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Mehlman, Rove boost McCain campaign

Monday, April 07, 2008

By: David Paul Kuhn
March 8, 2008 11:33 AM EST


John McCain is getting much more than President Bush's endorsement and fundraising help for his campaign. He’s getting Bush's staff.

It’s no secret that Steve Schmidt, Bush’s attack dog in the 2004 election, and Mark McKinnon, the president’s media strategist, are performing similar functions for McCain now.

But other big-name Bushies are lining up to boost McCain, too.

Ken Mehlman, who ran Bush’s 2004 campaign, is now serving as an unpaid, outside adviser to the Arizona Republican. Karl Rove, the president’s top political hand since his Texas days, recently gave money to McCain and soon after had a private conversation with the senator. A top McCain adviser said both Mehlman and Rove are now informally advising the campaign. Rove refused to detail his conversation with McCain.

The list could grow longer. Dan Bartlett, formerly a top aide in the Bush White House, and Sara Taylor, the erstwhile Bush political adviser, said they are eager to provide any assistance and advice possible to McCain.

Rove explained that he and McCain “got to know each other during the 2004 campaign.” In a separate interview, Mehlman noted that “McCain was completely loyal to the president in 2004 and worked incredibly hard to help him get elected.” According to Taylor, “The Bush Republicans here in town are excited for John McCain.”...(Click here for remainder of post.)

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Fourth Penn. Poll in Five Puts Race Within Margin of Error

by Jonathan Singer, Mon Apr 07, 2008 at 02:09:42 AM EST

American Research Group, which doesn't have a particularly great track record thus far during the Democratic primaries, has a new poll up out of the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania, and the results look a little something like this:
Hillary Clinton: 45 percent (51 percent in late March)
Barack Obama: 45 percent (39 percent in late March)
From the internals of the poll:
Barack Obama leads Hillary Clinton 53% to 36% among men (46% of likely Democratic primary voters). Among women, Clinton leads 52% to 39%.

Clinton leads 52% to 36% among white voters (80% of likely Democratic primary voters). Obama leads 89% to 9% among African American voters (16% of likely Democratic primary voters).

Obama leads 52% to 38% among voters age 18 to 49 (52% of likely Democratic primary voters) and Clinton leads 52% to 38% among voters age 50 and older.

27% of all likely Democratic primary voters and 41% of likely Democratic primary voters age 18 to 49 say they would never vote for Hillary Clinton in the primary and 25% of likely Democratic primary voters say they would never vote for Barack Obama in the primary.
(Click here for remainder of post.)

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Top strategist for Clinton quits post amid uproar

By Susan Milligan
Globe Staff | April 7, 2008


WASHINGTON - Hillary's Clinton's chief strategist, Mark Penn, stepped down last night from his highly paid, high-profile role on the campaign after reports that he met with Colombian government officials to push a free trade agreement the Democratic presidential contender opposes.

Penn's meeting with the Colombian ambassador had nothing to do with the presidential campaign and was related to his work for Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, a public relations firm where Penn is chief executive. But the meeting rankled labor union activists, who questioned whether the meeting undermined Clinton's pro-labor message at a time when she must hold on to the working-class vote.

"After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as chief strat egist of the Clinton campaign," Clinton campaign manager Maggie Williams said in a statement, not detailing the controversy. Penn and his political consulting firm will continue to provide advice and polling to the campaign, she said.

Penn is one of the most prominent consultants in Democratic politics and his political consulting firm has already collected some $10.8 million in fees from a campaign struggling to get ahead in the waning array of primaries and caucuses....(Click here for remainder of article.)

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Democrats' Hopes Rise for House Seat

By SUSAN DAVIS
April 7, 2008


A conservative firebrand with a connection to a former Ku Klux Klan leader will run for a Louisiana seat in the House of Representatives, raising Democrats' hopes they can pick up what has been a reliably conservative district for more than three decades.

After a weekend primary run-off, Democrats are hoping for victory in the Baton Rouge-based district of former Republican Rep. Richard Baker, who retired in February after holding the seat for 21 years.

Conservative Woody Jenkins won Saturday's Republican run-off, 62% to 38%, against lobbyist Laurinda Calongne, while state Rep. Don Cazayoux won the Democratic run-off, 57% to 43%, against fellow state Rep. Michael Jackson.

Republicans are expected to be on the defensive in the four weeks leading up to the May 3 general election, when Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Cazayoux face off.

Mr. Jenkins, a local newspaper editor, is well known in Louisiana politics as a conservative firebrand. He served in the state House and ran unsuccessfully in the 1996 Senate race against Democrat Mary Landrieu, who currently holds the seat....(Click here for remainder of article.)

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In Superdelegate Count, Tough Math for Clinton

By JOHN HARWOOD
Published: April 7, 2008


The hill that Hillary Rodham Clinton must climb to beat Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination will grow a little steeper on Monday, as it has most days lately.

Margaret Campbell, a Montana state legislator, plans to declare her support for Senator Obama, of Illinois. She becomes the 69th superdelegate he has picked up since the Feb. 5 coast-to-coast string of primary elections and caucus votes.

In the same period, Senator Clinton, of New York, has seen a net loss of two superdelegates, according to figures from the Obama campaign that Clinton aides do not dispute. That erosion may dim Mrs. Clinton’s remaining hopes even more than internal campaign turmoil, which led to the ouster on Sunday of the campaign’s chief strategist, Mark Penn.

Trailing by more than 160 pledged delegates — those chosen in state primaries or caucuses — Mrs. Clinton has counted on superdelegates to help her overtake Mr. Obama with a late surge before the party’s convention in August. The party’s rules for proportional allocation make it highly difficult for her to erase Mr. Obama’s pledged delegate lead, even if she sweeps the final 10 contests....(Click here for remainder of article.)

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Barr forms presidential exploratory committee

By RHONDA COOK
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/05/08


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr eased into presidential politics Saturday with an announcement that he has formed an exploratory committee to gauge voter interest in his candidacy as Libertarian.

If there are "sufficient numbers" of people behind a Bob Barr presidential race, he's running, the former Republican said.

His announcement brought whoops and applause from the audience of 130 Libertarians, mostly from Midwestern states.

"We are at a tipping point," Barr said, "in terms of the willingness of voters, in significant numbers, to consider alternatives to the major [political] parties."

Barr conceded it was unlikely he could win, but he said his potential candidacy would be an opportunity to preach the Libertarian philosophy.

"I don't think any past performance by a Libertarian candidate is any benchmark," he said. "Are my expectations that the Libertarian candidate will win [the White House]? No. But with a credible candidate, anything is possible."

He added that the Libertarian Party "has been presenting itself as much more mainstream" as voter dissatisfaction increases with the decisions of Republican and Democrat officeholders.

In 2003, Barr left politics — he had represented a Cobb County-centered district since 1995” to return to practicing law, offering media commentary, consulting and teaching. He is a regular columnist for The Atlanta-Journal Constitution....(Click here for remainder of article.)

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