ALBUQUERQUE – Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Tuesday his search for a vice presidential running mate is proving difficult because he has many qualified candidates.
Tales from the Trail
NEW YORK – Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire — that’s how Sen. Clinton put it on Thursday at a women’s breakfast where she joined the Democratic White House hopeful to campaign for him in New York.
WASHINGTON – When it comes to critical leadership characteristics, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama tops Republican rival John McCain hands down, according to a self-styled business leadership guru.
WASHINGTON – Republican presidential hopeful John McCain, who often invokes former President Ronald Reagan, had an almost Reaganesque moment this week — a hostage rescue.
Hours after McCain left Colombia, where he had spent the day pushing free trade, that country’s president Alvaro Uribe revealed the military had freed several hostages, including three Americans, long held captive by the militant group FARC.
Just minutes after Reagan took office in 1981, coincidentally, the American hostages in Iran were released.
Sadly for those conspiracy theorists wondering whether McCain had a role in the Colombia rescue or was tipped off about it before he arrived in the country, signs suggest otherwise.
McCain said in a statement that he had been briefed by Uribe the day before the operation and that the two later spoke about it.
“He told me some of the details of the dramatic rescue of the people who were held hostage,” McCain said.
While the United States helped with some aspects of the operation, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino denied any suggestion that McCain was advised by his fellow Republicans in the Bush administration.
“I think this was long in the planning stages,” she told reporters. I’ve heard nothing to suggest that there was any connection,” she told reporters. “I just think it was coincidence.”
MONTREAT, N.C. – Billy Graham is as close to a religious icon in American politics as anyone, so it’s no surprise that a U.S. presidential candidate would seek his blessing.
LOS ANGELES – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Tuesday criticized a John McCain adviser who was quoted as saying a Sept. 11-type attack before the November election would benefit the Republican White House hopeful.
But Obama stopped short of calling for the firing of Charlie Black, McCain’s top political adviser.
“There are certain things that should transcend politics and the prospect of a terrorist attack on American soil is one of them,” Obama told reporters on his campaign plane while traveling to Los Angeles.
“I think, factually, he’s wrong,” Obama said. He called the foreign policy under Republicans in the last few years disastrous and cited the failure to catch al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and renewed violence in Afghanistan as examples.
“So I’m happy to have that debate about who is actually going to be stronger on terrorism,” Obama said.
Fortune magazine said Black, in discussing how national security was McCain’s strong suit, had said when asked about another terrorist attack on U.S. soil that “certainly it would be a big advantage to him.”
Black apologized for the remarks and McCain disavowed the comment. “I cannot imagine why he would say it. It’s not true,” McCain said, adding he had worked hard since the Sept. 11 attack to prevent another such attack.
Obama, pressed on whether Black should step down from his role advising McCain, said, “I leave it up to John McCain.”
Barack Obama’s White House bid could depend on guys like Allen Boyd.
To be sure, this 63-year-old white, Florida farmer is not the protoypical supporter of the drive by the 46-year-old liberal to become the first black U.S. president.
But Boyd, who also happens to be a Democratic congressman, seems to be edging in Obama’s direction, citing economic and foreign policy reasons.
Obama “adheres to fiscal responsibility,” Boyd says and on foreign policy he’s “sort of out front on that about how we change the direction of this country.”
At the same time, Boyd says Obama likely has an uphill battle to win Florida, a likely crucial battleground.
“I would say if you look at the history of the last few presidential elections, it would be very difficult for him (Obama) to win,” Boyd said. He added, “Obama has a very tough bore in districts like the one I represent” in Florida’s panhandle.
In an interview taped on Friday for C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers,” Boyd, a six-term lawmaker, said he has no plans to endorse Obama, explaining he never endorses presidential candidates.
But when asked if there was any chance he would end up supporting Republican presidential candidate John McCain, Boyd said, “From what I see right now from a policy perspective, I’d say no.”
Boyd is a leading member of a group in the U.S. House of Representatives known as “Blue Dogs,” lawmakers who think government spending is out-of-control. They’re known for their independent streak within the Democratic Party and for holding up legislation, such as an Iraq war spending bill, to insist that popular add-ons costing billions of dollars be paid for.
Given the difficulty pigeonholing these lawmakers, it’s been an open question if they — and voters in the conservative districts many of them represent — will back Obama.