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Chris Dodd endorses Obama, McCain gets endorsement by man mentioned as possible vp

Chris Dodd endorses Obama, McCain gets endorsement by man mentioned as possible vp

Barack Obama won a coveted endorsement from a former rival Tuesday as the Democratic candidates prepared for an evening debate that offered Hillary Rodham Clinton one of her last changes to blunt Obama's momentum before next week's must-win primaries.
The two Democratic presidential contenders face off at Cleveland State University just a week before the March 4 primaries in Ohio and Texas that Clinton must win to keep alive her faltering bid to become the first U.S. female president.
She suffered a setback as Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, who has long-standing ties to the Clintons, endorsed Obama.
"He's ready to be president and I am ready to support him in this campaign" Dodd said at a joint news conference with Obama. Obama and Clinton had been vying for Dodd's support since he exited the presidential race after a poor showing in the Iowa caucus last month. Dodd, 63, won his Senate seat in 1980 and chaired the Democratic National Committee from 1995-1996.
Obama has won some key Democratic endorsements in recent weeks, including Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, a close friend of Dodd.
On the Republican side, John McCain won an endorsement of his own Tuesday. Former Ohio Congressman Rob Portman, who is mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate, called McCain a champion for fiscal responsibility, pro-growth policies and the military.
"No one is a more committed advocate for our men and women in uniform, and no one understands better the threats America faces," Portman, a former budget chief for President George W. Bush, said in a statement released by the McCain campaign. He later told The Associated Press he doesn't see himself as McCain's potential running mate.
The five-year-old Iraq conflict is emerging as a fault line in the general election, with McCain calling for the U.S. military continuing its mission while his Democratic opponents urge quick withdrawal.
A coalition of anti-war groups that was influential in last year's political debate on Iraq says it plans to spend more than US$20 million (euro13.5 million) this year to convince voters that McCain and the Republican Party's support for the war is bad for the economy.
In a conference call with reporters Monday, activist leaders said they believe voters will blame Republicans this fall for supporting the war at a time of rising health care and college costs and a mortgage foreclosure crisis.
"Leaders who do not recognize this connection will be at a disadvantage come Election Day," said Jeff Blum, director of USAction, which plans to spend US$10 million (euro6.75 million) organizing a grass-roots effort against Republican candidates. Blum said the group intends to dispatch hundreds of thousands of volunteers to go door to door to convince voters that the Republicans' war effort is hurting the economy.
Hoping to slow Obama's surging candidacy _ which has been boosted by 11 straight wins in nominating contests since Feb. 5 _ Clinton painted a picture of a dangerous world in need of seasoned and wise U.S. leadership. She portrayed Obama as a national security novice and said Americans can be assured she would not need a "foreign policy instruction manual" to keep the country safe.
In thinly veiled criticism, she compared her Democratic rival's foreign experience to that of Bush upon taking office in 2001.
Voters have already seen the "tragic result" of electing a commander in chief with little experience in national security and global affairs, she said in a speech at The George Washington University. "We can't let that happen again."
She slammed Obama as inconsistent for saying during a televised debate last summer that he would be willing, as president, to meet without preconditions with the leaders of Cuba, Iran and other nations hostile to the United States, and also for saying he would be willing to send U.S. troops into Pakistan if there were "actionable intelligence" that the country is harboring terrorists.
Top Obama adviser Susan Rice countered that the New York senator had shown poor judgment on a range of issues, including voting to authorize the invasion of Iraq and supporting legislation declaring the Iranian National Guard as a terrorist organization.
Nationally, Obama has taken a clear lead over Clinton among white men, middle-income earners and liberals, groups that were evenly divided or with whom she had the advantage two weeks ago. Overall, Obama has 46 percent to Clinton's 43 percent, a virtual tie. But Clinton had a slight 5 point lead nationally in early February, according to the AP poll.
A CNN-Opinion Research Corp. poll released Monday showed that Obama and Clinton were about even in Texas, with Obama at 50 percent to Clinton's 46 percent. The poll conducted Feb. 22-24 had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Polls also showed Clinton's lead was narrowing in Ohio.
The Republican race is considered settled in favor of McCain, a former Vietnam prisoner of war.


Updated : 2021-03-04 21:29 GMT+08:00