(Updates with Obama seeks Edwards' endorsement, campaign stops
canceled due to bad weather)
By Caren Bohan
MILWAUKEE Feb 17 John McCain, with little
Republican opposition, focused on the November presidential
election on Sunday while Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary
Clinton prepared for their next big fight in Wisconsin.
With eight straight wins under his belt, Obama was hoping
to make it two more on Tuesday in Wisconsin and Hawaii, where
he was born. Recent polls have him ahead in Wisconsin, but not
"This is something really different that's happening from
anything I've seen in politics, and I think that it is going to
be a close race," Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, an Obama supporter,
said on "Fox News Sunday." "It's very likely Barack Obama will
Bad winter weather forced both Democrats to cancel campaign
stops in Wisconsin on Sunday.
Clinton, the New York senator who has seen her big lead in
the national polls disappear, called off all scheduled events
and instead visited several spots in Milwaukee, where she had
spent the night.
"I need your help on Tuesday," she told one family as she
mingled with voters at Miss Katie's diner and sat down for a
lunch of corned beef hash and eggs. Asked what she thought her
chances were in the election, she said, "I'm feeling good
Obama, the Illinois senator who would be the first black
U.S. president, traveled to North Carolina on Sunday morning to
seek former opponent John Edwards' endorsement. Both Obama and
Clinton, who already met with Edwards, hope to attract the
former North Carolina senator's supporters.
Obama and Edwards, who dropped out of the Democratic race
in January, discussed "the state of the campaign and the
pressing issues facing American families," said Obama spokesman
Edwards had emphasized the needs of working people during
his candidacy, and Clinton has picked up on his message of
'I CAN OUT-CAMPAIGN THEM'
McCain, the Arizona senator and prisoner of war during the
Vietnam conflict, has all but clinched the Republican
nomination even though his chief rival, former Arkansas Gov.
Mike Huckabee, is still in the race.
In an interview aired on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday,
McCain looked ahead to the fall campaign and said he would
paint the Democrats as liberal while stressing his conservative
"I can out-campaign them, and I can out-debate them, and I
can out-perform them in what I think my vision for America is
more in keeping with the majority of Americans," McCain said.
But McCain has had problems getting the conservative wing
of his own party behind him. He said he was making progress
toward that end.
"We've got to reunite the party, and we've got to
re-energize the party," he said. "And I'm prepared to do that.
We've got plenty of time. But I won't waste a day."
On Monday, McCain will pick up a major endorsement from
former President George H.W. Bush, the father of President
George W. Bush. The president has not endorsed anyone but has
made it is clear he is ready to back McCain once he clinches
After Tuesday's voting, Democrats have an eye on March 4,
when the big states of Texas and Ohio hold primaries.
Victories in those states have become vital for Clinton,
who would be the first woman president, as she tries to close
the gap with Obama in the race for pledged delegates awarded by
the state-by-state contests to pick a Democratic nominee.
The ultimate winner could be determined by support from 796
"superdelegates" -- party insiders and elected officials who
are free to back any candidate.
Clinton supporters think the superdelegates should vote for
who they think would make the best candidate, while Obama
backers say they should go for the candidate who got the most
votes in the nominating contests. Right now, that is Obama.
"They should pay attention to what's going on and make a
judgment as to who would be the strongest candidate, based on
the results of the primaries," David Axelrod, chief campaign
strategist for Obama, said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
"The superdelegates are supposed to vote their conscience,"
responded Howard Wolfson, the counterpart for Clinton. "They're
supposed to vote who they think will be the best person for the
nation and for the party. That's why they were created. And
that's what they're going to do."
(Writing by David Wiessler and Cynthia Osterman; Editing by
(To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters
"Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at