Clinton to mayor: Stay away from me

Hillary Rodham Clinton has told Providence Mayor David Cicilline, her former state campaign chair, that he is barred from attending her Rhode Island appearance Sunday for fear that his presence would cause disruptive protests by the firefighters union.

Cicilline said he will stay away on Sunday, but this may cause him to question his support for the New York senator, who he has stumped for locally and in New Hampshire during that state’s presidential primary.

Will Clinton pull the plug?

Speculation is mounting that Hillary Rodham Clinton may be ready to pull the plug on her faltering Presidential campaign.

Sources within the beleaguered campaign say fund raising has dried up and mounting debts may force a cutback in ads, direct mail and staff.

At Thursday night’s debate in Austin, Texas, Clinton appeared at times resigned to the fact that her campaign is coming to an end. Her closing sounded to some more like a valedictory address than the words of a candidate who fights to the end.

Clinton, Obama spending $1 million a day

One million dollars a day.

As Democratic Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton rushed from presidential contest to contest in January, that was how quickly they burned through their money.

On the Republican side, Sen. John McCain and Mitt Romney were spending a third as much. To see the difference, all a voter in Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina had to do was turn on the television.

Clinton backs off on attacks

Hillary Clinton, the front-runner no more, sought to bury Barack Obama, but also to praise him in their latest campaign debate and revive her own White House hopes in the process.

“No matter what happens in this contest — and I am honored, I am honored to be here with Barack Obama,” she said at the conclusion of the 90-minute forum. “Whatever happens, we’re going to be fine.”

Brace yourself for a nasty campaign

Ah, what fools we were to hope that maybe, this time, it wouldn’t get nasty.

In little more than eight months, we’ll choose our next president, a person who will have to deal with a weak economy, a no-win war in Iraq, a widening gap between rich and poor, a politically divided nation where almost one-sixth of the population has no health insurance, a world that no longer believes the United States wants above all to do the right thing.

While we ponder, embassies burn and new crises erupt every day.

More good news for Obama in Texas

There may be more good news awaiting Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois when the results — influenced by a large Hispanic vote — are announced following the March 4 Texas Democratic primary.

Texas can be a whole different enchilada than California when it comes to Hispanic political and social thinking. It can be as different in the Lone Star State as the red salsa versus the green salsa sitting on the table in an authentic Mexican eatery.

A fair question for Barack Obama

During the turbulent 1968 presidential primary campaign, a colleague and I left our seats on the plane carrying former Alabama Gov. George Wallace and approached the candidate sitting by himself and staring morosely out the window.

“Governor, we would like to ask you a question,” Robert Endicott of ABC said. “We have listened to all those rousing speeches and promises of change. Now we would like to know what would you do if you actually were elected president of the United States?” — an accomplishment of extremely low probability, we both knew.

Cindy McCain stands by her man

Cindy McCain did not hesitate as she stepped toward the microphone, taking her place in the history of political wives who stood by their men in the face of rumored or alleged marital infidelity.

“Well, obviously, I’m disappointed,” she said, her voice low but clear and self-assured. “More importantly, my children and I not only trust my husband, but know that he would never do anything to not only disappoint our family, but disappoint the people of America. He’s a man of great character.”

Debate ranges from polite to attack

Hillary Rodham Clinton accused presidential rival Barack Obama of political plagiarism Thursday night, but drew boos from a Democratic debate audience when she ridiculed him as the candidate of “change you can Xerox.”

Obama dismissed the charge out of hand, then turned the jeers to applause when he countered, “What we shouldn’t be spending time doing is tearing each other down. We should be spending time lifting the country up.”

McCain: Times story ‘not true,’ staff lied

John McCain denied a romantic relationship with a female lobbyist on Thursday and said a report by The New York Times suggesting favoritism for her clients is “not true.”

“I’m very disappointed in the article. It’s not true,” the likely Republican presidential nominee said as his wife, Cindy, stood alongside him during a news conference called to address the matter.

McCain described the woman in question, lobbyist Vicki Iseman, as a friend.

The newspaper quoted anonymous aides as saying they had urged McCain and Iseman to stay away from each other prior to his failed presidential campaign in 2000. In its own follow-up story, The Washington Post quoted longtime aide John Weaver, who split with McCain last year, as saying he met with lobbyist Iseman and urged her to steer clear of McCain.