Tales from the Trail

Thirty-two years after leaving office, Jimmy Carter gets big cheer

Jimmy Carter got a big hand and roar of approval from a festive and perhaps somewhat charitable crowd on Monday at the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Thirty-two years after leaving the White House as a defeated one-term president, the mostly Democratic gathering screamed approval for Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, as they arrived for the ceremony just outside the U.S. Capitol.

To be sure, former President Bill Clinton and his wife, outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a potential 2016 White House contender, received a much louder embrace.

But a grinning Carter was back and so were at least some of the cheers and applause that showered him when he was sworn in as reform-minded president in 1977 in the wake of the Watergate scandal that drove Richard Nixon from office.

All living former presidents are traditionally invited to the presidential inauguration.

Ninety-two-year-old “Tuskegee Airman” salutes racial progress, Obama

WASHINGTON – They were treated like second-class citizens in World War Two – but overcame racial prejudice to emerge as bona fide heroes.

And on Monday, these black former “Tuskegee Airmen” were back in the front row for the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.

“I never thought I’d see the inauguration of a black president, and today I’m seeing one inaugurated for a second time,” said Cyril Byron, 92, of Baltimore.

McConnell: New Obama term offers divided Washington new start

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who drew fire in 2010 when he declared that his top goal was to deny President Barack Obama re-election, quickly congratulated the president on Monday as Obama began four more years in office.

Within minutes of Obama’s second inaugural address, McConnell issued a written statement expressing a willingness to take a new shot at working together.

Only time will tell if they can put past differences behind them, which included McConnell blocking Obama-backed legislation and rooting for the president to be defeated in last year’s election.

Reform-minded Angus King says he’s had warm Senate welcome

Senator-elect Angus King came to Washington preaching bipartisanship and fearing that many of his new colleagues wouldn’t go near him, figuring he’s “a strange creature.”

But to King’s delight, a number of Democrats and Republicans stepped forward to say that they share his desire to end congressional gridlock.

“I was a little apprehensive coming down here,” King told Reuters TV on Thursday (video above), his third day in Washington after last week’s congressional and presidential elections.

Baseball fan Pelosi urges “Team U.S.A.” unity among new House members

Nancy Pelosi quoted a member of her favorite baseball team, the World Champion San Francisco Giants, in a pep talk on Thursday to newly elected members of the House of Representatives.

The House Democratic leader told incoming lawmakers of both parties about pitcher Ryan Vogelsong and his words of wisdom that bridge hard-ball sports and hard-ball politics.

She quoted Vogelsong as saying: “The reason that we win is that we play as a team, and each member cares more about the name on the front of the uniform (Giants) than the (player’s) name on the back of the uniform.”

Election shines light on long path to post-racial America

So much for post-racial. Supporters watch as U.S. President Barack Obama celebrates his re-election during his election night rally in Chicago, Nov. 7, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Supporters watch as U.S. President Barack Obama celebrates his re-election during his election night rally in Chicago, Nov. 7, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

When President Barack Obama won his historic bid for the U.S. presidency in 2008 as the nation’s first black president, there was a lot of talk about a new era for America.

But his re-election on Tuesday showed that in U.S. politics, race has far from become a back-burner issue.

Obama, Clinton nostalgic in closing campaign swing

It’s nostalgia time.

President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton campaigned together in New Hampshire on Sunday, and both men appeared wistful and nostalgic as one wrapped up his final campaign and the other returned to a state that made his own White House career possible. Clinto and Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton appear onstage together after Obama addressed the crowd at a campaign event at State Capitol Square in Concord, New Hampshire, November 4, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

“Twenty years and nine months ago, New Hampshire began the chance for me to become president,” Clinton told a crowd of some 14,000 in Concord.

Could Sandy blow away the election? Don’t hold your breath

Deadly Superstorm Sandy left millions of Americans snowed in, flooded out or stranded without power – and the federal government itself in Washington closed – just a week before voters across the country head to the polls. But if anyone is wondering whether Election Day will be put off, the answer is almost certainly no.

Local U.S. elections have been postponed before – in one relatively recent example, New York put off voting that had been set for Sept. 11, 2001, because of the attacks on the country that day. But presidential balloting has always gone on, even during the Civil War in 1864 (President Abraham Lincoln was re-elected).

Federal law mandates that the national vote must take place on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November every four years.

Obama plans immigration reform while issue remains divisive

When President Barack Obama’s interview with the Des Moines Register editorial board was published on Wednesday, it made headlines not just because of a brief controversy over whether it should be on or off the record — the president ultimately allowed the entire conversation to be on the record — but also because of Obama’s unexpected focus on immigration.

Obama told the editorial board that he was confident he could pass immigration reform in 2013 if he wins reelection. Yet he has not emphasized this issue on the campaign trail, and Reuters/Ipsos polling may explain why: It’s an issue that evokes strong and largely negative responses from the broad population of likely voters. Since July, 58 percent have said they thought American immigration policy is headed in the wrong direction.

At the same time, support for comprehensive immigration reform is a top issue for one of the president’s key support groups, Hispanic voters.

Obama says only candy – especially for Ohioans – at this year’s Halloween

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers doughnuts to fire fighters at a fire house in Tampa, Florida October 25, 2012. Obama is on a two-day, eight-state campaign swing. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

He doesn’t have a cell phone, is getting rusty at math, and wants candy – not fruit – to be this year’s White House Halloween treat.

President Barack Obama mixed jokes with serious fare during a taping of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” giving some insights about himself, his family, and the Nov. 6 election.