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EARLYBIRD

Campaign News

Clinton wins big in West Virginia and Democrats pick up another GOP seat in a special election. Plus: Could Bob Barr be the next Ron Paul?

• "Democrats regained control of north Mississippi's 1st Congressional District in a runoff Tuesday as Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers defeated Republican Southaven Mayor Greg Davis," the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports. "Childers will serve the final months of a term vacated by Roger Wicker, a Republican appointed to replace Trent Lott, who retired from the U.S. Senate in December."

• Childers' victory handed "Democrats the biggest of their three special election takeovers this cycle and" sent "a listless GOP further into a state of disarray," The Hill reports. "Childers led" Davis "53-47 with more than 90 percent of precincts reporting. Turnout increased substantially over the 67,000 voters who cast ballots in the April 22 open special election, with more than 100,000 voting in the runoff."

 

• In Nebraska, "Scott Kleeb's easy win in the Democratic Senate primary sets the stage for a race of sharp contrasts this fall," the Omaha World-Herald reports. Kleeb "trounced Tony Raimondo, 68, a Columbus business executive who never overcame resentment among some hard-core Democrats over his 11th-hour party switch last December," and will face former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns (R) in November.

Dems 2008: Obama Unofficially Kicks Off General Election Campaign In Michigan

• "Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton won a lopsided victory on Tuesday over Senator Barack Obama in the West Virginia primary, where racial considerations emerged as an unusually salient factor," the New York Times reports. "Mrs. Clinton drew strong support from white, working-class voters, who have spurned Mr. Obama in recent contests."

• "Clinton says she's more determined than ever to press ahead with her campaign," AP reports. "The New York senator welcomed her big West Virginia victory Tuesday night as an 'overwhelming vote of confidence' in her Democratic presidential campaign."

 

• "High turnout among female voters and regular churchgoers, combined with widespread concern over the economy, propelled" Clinton "to her overwhelming West Virginia primary victory on Tuesday," the Politico reports. "Clinton allies will no doubt point to the West Virginia results -- when her message again seemed to resonate with a largely white, working-class electorate -- to argue that presumptive Republican nominee John McCain is likely to win significant support in economically strapped areas if Obama is the nominee."

• "The voters who went against Obama Tuesday night -- white, rural, older, low-income and without college degrees -- don't just live in West Virginia," AP reports. "They live everywhere in the country, in places Obama needs to win."

• "West Virginians rejected" Obama "by a roughly two-to-one margin, one of the widest margins of the primary season," the Politico also reports. "The results also suggested a deeper dissatisfaction among the state’s Democrats with both candidates: John Edwards, who dropped out more than three months ago, registered a substantial 7 percent of the vote, though Clinton immediately used the results to make her own case for electability."

• But Clinton's "convincing victory... won't change the state's superdelegate count, at least for now," the Charleston Daily Mail reports. "Three of the state's 10 superdelegates have pledged support for Clinton and two noteworthy ones -- Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Rep. Nick Rahall -- have endorsed Obama."

 

• The Boston Globe has a transcript of Clinton's victory speech.

• "Officially it didn't mean much, but the Nebraska faceoff between" Obama and Clinton "was a lot closer the second time around," the Omaha World-Herald reports. "Obama eked out a victory Tuesday in Nebraska's nonbinding, Democratic presidential primary. With all precincts reporting, Obama won 49 percent of the vote to 47 percent for Clinton."

• "An unwelcome legacy of" Clinton's "faltering campaign for president is a $21-million debt, half from her own pockets, and some political insiders think she may have to turn to" Obama "to help resolve it," the Los Angeles Times reports.

• "Obama unofficially kicks off his campaign against" McCain today "in Michigan, a state the Democrats have barely held onto in recent years and where they start at a big disadvantage," the Wall Street Journal reports. Because Obama "didn't compete in the Michigan primary, he needs to build from scratch the kind of political operation he has been assembling for months in other states. He also faces a state party that is sharply polarized, behind schedule and hamstrung by an ill-timed lawsuit."

• "Obama's aides acknowledged that, in political terms, he is neither fish nor fowl, unable to go after Mr. McCain quite the way he would if he had the nomination clinched -- lest he alienate Mrs. Clinton’s supporters by seeming presumptuous -- and unable to fully dismiss her continued challenge," the New York Times reports.

• The Wall Street Journal reports that "three former chairmen of the Securities and Exchange Commission will publicly endorse" Obama today, "including one who served under President Bush."

• "Obama compared the U.S. housing crisis to the Great Depression on Tuesday during a stop in Missouri, a key battleground state in the November election," Reuters reports.

• "Obama's top fundraisers have asked his campaign donors to refrain from contributing to liberal independent political organizations in hopes of controlling the tone and message of the general-election campaign," clearly "worried that overtly negative advertising from outside organizations could undermine his themes of unity and hope," the Washington Post reports.

• "South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu weighed in on the presidential campaign Tuesday in Chicago, praising America's ability to produce the first viable African American presidential candidate while describing the nation as haunted by a racial divide that still offers blacks what he called only 'the illusion of equality,'" the Chicago Tribune reports.

GOP 2008: Hagee Apologizes For Anti-Catholic Comments

• "McCain intensified his criticism of" Bush "and the administration's environmental polices on Tuesday, taking a walk in the cold, rain-drenched foothills of the Cascade Mountains and asserting that in the effort to stem climate change, 'America can lead and not obstruct,' " the New York Times reports.

• "The Rev. John Hagee, the fiery evangelical pastor who endorsed" McCain, "issued an apology to Catholics for disparaging remarks he made, including accusing the Roman Catholic Church of supporting Adolf Hitler," the Wall Street Journal reports. "The letter received praise from some Catholic leaders but it reintroduced other subjects of Mr. Hagee's inflammatory comments."

• "A top official of the National Rifle Association said" McCain "has been a reliable ally of gun owners despite divisions with the powerful lobbying group on some issues," AP reports. "McCain is scheduled to address the NRA convention Friday in Louisville," Ky.

• "Can Bob Barr become the next Ron Paul?" the New York Times wonders. The former Georgia Republican congressman now running as a Libertarian "is trying to tap into the fervent band of followers who were attracted to Mr. Paul online and donated generously to his campaign by hiring the same Internet firm that ran Mr. Paul's Web site."

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