Tales from the Trail

McCain says he’s opposed to raising taxes

comics.jpgKANSAS CITY, Missouri – Republican presidential candidate John McCain is tangling with taxes again.
 
The Arizona senator found himself in hot water with conservatives after telling ABC’s “This Week” last Sunday that “nothing is off the table” in trying to protect the Social Security benefits system for seniors.
    
At a town hall meeting in Aurora, Colorado, McCain said: “I want to look you in the eye: I will not raise your taxes nor support a tax increase. I will not do it.”
 
He added, “I am opposed to raising taxes on Social Security. I want to fix the system without raising taxes.”
    
That statement earned the praise of the conservative Club for Growth organization in Washington, whose president, Pat Toomey, called it “exactly what the country needed to hear.”
    
McCain, at a fundraising event for his campaign, returned to the subject. “I am opposed to raising taxes. I am opposed to raising taxes,” he said.
    
“And any negotiation that I might have when I go in, my position will be that I’m opposed to raising taxes. But we have to work together to save Social Security.”
    
“This young man standing right in front — Social Security beneifts won’t be there for him when he retires. Is this right for us to lay off to the next generation of Americans a burden that we imposed on them? No. And it’s not America, it is not America,” he said.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

Photo credit: Reuters/Mike Blake (covers of McCain and Obama biographies at ComicCon covention in San Diego)

McCain crew finds Obama’s big flaw: He’s way too popular

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama can’t seem to please the folks running John McCain’s campaign for the U.S. presidency.
 
They criticized the Democratic candidate for not visiting Iraq, but then he spent nine days abroad, visited both fronts in the U.S. war on terror, didn’t make any fatal rtx855v.jpgmistakes and drew 200,000 people to a speech in Berlin.
 
Now the Republican’s campaign has a new beef against the Illinois senator — he’s way too popular, the most popular celebrity in the world, bigger even than Britney Spears or Paris Hilton.
 
It’s a point McCain makes in a new TV advertisement.
 
“I would say that it’s beyond dispute that he has become the biggest celebrity in the world. It’s a statement of fact. It’s backed up by the reality of his tour around the world,” McCain adviser Steve Schmidt told reporters in a conference call.
 
“They have more fans around the world than Britney Spears does. I make that bold blank statement,” added McCain campaign manager Rick Davis.
 
But McCain traveled around the world and met leaders too, so isn’t he a global celebrity as well? What’s the difference?rtr20ejt.jpg
 
“We see him more as a global leader than a global celebrity,” Davis said. “When people in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, want to talk to somebody who has a leadership and knowledge of positions around the world, they talk to John McCain. I contrast that with Barack Obama’s own trip to Europe. The focus on media, the focus on events and activities, is much more something you would expect from someone releasing a new movie than running for president.”
 
McCain’s crew sees devious motives behind the cultivation of popularity. Davis said it lets Obama “create a fan base around the world that allows him to get a lot of media attention and avoids him having to address the important issues of our time.”
 
But won’t people see the ad as negative campaigning?
 
Barack Obama started it, Davis said. He attacks McCain harshly every day on the campaign trail. Plus he was the first to turn to negative advertising, both in the primary and in the general election.
 
“I’m going to do everything in my power to protect my candidate,” Davis said.
 
“I’m going to let the American public decide what is negative or not negative.”

So what do you think, is it a fair ad or not?

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage. 

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Crowds cheer Obama outside No. 10 Downing St. in London on July 26); Reuters/Brian Snyder (McCain speaks at campaign evenint in Maine July 21)

Obama meets on No. 2 pick: Kaine? Biden? Bayh?

WASHINGTON – With the clock ticking on his hunt for a running mate, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama spent nearly three hours on Monday meeting with his vice presidential search team and campaign advisers.obama-mon.jpg

Obama visited the downtown office of Eric Holder, a former deputy attorney general who is leading the process of researching and analyzing potential vice presidential picks, and emerged with little to say.

Asked by reporters who he met with, Obama replied: “Some guys.” As he got into his car, he asked reporters how they were doing then told them: “Get back on the bus.”

McCain glad Obama taking Hagel with him on foreign trip

OMAHA, Nebraska – U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain considers Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel a friend.

rtr1lk90.jpg“A very dear, close friend of mine, and I’ve cherished his friendship for many, many years” is how McCain put it on Wednesday.

So what does he think about Hagel, an outspoken Iraq war opponent, going with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on a visit to Iraq and Afghanistan?

McCain revives Czechoslovakia as a country

ST. LOUIS  – Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who prides himself on his national security expertise, has twice in two days referred to recent Russian activities against Czechoslovakia, a country that no longer exists.
rtx7jm3.jpg 
“I was concerned about a couple of steps that the Russian government took in the last several days. One was reducing the energy supplies to Czechoslovakia,” McCain told reporters on Monday in Phoenix.
 
He went on to repeat similar language on Tuesday at a town hall meeting in Albuquerque.
 
He was clearly referring to the Czech Republic, citing that government’s agreement with the United States over missile defense, an action he said prompted Moscow’s retaliation.

Czechoslovakia split into two parts, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, in 1993 after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
 
McCain’s campaign headquarters in suburban Washington D.C. got the distinction correct, issuing a written statement under McCain’s name late on Monday saying that “Russia’s 50 percent cut in oil deliveries to the Czech Republic” was deeply disturbing.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.  

Photo credit: Reuters/Fredy Builes (McCain and wife Cindy arrive in Colombia on a recent visit)