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.

Negative campaigns bother young voters

They may be all fired up and ready to go, but the young voters who have helped propel Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to front-runner status might stay home if the race turns nasty.

Obama has galvanized the under-30 voters who historically have voted at much lower rates than their parents. Young voters have packed the Illinois senator’s high energy rallies and turned out at rates up to four times higher than previous election years.

Clinton’s daunting delegate deficit

Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton must win 57 percent of the remaining primary and caucus delegates to erase Barack Obama’s lead, a daunting task requiring landslide-sized victories by a struggling presidential candidate.

Obama’s victories in Wisconsin and Hawaii on Tuesday — his ninth and 10th in a row — left him with 1,178 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses in The Associated Press’ count. Clinton has 1,024.

Another 1,025 remain to be awarded, most of them in contests in 14 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. It takes 2,025 to win the nomination.

Life after Castro

Cuban President Fidel Castro has resigned. His departure from power ends a half-century of one-man rule and defiance of U.S. policies aimed at hastening his exit.

But should Castro’s resignation prompt a change in U.S-Cuban relations? Should U.S. policymakers seize on Castro’s exit to end the 45-year-old embargo? Or does Castro’s transition out of power mean more of the same?

Linking inflation and immigration

The two “i” words are back in the news, one more prominently than the other. The more prominent is “inflation.” The less prominent at the moment is “immigration” (of the illegal variety). The two issues are more closely tied than one would think. None of the three remaining major-party candidates for president has a realistic plan to resolve immigration’s contribution to the problem.

America’s changing face

D’Vera Cohn and Jeffery Passel authored a new Pew Hispanic Center study projecting U.S. population growth for the next four decades. At the end of their press conference announcing the findings, they declined to draw conclusions from their report.

That is not a constraint here.

However, they did slip in a suggestion that high intermarriage rates among Latinos and other ethnic groups may find that Latinos no longer identify as such.

McCain’s ethics questioned

Revelations of an eight-year-old relationship between John McCain and an attractive female lobbyist raises a new question about the GOP Presidential frontrunner’s ethics.

Questions about womanizing by McCain have circulated in Washington for years and even his senior advisors were convinced eight years ago that he was involved in an affair with lobbyist Vicki Iseman.

Campaigns look ahead to Texas & Ohio

With big wins in hand, Democrat Barack Obama pointed on Wednesday toward critical showdowns with rival Hillary Clinton next month that could prove decisive in their heavyweight presidential battle.

Obama’s wins in Wisconsin and Hawaii on Tuesday gave him 10 straight victories over Clinton in the Democratic presidential race and expanded his lead in pledged delegates who select the party’s presidential nominee in November’s election.

Clinton running out of chances for rebound

Texas and Ohio: Two states, two debates, one chance for Hillary Rodham Clinton to save her moribund candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The former first lady suffered another bruising night Tuesday, badly losing the Wisconsin primary and the Hawaii caucuses to Barack Obama. The Illinois senator has now crushed Clinton in 10 straight contests, amassing a growing delegate lead and building support among women and white working class voters who have long formed the core of Clinton’s candidacy.

Obama expands base while Clinton fades

Barack Obama claimed major pieces of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s usual coalition as his own Tuesday, winning a majority of white and working-class people while splitting women’s votes in Wisconsin’s Democratic presidential primary, according to exit polls.