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EARLYBIRD

Campaign News

Obama downplays N.C. debate and McCain goes after nontraditional GOP voters. Plus: a look at the DNC Credentials Committee:

•"The three presidential candidates took time off" Thursday "from campaigning to meet with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who tactfully declined an opportunity to declare a special kinship with any of the would-be successors to President Bush," the Washington Post reports. "The meetings were a sign of how the rest of the world, like the U.S. electorate, is fascinated by the campaign here."

•"Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, the moderators of Wednesday night's presidential debate on ABC, became the subject of a fierce and somewhat unexpected debate themselves on Thursday, as viewers, bloggers and television critics lamented what they described as an opportunity lost: a chance to ask the two candidates for the Democratic nomination substantive questions early and often," the New York Times reports.

 

Dems 2008: Association With Former Weatherman Dogs Obama

•"A day after undergoing the toughest grilling of the campaign," Illinois Sen. Barack Obama "attempted to get back on the offensive Thursday, arguing that his candidacy offers a clear departure from the attack politics and trivial issues that he said have dominated presidential campaigns and led to gridlock in Washington," the Washington Post reports.

•"Despite giving it her best shot in what might have been their final debate, interviews on Thursday with a cross-section of" superdelegates "showed that none had been persuaded much by" New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's "attacks on" Obama, the New York Times reports.

USA Today reports that "dozens of uncommitted superdelegates" said "that they feel little pressure to resolve the heated nomination battle before the last primaries on June 3. Few said they expected the ongoing fight to damage their party's chances in November."

 

•"Some female superdelegates backing" Obama "are having their 'sisterhood' questioned, just as some black Democrats have been challenged for their endorsement of" Clinton, AP reports.

•The "fractious Democratic primary fight has upended the logic of endorsements and turned longtime leaders into followers," the Boston Globe reports. "Where once power flowed downward from party chieftains and elected officials to voters," those who answer "to different constituencies" -- such "as a ward leader, party boss, congressman, and superdelegate -- are for the first time feeling strong pressure from those they represent."

•The Politico looks at the "25 appointees" on the DNC Credential Committee, who "are often assumed to be handpicked" Howard Dean "loyalists."

•"Anything less than a double-digit victory" in Pennsylvania "could solidify the perception that" Obama "is the inevitable Democratic nominee, sparking a flow of superdelegates to his side," the Wall Street Journal reports.

 

•"Obama's campaign is hoping to pull off an unexpected, come-from-behind win -- or at least deal the Clinton effort a hard blow by placing a close second," the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "To finish strong," Obama "will need heavy if not historic support from African American voters, particularly in the Philadelphia region," and "he might not get it."

AP looks at "Philadelphia's western suburbs -- a patchwork of charming small towns, elite colleges and working class neighborhoods that constitute one of the most competitive political battlegrounds in the state."

•"Many in Washington wonder whether" Obama's connection to the Woods Charitable Fund of Chicago and former Weatherman William Ayers "could be the 'swift boat' of this campaign," the Wall Street Journal reports.

•"On Thursday, neighbors, friends and colleagues who know Ayers and the work he has done on behalf of educational reform in Chicago and nationally joined his defense," the Chicago Tribune reports.

•The Washington Post also profiles the group and its founder.

•"Despite pleas from two N.C. governors and top lawmakers," Obama "didn't sound eager Thursday to debate in North Carolina this month," the Charlotte Observer reports. "Clinton has agreed to an April 27 debate in Raleigh. But Obama, speaking at the state fairgrounds, said he doubts a debate would cover any new ground."

•In Pennsylvania on Thursday, "Clinton hailed the power of unions, pledged solidarity with the truck drivers, autoworkers, veterans and teachers, and promised that as president, she would not allow tax breaks 'for any company that sends a single job out of Pennsylvania and overseas,'" the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

•"Clinton stood between her 88-year-old mother and 28-year-old daughter on Thursday to personalize issues for the 'sandwich generation' facing the demands of parents and children," AP reports, "renewing a push for the female voters who have drifted away from her campaign in recent weeks."

•"If the Democratic primary were a high school election," Obama "would be the cool guy." Clinton "would be the straight-A student in the Coke-bottle glasses," Bloomberg News reports. "At least that's the view among her supporters on college campuses in Pennsylvania."

•"Clinton played up her image as a tireless problem solver -- this time for laughs -- when she visited Comedy Central's 'The Colbert Report' Thursday night," AP reports. "Not to be outdone," Obama "showed up via satellite to poke fun at what he called the media's fixation on gaffes and trivialities."

• "In the four years after his first White House bid," former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards "stayed in the spotlight. In the four months since he abandoned his second bid, he's all but disappeared," AP reports. "If Edwards has made up his mind between" Obama and Clinton, "not only is he keeping quiet about it, he's not even putting himself in a position where he might be asked."

GOP 2008: McCain To Wage 'Unorthodox' General Campaign

•"For reasons of financial necessity, personal preference and plain politics, John McCain is gearing up to run one of the least traditional presidential campaigns in recent history," the Politico reports. "The problem is that even prominent strategists within McCain's own party wonder if his unorthodox strategy will work."

•"McCain plans to spend next week reaching out to African-Americans, displaced factory workers and people living in poverty -- voters not usually associated with the Republican Party," USA Today reports. His "forgotten part of America" tour will take him to Alabama, Ohio, Appalachia and possibly New Orleans.

•"The Democratic National Committee (DNC) filed a number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with Cabinet-level agencies and inter-agency departments looking for opposition research to use against" McCain, The Hill reports. Requests were made to the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of the Interior, the Federal Election Commission and the Commerce Department.

•"McCain on Thursday accused Russia of seeking a de facto annexation of part of Georgia and urged European governments to join in condemning Moscow," Reuters reports. "Long skeptical of Russian intentions in the region," McCain "said he had spoken by phone to Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili" and "called Russia's move a violation of international law."

•"McCain's plan to cut taxes and balance the budget wins praise from fellow Republicans." But "economists and nonpartisan analysts say his numbers don't add up," Bloomberg News reports.

Downballot 2008: Boehner Struggles To Improve GOP Fundraising

•Looking at New Jersey Rep. Robert Andrews' Democratic primary challenge to incumbent Sen. Frank Lautenberg, The Hill reports that "both sides are pointing to their differences in trying to paint one another as out of step with New Jersey voters. But some political insiders think that Andrews might be able to pull off an upset if he focuses more on his style and minimizes those policy distinctions."

•"In the wake of February's particularly nasty Republican primary on Maryland's Eastern Shore," former finance coordinator "for defeated Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.)," Lynn Caligiuri, "has crossed party lines and joined the staff of 1st district Democratic nominee Frank Kratovil (D)," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

•"Senior Republicans have ignored the impassioned plea of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) that they help the party raise more money for the November election," The Hill reports. "While the ranking Republicans of several committees have given tens of thousands of dollars to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), others have given nothing or very little."

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