Dodd Endorses Obama; McCain Apologizes for Talk-Radio Host

Today Senator Chris Dodd became the first former Democratic presidential candidate to make an endorsement. He threw his support behind the candidacy of Barack Obama:

Meanwhile, John McCain had to apologize for remarks made by talk-radio host Bill Cunningham after he introduced McCain at an Ohio event:

Hopefully this is a sign that a general election battle will focus on the issues rather than personal attacks. Ha, I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

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McCain, Obama Take Wisconsin

John McCain and Barack Obama secured victories tonight in the state of Wisconsin. Obama bested Clinton by a 58-41% margin. McCain beat Huckabee 55% to 37%, with Ron Paul picking up 5% of the vote. McCain also picked up a win in Washington state’s primary.

Earlier this week, McCain received the endorsement of former president George H.W. Bush:

Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign began airing negative campaign ads this week. Hillary claims, “My opponent makes speeches, I offer solutions.” That prompted Obama to respond in a Wisconsin rally this weekend:

The Clinton campaign then accused Obama of plagiarising parts of his speech from Massachusetts governor (and Obama-supporter) Deval Patrick:

For a laugh, here are two music videos for the Democratic candidates that have been popular on YouTube over the past couple weeks:

The Hawaiian results also came in, resulting in a 76-24% romp by Obama. The victory marks Obama’s tenth win in a row since Super Tuesday.  Obama now leads the total delegate count 1356-1267 and pledged delegates 1187-1028.

Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont are up next on the schedule, set for Tuesday March 4th.

Romney Endorses McCain; Clinton Takes NM

Mitt Romney has formally endorsed John McCain’s candidacy for president of the United States.  Romney noted their differences but emphasized the importance to back a candidate who remains strong in the fight against Islamic extremism.  Romney urged his pledged delegates to back McCain at the Republican convention, while calling on the Republican party to “come together and make progress” while the Democrats are still fighting.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton emerged as the winner in the close state of New Mexico, where they had been counting ballots for over a week.  Clinton won by a 49-48% margin and secured 14 of the state’s 26 delegates.

Also, the Senate voted on a bill Wednesday that would restrict the interrogation techniques of the CIA to the standard Army rules on interrogation.  Among those successfully voting to defeat the the bill was former Vietnam POW and current presidential hopeful John McCain, a long-time opponent of torture.

Obama, McCain Sweep Potomac Primaries

Barack Obama and John McCain were the big winners in yesterday’s primaries of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Maryland:

  • Obama 61, Clinton 35%
  • McCain 55, Huckabee 30%

Virginia:

  • Obama 64, Clinton 35%
  • McCain 50, Huckabee 41%

Washington D.C.:

  • Obama 75, Clinton 24%
  • McCain 68, Huckabee 17%

Obama has now won 22 of the 32 states awarding delegates, claiming the lead in total delegate count by a 1270 to 1231 margin, including 1114-989 in pledged delegates. John McCain holds a 819-240 delegate lead over Huckabee. Up next on the schedule are Wisconsin and Hawaii for next Tuesday the 19th.

Obama Wins Maine; Hillary Shakes Up Campaign

Barack Obama completed his sweep of this weekend’s Democratic primaries by winning the Maine caucus on Sunday. He bested Hillary Clinton by a 59-40% margin, capturing 15 of the 24 available delegates. Obama has now pulled slightly ahead in the delegate count (1143 to 1138), but the race remains in a dead heat.

The Obama camp is looking ahead to this Tuesday’s contests in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, where the Illinois Senator is leading current polls.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has changed her campaign manager, replacing Patti Solis Doyle with Maggie Williams, who served as Clinton’s chief of staff when she was First Lady.

On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee is challenging John McCain’s slim victory in Washington state. Republican officials named McCain the winner with 87% of the votes tallied, though his lead was just under two percentage points. Huckabee insists he still has a shot to win the nomination:

There are only a few states that have voted. Twenty-seven have not. People in those twenty-seven states deserve more than a coronation, they deserve an election. They deserve to have their voices and their votes heard and counted. I know the pundits, and I know what they say. ‘The math doesn’t work out.’ Folks, I didn’t major in math; I majored in miracles, and I still believe in those, too.”

Based on Huckabee’s 490 delegate lag and McCain’s poll numbers in upcoming states, it looks like it may take something short of a miracle for Huck to win the prize. I guess he is not a fan of math or science.

Between Barack and a Hard Place

It was only a matter of time before I used that corny line.

This Saturday Barack Obama swept the states of Louisiana (57-36%), Nebraska (68-32%), and Washington (68-31%), as well as the Virgin Islands (90-8%). He increased his delegate count to pull within striking range of Hillary’s lead; they now stand at 1123 Clinton, 1120 Obama.

The Democratic battle continues today with Maine’s primary, where 34 delegates will be awarded.  Then Tuesday are the contests in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, awarding 38, 99, and 101 delegates respectively.  Current polls show Obama with double-digit leads in the delegate-rich states of Maryland and Virginia.

In the Republican contest, Mike Huckabee surprised by winning the states of Louisiana (43-42%) and Kansas (60-24%) while making a strong showing in Washington (McCain 26%, Huckabee 24%, Paul 21%, Romney 16%, Undecided 13%).  He captured all 36 delegates from Kansas, while the Louisiana and Washington delegates have yet to be distributed.

John McCain still holds a commanding lead in delegate totals with 724 to Huckabee’s 234.  The Republicans duel on Tuesday in the same locations as Democrats.  They will fight for the 19 delegates in D.C., 37 delegates in Maryland, and 63 delegates in Virginia; both Virginia and D.C. are winner-take-all contests. Look for John McCain to extend his lead on Tuesday, as he is currently leading Maryland and Virginia polls by double-digit margins.

Super Duper Tuesday

Things are starting to look interesting in the battle to become the next ‘leader of the free world.’ And I use that term with ever-increasing irony…

The real story of the day is the tooth-and-nail fight for the Democratic nomination. Hillary Clinton holds the lead in total delegates received thus far with 1076; she won eight states and claimed crucial victories in California, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Yet Barack Obama is not far behind with 1006, winning 13 total states and convincing double-digit majorities in eleven of those (Illinois, Georgia, Alabama, Minnesota, and several western states).

The Obama campaign has been gaining momentum in recent weeks; his January fund-raising total of $32 million has cast a lofty shadow over Clinton’s monthly total of $13.5 million. In fact, Clinton has taken a page from the book of Romney and made a personal loan of $5 million to keep her campaign competitive in coming weeks.

On the Republican front, John McCain didn’t do quite as strongly as expected, but finished leaps ahead of his competition. McCain was the only Republican candidate to win more than 50 delegates in any state, accomplishing the feat in the delegate-rich states of California, New York, Missouri, Illinois, Arizona, and New Jersey.

He leads the scorecard of total delegates received thus far in the Republican contest:

  1. McCain 724 (9 states on Super Tuesday)
  2. Romney 281 (7 states)
  3. Huckabee 196 (5 states)
  4. Paul 14 (0 states)      (1,191 delegates needed for victory)

Mitt Romney made gains in many Western states (claiming victories in Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah, Maine, Alaska, North Dakota, and Montana) while Mike Huckabee played well in mostly southern states (Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, and West Virginia). Still, it was John McCain that emerged as the front-runner; he stands in good position to secure the Republican nomination in coming weeks.

Up next on the radar for Republicans is this Saturday’s contest in Louisiana, Washington, and Kansas. The Democrats will compete in Louisiana, Washington, Nebraska, and Maine.