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CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK

Clinton claims support from workers; Obama gets nod from the Boss

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April 17, 2008

He got the Boss, but she got the workers.

Bruce Springsteen endorsed Barack Obama for president yesterday, telling fans on his website, "I have now seen and heard enough to know where I stand. Senator Obama, in my view, is head and shoulders above the rest."

The legendary rocker says that Obama "has the depth, the reflectiveness, and the resilience to be our next president," and "speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years."

The Illinois senator, Springsteen says, is the best candidate to "lead us into the 21st century with a renewed sense of moral purpose and of ourselves as Americans."

Springsteen has generally supported Democrats. In 2004, he endorsed Senator John F. Kerry, who used Springsteen's "No Surrender" during rallies, and he and his E Street Band toured with a coalition of musicians opposed to President Bush's re-election.

Clinton's camp, meanwhile, trumpeted her latest endorsement from the blue-collar workers who often show up in Springsteen's songs.

The Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association, which represents about 45,000 plasterers and cement masons in the construction industry in North America, announced its support for Clinton. Her campaign said she has endorsements from more than a dozen unions representing about 6 million working families nationwide,

"We need a leader with Hillary Clinton's ability to turn around the economy and rebuild the middle class," the union's president, Pat Finley, said in a statement.

FOON RHEE

Colleague, 75, says McCain is too old to be president
WASHINGTON - US Representative John Murtha said yesterday that Republican John McCain is too old for the rigors and stress of being president.

"This one guy running is about as old as me," Murtha, who is 75, four years older than McCain, told a union audience, drawing laughter and applause. "Let me tell you something, it's no old man's job."

If elected, McCain would be the oldest first-term president. Ronald Reagan became president at age 69, but he served as president for eight years and was just a few weeks shy of his 78th birthday when he left office.

McCain's campaign called Murtha's comments "nonsense attacks." In an interview with CNN, McCain, himself, responded, "All I can tell you is that I admire and respect Jack Murtha. Speak for yourself, Jack. I'm doing fine. Thanks."

Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, made the comments while introducing Hillary Clinton, whom he has endorsed. Clinton didn't mention his comments on McCain's age, and the campaign sought to distance itself.

Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said Clinton "considers Senator McCain a friend, and she respects him. But it's not his age she has a problem with, its his ideas for the future."

ASSOCIATED PRESS

3 superdelegates in Ind., N.C. give backing to Obama
Barack Obama's campaign yesterday announced the backing of three superdelegates in Indiana and North Carolina, the next states on the Democratic nomination calendar after Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary.

In North Carolina, which votes May 6, US Representatives David Price and Mel Watt endorsed Obama. They had previously supported John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, before he suspended his campaign.

In Indiana, Congressman Andre Carson said he is supporting Obama because he is "a fighter for working families, and part of a new generation of leadership that will bring needed change for our country." Obama has won the support of far more superdelegates in recent weeks than Clinton, though she still holds a slight lead among the elected officials and party leaders who will likely decide the nomination because it is nearly impossible for either to get enough pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses to clinch.

FOON RHEE

Obama tax return shows income exceeding $4.2m
Just hours before last night's big Pennsylvania debate, Barack Obama kept his pledge to release his income tax return for 2007.

It shows that he and his wife Michelle earned more than in previous years -- more than $4.2 million, with about $261,000 from salaries and the rest from book royalties. The return also shows that the couple paid nearly $1.4 million in federal taxes and gave about $240,000 to charity.

While in the upper echelon of taxpayers, the Obamas' income still pales in comparison to the estimated $20.4 million that Hillary and Bill Clinton earned last year.

The two Democratic presidential contenders have now released all their tax information for this decade. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, still has not released his returns.

The Clinton camp is still pressing Obama to disclose his returns for 1997, 1998, and 1999 -- years while Obama was serving in the Illinois state senate.

FOON RHEE

McCain campaign faults intern for recipe fraud
WASHINGTON - Call it plagiarized passion fruit mousse. Or a farfalle fake. Or maybe stolen slaw.

Senator John McCain's presidential campaign reprimanded an intern for claiming several Food Network recipes were those of McCain's wife, Cindy.

The campaign website had featured "McCain Family Recipes" including Passion Fruit Mousse, Ahi Tuna with Napa Cabbage Slaw, and Farfalle Pasta with Turkey Sausage, Peas and Mushrooms, all seemingly identical to Food Network recipes. Another recipe, for rosemary chicken breasts and warm spinach salad with bacon, was similar to one by celebrity chef Rachael Ray.

"One of our web interns apparently appointed Rachael Ray as the senior policy adviser in our campaign's department of gourmet," McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said yesterday. "The intern was dealt with swiftly, and the site is down for revision. Our apologies to the Food Network."

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Michelle Obama rejects elitist characterization
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Michelle Obama said yesterday she is a product of a working-class background and rejected characterizations of her and her husband as elitist.

Barack Obama has tried to deflect criticism of his comments that people in small towns cling to religion and guns out of bitterness over their economic plight. Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain have called the remarks elitist. Obama said it was a poor choice of words to describe the economic insecurity many face.

"I am a product of a working-class background, I am one of those folks who grew up in that struggle. That is the lens through which I see the world," Michelle Obama told a cheering crowd at Harrison High School. "So when people talk about this elitist stuff, I say, 'You couldn't possibly know anything about me.' "

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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