Today on the presidential campaign trail

May 8, 2008 8:47:35 AM PDT
Evidence scant that Wright did much damage to Obama in Ind., N.C. primaries ... Michigan Dems agree to ask DNC committee to split delegates 69-59 between Clinton, Obama ... Former Edwards campaign manager David Bonior to endorse Obama ... McCain's Navy record and medals chronicle the career, heroism of a pilot and POW Evidence scant that Wright hurt Obama much in Ind., N.C.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The reaction - or lack of it - by Indiana and North Carolina voters to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's incendiary comments emphasizes how deeply entrenched the racial lines of support are for the two Democratic presidential rivals.

It doesn't seem likely that the renewed focus on Wright has helped Barack Obama, and it is all but certain that he'll hear more about it from Republicans should he win his party's nomination. But for now, there's little evidence it hurt him much in this week's Democratic contests.

After all the attention to Wright and Obama's disavowal of his former pastor, exit polls in the two states found that:

  • Six in 10 white voters in both states supported Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is waging an increasingly long-shot struggle to become the party nominee. That's close to the average 57 percent of whites who had backed the New York senator in Democratic primaries since Super Tuesday, which was Feb. 5. It's also slightly below the 63 percent of whites who voted for her in Pennsylvania and 69 percent in Mississippi, the most recent contests before Tuesday's voting.

  • Whites lacking college degrees favored Clinton over Obama by 31 percentage points in Indiana and 45 points in North Carolina. Since Super Tuesday, she has triumphed over Obama among this group by an average 30 points, including 41 points in Pennsylvania and 55 points in Mississippi.

  • White men leaned toward Clinton on Tuesday, as she got 59 percent in Indiana and 55 percent in North Carolina. Clinton got 57 percent of their votes in Pennsylvania and 67 percent in Mississippi.

  • About nine in 10 blacks in Indiana and North Carolina voted for Obama, slightly stronger than his usual showing with them. It mattered little whether they said the Wright situation influenced them or not.

    Pollsters said there was not enough data to draw conclusions about whether the attention on Wright drove people away from Obama, the Illinois senator, or drew some toward him because of how he denounced the pastor.

    Mich. Dems settle on delegate-seating plan to bring to DNC

    LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Democratic leaders have settled on a plan to give presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton 69 delegates and Barack Obama 59 as a way to get the state's delegates seated at the national convention.

    Clinton won the Jan. 15 Michigan primary and was to get 73 pledged delegates under state party rules, while Obama was to get 55. The state also has 29 superdelegates.

    The state party's executive committee voted Wednesday to ask the national party's Rules and Bylaws Committee to approve the 69-59 delegate split when it meets May 31. The plan would allow the state's 157 delegates and superdelegates to be seated at the convention.

    A separate plan submitted to the rules committee by Democratic National Committee members Joel Ferguson of Michigan and Jon Ausman of Florida, both superdelegates, apparently will be withdrawn now that the Michigan executive committee has settled on the 69-59 plan.

    The DNC stripped Michigan and Florida of their convention delegates - 366 in all, including pledged delegates and superdelegates - for holding their primaries too early in the nominating process, which violated party rules.

    Former Edwards campaign manager to endorse Obama David Bonior, a former Michigan congressman who managed John Edwards' campaign, plans to endorse Barack Obama for the Democratic president Thursday, an Obama campaign official said.

    Bonior, served in the House for 26 years, was minority whip - the second-ranking Democrat in the House - during most of former President Clinton's administration. A strong advocate of organized labor, Bonior led the opposition in the House to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Clinton supported.

    Bonior didn't seek re-election in 2002, instead running for governor of Michigan. He lost in the Democratic primary to then-Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, who won the general election. Navy releases McCain's military record

    WASHINGTON (AP) - From his five years in a North Vietnamese prison camp to his tenure as the Navy's liaison to the Senate, John McCain's Navy record boils down to a series of unadorned paragraphs that bestow upon him some of the nation's top military honors. The Navy recently released McCain's military record - most of it citations for medals during his Navy career - after a Freedom of Information Act request by The Associated Press.

    McCain was awarded a Silver Star Medal for resisting "extreme mental and physical cruelties" inflicted upon him by his captors from late October to early December 1967, the early months of his captivity, according to the citation. The North Vietnamese, according to the Navy, ignored international agreements and tortured McCain "in an attempt to obtain military information and false confessions for propaganda purposes."

    McCain, now the Republican Party's likely presidential nominee, was taken prisoner in October 1967 after he was shot down while on a mission over Hanoi. He wasn't freed until March 1973, after the United States signed peace agreements with the North Vietnamese. His captors tortured him and held him in solitary confinement. Still, he declined an offer of early release until those who had been at the prison longer than him were let go.

    That decision earned McCain a Navy Commendation Medal. Although McCain was "crippled from serious and ill-treated injuries," he steadfastly refused offers of freedom from those holding him prisoner. "His selfless action served as an example to others and his forthright refusal, by giving emphasis to the insidious nature of such releases, may have prevented a possibly chaotic deterioration in prisoner discipline," the citation says.

    McCain attended the U.S. Naval Academy from 1954 to 1958, and was commissioned as an ensign in June of that year. He retired in April 1981 with the rank of captain. In that time he received 17 awards and decorations. Besides the Silver Star Medal, McCain also received the Legion of Merit with a combat "V" and one gold star, a Distinguished Flying Cross and a Bronze Star Medal with a combat "V" and two gold stars.