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The McCain camp is on the defensive today. Campaign advisors to Republican presidential hopeful John McCain are denying allegations that he once had a close relationship with a lobbyist who's clients had business before his Senate committee. The New York Times reports today that aides to McCain's presidential campaign in 2000 were so concerned about the relationship that they confronted McCain and the lobbyist Vicky Iseman. But McCain's campaign spokeswoman disputes those claims in a statement she said McCain has never violated the public trust or done favors for special interest on lobbyist. Iseman has denied having a romantic relationship with McCain and said she never received any special treatment from the senator or his office.
On the Democratic side of the presidential race, Senator Barack Obama has racked up another key endorsement giving him a main line to working class voters. The Teamsters Union says Obama is their candidate for the Democratic nomination. Union president James Hoffa says he believes Obama can win.
Mr. JAMES HOFFA (President, Teamsters Union): Our polling indicates that there is an enthusiasm for him. I think it's going to grow. I think his candidacy is just starting to take off.
MARTIN: The Teamsters Union claims 1.4 million members and those members are expected to help get out the vote in upcoming primaries.
Meanwhile, Obama and Hillary Clinton are set to go head to head once more. The two candidates will square off in a debate tonight at the University of Texas at Austin. It's one of the two encounters the democratic candidates will have before the crucial Ohio and Texas primaries March 4th. Here's NPR's Mara Liasson.
MARA LIASSON: Tonight, the pressure is on Hillary Clinton to change the dynamic of the race. She has lost the last 10 contest and is now behind in money and delegates. Even the issue of electability, once seen as Clinton's string suit, is shifting to Obama. In this week's Wisconsin primaries, exit polls showed more democrats saying Obama has a better chance to beat John McCain in the fall. Yesterday, former President Bill Clinton said his wife must win both Ohio and Texas to have a chance at winning the nomination. In tonight's debate, Senator Clinton may repeat some of the arguments she's been making against her opponent on the campaign trail. She has accused Obama of inexperienced, plagiarism and not agreeing to enough debates.
MARTIN: NPR's Mara Liasson.
And Ivy League education is getting much cheaper these days, even free. That's right, free. Starting next year, Stanford University says it will offer free tuition to middle class student whose parents make less than a $100,000 a year, and students who comes from low-income families will be able to have room and board covered as well as tuition. Tuition at the school is currently $36,000 a year. Still, the hardest part about going to Stanford may be getting in. Last year, the school accepted only 11 percent of all applicants.
That's the news and it's always online at npr.org.
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