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Former President Bush endorses McCain

WISCONSIN: In the Republican race, John McCain picked up former President George H.W. Bush's support, a critical blessing by a pillar of the Republican establishment whose members are not completely sold on the party's next standard-bearer.

In endorsing McCain, the patriarch of the Republican political dynasty sent a strong message to a party base wary of the Arizona senator because of his reputation for bucking the party on several high-profile issues.

The elder Bush also signaled to a vast network of Bush family activists and fundraisers that they, too, should swing behind the eventual nominee.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, hoping for a win in the Wisconsin primary Tuesday that could help turn around her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, accused Barack Obama of plagiarism, the latest effort by her campaign to undermine her rival's credibility.

Obama said Monday he does not think it is a big deal that he borrowed lines from his friend, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, although he probably should have given him credit.

Clinton, who a few weeks ago was the front-runner, has been battling to halt Obama's streak of eight wins, particularly if she hopes for any traction going into the bigger state contests in Texas and Ohio on March 4 that are key to her push to be the first female U.S. president.

Obama is trying to become the country's first black president. Obama led the chase for nomination delegates 1,280-1,218. It takes 2,025 delegates to secure the presidential nomination at the party's convention this summer in Denver.

Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson, during a conference call with reporters Monday, pointed to a speech Obama delivered at a Democratic Party dinner Saturday in Wisconsin that lifted lines from an address given last year by his friend Patrick.

De Pere, Tuesday, AP

 

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