A new national poll suggests the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is a tie, reports CNN. Forty-six percent of registered Democratic voters questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Thursday support Obama as their party’s nominee and 45 percent back Clinton.

“Obama has lost his edge,” said Bill Schneider, CNN senior political analyst. “Is it because of the controversy over his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright? While most Democrats have an unfavorable opinion of Wright, only 19 percent say Wright’s statements have made them less favorable to Obama. More than two thirds say they’ve had no effect at all…The bigger problem appears to be Obama’s string of losses to Clinton in big states like Pennsylvania and Ohio. Those losses have not driven up Clinton’s support. But they may have created doubts about Obama’s ability to win.”

Meanwhile, a Baptist Minister was thrown out of a town hall meeting yesterday for asking Republican nominee John McCain if it was true that he called his wife a, um, c word.

Edwards should’ve stuck it out: I should have closed my eyes to the pain I saw around me on the campaign bus, including my own. I should have told him emphatically that he should stay in. My regret that I did not do so-that I let John Edwards down-grows with every day that the fight between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continues. — Joe Trippi, Politics

Bush’s reflexive optimism — who needs it?: It’ll be sweet indeed to say goodbye to Bush’s reflexive optimism next January. But I see its influence rippling out past him, in the notion that McCain’s telling Michiganders some auto jobs weren’t coming back during the primary was some huuuugely shocking political act, even in last month’s Bittergate episode. A conservative reporter I know who spent time in depressed areas of Pennsylvania laughed at the whole brouhaha because, as he said, “they are bitter!” The idea that telling people their current outlook is not so good is an insult to their pride, a blow they can’t endure, is very Bush. — Eve Fairbanks, The Plank, TNR

Wright is what’s wrong with the left: When Obama — the avatar of a new generation of progressives — stepped away from Wright, he stepped away from 40 years of liberal self-laceration. For all the palpable good that Wright has done his community, his parishioners have paid a subtle price, especially the younger, poorer, less educated ones. When he spreads canards like the one about the AIDS conspiracy, he is telling them that white power is so overwhelming that it’s almost impossible to succeed. The success of Obama’s candidacy sends the very opposite message, which may be why Wright is so threatened by it. — Joe Klein, Time

Forget polls, watch me play b’ball: Barack hit the courts at the Maple Crest Middle School for a pick up game of basketball with the winners of the 3-on-3 Challenge for Change voter registration drive on April 26:

What Obama wishes he could say: For all the coverage about the rising heat between Clinton and Obama, this year’s nomination race still is a mild affair by historical standards — restrained by a powerful sense on both sides that there are lots of things they could say but shouldn’t. There is one theme, however, that runs through not-for-attribution conversations with both sides: Each candidate thinks the other has unmitigated gall. — Politico

Baptist Minister asks McCain if he called his wife a c word: At a town hall forum in Iowa today, Sen. John McCain was asked about a story from Cliff Schecter’s controversial recent book, The Real McCain, which alleges that during a 1992 campaign stop, McCain angrily called his wife a “trollop” and a “c**t” in front of aides and reporters. Watch here for the exchange from the forum. — FiredogLake

From Clinton to Obama — why I switched: Today I am announcing my support for Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States of America. I am changing my support from Senator Clinton to Senator Obama, and calling for my fellow Democrats across my home State of Indiana, and my fellow super delegates across the nation, to heal the rift in our Party and unite behind Barack Obama. The hardest decisions in life are not between good and bad or right and wrong, but between two goods or two rights. That is the decision Democrats face today. We have an embarrassment of riches, but as much as we may love our candidates and revel in the political process that has brought Presidential politics to places that have not seen it in a generation, we cannot let our family affair hurt America by helping John McCain. — Joseph Andrew, RealClearPolitics

Crunching the numbers: Consciously or unconsciously, Obama’s pastor of 20 years did his best to torpedo his parishioner’s candidacy this week. Next Tuesday, we’ll know whether the beneficiary — Clinton — has a prayer. — Mort Kondracke,Roll Call

Hillary Clinton on Bill O’Reilly: Watch here.

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