21 years; Hershel's is a pet project. But it's a pet project that is beginning to feel the effects of the country's faltering economy.
"The cost of milk has gone up, grains, our breads have almost doubled in the last two years," Safern told CNN, adding that his meat costs have increased as well. "When you look at the whole picture for a restaurant, everything that we do as a restaurant is going up."
Despite shrinking profits, Safern has avoided raising prices - but expects he'll have to. Unlike other businesses in the market, he hasn't had to cut back on staff but says he's working with a skeleton crew. Every time he posts a job, he gets ten times the number of applications he used to.
So what does that mean for his vote in November? "Right now the economy is probably the number one problem, I think, on everybody's mind," says Safern. "If it's hurting us in our pocket, we're all going to look for changes."
For Safern, change means voting for a Democrat - and though he hasn't made up his mind, he's leaning towards Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania's April 22 primary.
– CNN Political Producer Alexander Marquardt
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/03/art.president.gi.jpg caption=]
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Here's a twist on the polls you see every day: A new Gallup survey asks people which of the three remaining candidates they least want to see elected president in November. 40% of those surveyed say they don't want John McCain, 36% say they don't want Hillary Clinton and 20% say they don't want Barack Obama.
One reason McCain tops the list is he's the only Republican left... so most Democrats choose him, while Republicans polled are split between the two other candidates.
Here are some of the reasons people don't want a particular candidate to become president:
When it comes to McCain, 27% say it's his position on the Iraq war, 25% say he's too much like President Bush and 23% say it's because he's a Republican.
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
One of Barack Obama’s senior advisers helped arrange public relations help for Trinity United Church as it grappled with tough coverage in the wake of the Jeremiah Wright controversy, according to a new report.
Talking Points Memo reports that David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist, privately contacted Jim Terman, president of Chicago public relations firm Jasculca-Terman and Associates, after the church put out a call for help after Wright's remarks attracted a media firestorm. The firm specializes in crisis management.
"I called Jim Terman and asked if they were interested in helping out and they followed up with the church," Axelrod said in an e-mailed statement to TPM. He added that the phone call was the extent of his assistance. Terman confirmed to the Web site that the firm is now doing pro bono work for the church.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/03/art.clintonadnc.cnn.jpg caption="Clinton is on the air in North Carolina."] Hillary Clinton will be going on the air in North Carolina tomorrow with a 60-second ad, "Ask Me," that makes an economic pitch. The ad is her first in the state.
Barack Obama's latest spot that focuses on the middle-class squeeze - "For Decades" - hit the air in Pennsylvania today. The 30-second ad debuted in Indiana last week, and is already on the air in North Carolina.
(Full Clinton script after the jump)
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/03/art.bush.gi.jpg caption=" Obama is close to breaking President Bush's fundraising record in 2004."]
(CNN) - The "over $40 million" the Obama campaign says it raised in March would put the total contributions the Illinois senator has raised in his presidential campaign at approximately $234 million - enough to surpass both the $200 million mark as well as the $215 million that 2004 presidential nominee John Kerry raised for that presidential primary season (then the Democratic record).
Obama is now just $25 million shy of reaching President Bush's overall record for presidential primary fundraising. In 2004, Bush raised a total of $259 million for his uncontested primary campaign.
The primary campaign season formally ends with the party conventions at the end of the summer.
Obama raised $194 million through the end of February. His official fundraising tally for the month of March is due to the Federal Election Commission by April 20.
Hillary Clinton raised $156 million through the end of February. Her campaign said Thursday it would not release her March totals until the filing deadline.
(CNN) - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Wednesday sharply disputed Bill Clinton's reported claim that Richardson promised not to endorse Barack Obama's bid for the White House.
"I never did," Richardson told CNN. "I never saw [President Clinton] five times. I saw him when he watched the Super Bowl with me. We made it very clear to him that he shouldn't expect an endorsement after that meeting."
Bill Clinton's comments reportedly came during a recent meeting with some California superdelegates. The San Francisco Chronicle reported the former president got "red faced" when the subject of Richardson came up and said, "Five times to my face (Richardson) said that he would never do that."
In the interview Wednesday, Richardson acknowledged he was "very close to endorsing" Clinton, but decided not to after the campaign got "nasty."
"I held back. I waited. I felt the campaign got nasty. I heard Senator Obama; he would talk to me continuously," Richardson said.
"The Clintons should get over this," he added.
Richardson, a former U.N. Ambassador and Energy Secretary in the Clinton administration, endorsed Obama late last month.
Read more: Richardson denies promise to Clintons
Related: Watch Bill Richardson's interview on The Situation Room.
Moments after the Obama campaign announced that it had raised $40 million in the month of March, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson told reporters on a campaign conference call that the New York senator's fundraising figures for that month would not be released until April 20 - the official FEC deadline, two days before the Pennsylvania primary.
"We knew that he was going to outraise us, he has outraised us for the last several months," said Wolfson. "We will have the resources that we need to compete and be successful in the upcoming primary states."
He said the Obama campaign had already outspent Clinton's in Pennsylvania about 4-to-1 and that he expected her campaign would be outspent about 2-to-1 on TV ad buys going forward.
Wolfson added that they expected Clinton's tax returns to be released within the one-week time frame she had promised. Clinton actually made the pledge eight days ago.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/POLITICS/04/03/dem.fund.raising/art.obama.smiling.gi.jpg caption Sen. Barack Obama greets campaign volunteers during a stop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wednesday."]Barack Obama's campaign announced a March haul of more than $40 million, raised from more than 442,000 donors. There were more than 218,000 first-time donors, and the average contribution level was $96.
The figure is not official until the campaign submits paperwork with the Federal Election Commission. The official deadline for March paperwork to be filed is April 20.
The Obama campaign released the announcement the moment the daily Clinton campaign conference call began.
Read more: Obama raised more than $40 million in March
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/03/art.dodd.gi.jpg caption=" Dodd is an Obama supporter."]
(CNN) - Sen. Chris Dodd on Thursday appeared to step back from his previous suggestion that the presidential race should end before many of the final round of primaries play out.
In an interview with CNN's John Roberts, Dodd - a supporter of Barack Obama - said he thinks the race will end when "the candidates decide they can't go any further.
"The last thing you want to do is lecture candidates to get out of the race," Dodd also said.
Those comments appear to differ from his remarks last week in an interview with the National Journal during which he argued an agreement should be worked out after the upcoming contests in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and North Carolina.
"Over the next couple of weeks, as we get into April, it seems to me then, that the national leadership of this party has to stand up and reach a conclusion," Dodd said then, adding it was a forgone conclusion Obama would be the Democratic nominee.
But in the interview Thursday, Dodd continued to warn against a floor fight at the party's August convention.
“If you go [to the convention] highly divided, with eight weeks to go before national election, you will lose the national election," he said. "This matter has to be resolved in my point before we get there.
Related: Watch the full interview with Sen. Dodd
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney