On The Presidential Campaign Trail, February 26th

By The Associated Press


Sen. Chris Dodd endorses former presidential rival Barack Obama ... McCain disavows radio talk show host who calls Obama 'hack, Chicago-style' politician ... Former President Clinton says wife will provide change voters can count on ... Army official says no reason to doubt Obama story of ill-equipped troops

Sen. Dodd endorses Obama

CLEVELAND (AP) - Sen. Christopher Dodd endorsed one-time presidential rival Barack Obama on Tuesday and said it is time for Democrats to join forces to defeat the Republicans in the fall campaign.

"I don't want a campaign that is divisive here, and there's a danger in that," Dodd said, although he denied he was nudging Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to end her candidacy.

He said Obama "has been poked and prodded, analyzed and criticized, called too green, too trusting and for all of that has already won" more than half the states and millions of votes.

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, who won his Senate seat in 1980 and chaired the Democratic National Committee from 1995-1996, has long-standing ties to the Clintons.

Dodd said he spoke with Clinton on Monday evening to tell her of his decision.

McCain disavows comments about Obama

CINCINNATI (AP) - Republican John McCain quickly denounced the comments of a radio talk show host who while warming up a campaign crowd referred repeatedly to Barack Hussein Obama and called the Democratic presidential candidate a "hack, Chicago-style" politician.

Hussein is Obama's middle name, but talk show host Bill Cunningham used it three times as he addressed the crowd before the likely Republican nominee's appearance.

"Now we have a hack, Chicago-style Daley politician who is picturing himself as change. When he gets done with you, all you're going to have in your pocket is change," Cunningham said as the audience laughed.

McCain wasn't on stage or, he says, in the building when Cunningham made the comments, but he quickly distanced himself from the radio talk show host after finishing his speech.

"I apologize for it," McCain told reporters, addressing the issue before they had a chance to ask the Arizona senator about Cunningham's comments.

"I did not know about these remarks, but I take responsibility for them. I repudiate them," he said.

Bill Clinton says wife will offer change

DALLAS (AP) - Former President Clinton said Tuesday that either his wife or Democratic rival Barack Obama will make history this November, yet Hillary Rodham Clinton will provide change voters can count on.

Campaigning in Texas, which holds its primary March 4, Bill Clinton focused on the mantra of change often heard from the presidential hopefuls.

"We're going to have change in the election," Bill Clinton told about 200 people gathered around the pickup truck from which he has campaigned for his wife across Texas. "It's exciting. We're going to break some glass ceiling or another, no matter what happens. But change you can count on is coming from her."

He added: "The argument being made by the other side is the only way you can really change America is to eliminate for consideration from the presidency anybody that did ever did anything good in the 1990s and stopped anything bad from happening in this decade."

General: Obama's story may be true

WASHINGTON (AP) - Gen. George Casey, the Army's chief of staff, said Tuesday he has no reason to doubt Barack Obama's recent account by an Army captain that a rifle platoon in Afghanistan didn't have enough soldiers or weapons.

But he questioned the assertion that the shortages prevented the troops from doing their job.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Casey said the incident would have occurred in 2003 and 2004 following the Iraq invasion. He said he remembers it as a "difficult time" trying to rush armor and other equipment to the troops.

"I have no reason to doubt what it is the captain said," Casey said. "This was 2003 and 2004, almost four and a half years ago. We acknowledge and all worked together to correct the deficiencies that we saw in that period, not only in Afghanistan but in Iraq. It was a period that we worked our way through."

During a Democratic debate last week, Obama said an Army captain remembered leading a platoon in Afghanistan that was short on men, ammunition and Humvees.


Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama debate at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio.


John McCain and Mike Huckabee campaign in Ohio.


"This is the moment for Democrats and independents and others to come together, to get behind this candidacy." - Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., in endorsing Barack Obama, his former presidential rival.


Of the potential matchups for November's general election, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton leads Republican John McCain by 48 percent to 43 percent. Barack Obama's lead over McCain is twice that size, 51 percent to 41 percent, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos survey.

Compiled by Ann Sanner.