Tales from the Trail

The McCain girls are back!

WASHINGTON – Look out Obama Girl, the McCain Girls have returned with another off-key tribute to their favorite candidate and his quest to reach “that hard warm place of mystery,” the White House.

McCain says Obama is the next Jimmy Carter

PHILADELPHIA – Republican John McCain has a new response to those who say he would effectively serve another term of President George W. Bush’s administration: Barack Obama, the carter.jpgArizona senator says, would do the same for Jimmy Carter.
 
Obama, the presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee, often ties his rival to the unpopular Bush on issues such as the Iraq war and the sputtering economy.
 
McCain’s response: two can play at that game.
 
“From what I’ve seen, as I’ve said, of Senator Obama’s proposals, that would be very akin to a second term for Jimmy Carter,” McCain told an enthusiastic crowd in Pennsylvania, criticizing the Illinois senator’s positions on taxes and other issues.
 
Former President Carter lost the 1980 election to Ronald Reagan, who would become a conservative icon.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage 

Photo credit: Reuters/Muhammad Hamed (Jimmy Carter speaks with Jordan’s Foreign Minister Salaheddin in Amman April 20, 2008)

Sidelined in Chicago, Obama wows 8th grade graduating class

CHICAGO – Barack Obama skipped a trip to Iowa today because he did not want to interfere with flood recovery efforts there. So instead, he surprised a class of eighth graders by showing up at their graduation ceremony.

rtx6lhy.jpgObama was at the Illinois Institute of Technology to hold a roundtable discussion on predatory lending practices. Next door to his event was the graduation ceremony for the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago, a school for disadvantaged youth.

When Obama made his surprise entrance at the ceremony, the children and their parents leaped to their feet and cheered, “Obama, Obama.”

Media in tow, Obama takes stock of U.S. health care

ST. LOUIS – The doctor was in on Tuesday, as Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama made the rounds at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in the battleground state of Missouri with a cardiac nurse.

rtx6hqp.jpgObama, hoping to highlight his health care proposal and show local voters a more personal side, visited patients, pushed a cart and conferred with nurses during a two-hour stint in the hospital’s cardiac unit.

His guide for the early-morning shift was nurse Kate Marzluf, 26, who good-naturedly answered his questions and tried to ignore a swarming media contingent while handing out medicine and checking on patients.

Barack Obama claims Democratic nomination

rtx6hxx.jpgST. PAUL, Minn. – Democrat Barack Obama declared victory  Tuesday in the hard-fought race for the Democratic nomination and said the country faced a defining moment in the November presidential election against Republican John McCain.

“America, this is our moment. This is our time.  Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love,” Obama told a crowd of 32,000 people at a St. Paul hockey arena.

    Obama, an Illinois senator who would be the first black U.S. president, gained enough delegates to win the bruising battle for the Democratic nomination against New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who sought to be the first woman U.S. president.

McCain hails Clinton, notes she is still in race

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who aims most of his attacks at Democrat Barack Obama these days, noted Monday that Hillary Clinton was still in the rtx6fvz.jpgrace — and praised her for being a role model to women.

“Yes, Sen. Clinton is still in the race,” McCain said in response to a questioner, adding that people should not underestimate the former first lady or her husband, President Bill Clinton.

McCain, an Arizona senator who has wrapped up his party’s presidential nomination, reminded an audience in Nashville that he had many differences with the New York senator.

In critical February period, Obama outspent Clinton 3-to-1 on ads

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama’s almost insurmountable lead in the race for the Democratic party presidential nomination is mainly the result of a two-week period in February when he outspent rival Hillary Clinton 3-to-1 on advertising while winning nine straight state races, according to a new analysis released Monday.

rtx6g65.jpgObama beat Clinton in states ranging from Maryland to Nebraska to Hawaii between Feb. 6 and Feb. 19, winning 281 delegates to 163 for Clinton for a net gain of 118, said the study by the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project.
 
Democratic candidates need the votes of 2,118 delegates to the party’s convention in August to seize the nomination. Obama currently leads Clinton in the race for elected delegates 1,729 to 1,625, a margin of 104, according to a count by MSNBC. When the votes of party leaders and others who have declared their support are factored in, Obama’s lead grows to 2,076 to 1,918, MSNBC says.

The advertising advantage alone does not explain Obama’s February winning streak, but it was likely a factor. The study found that in the nine states he won during that two-week period, Obama was on the air first and had the paid media airwaves to himself for a significant part of the time. During a nine-day advertising battle in Nebraska, for example, Obama was alone on the air for six days unchallenged by Clinton.

Far from key Democratic decision-making, Clinton carries on

puerto.jpgGUAYNABO, Puerto Rico – Miles from the Democratic Party’s machinations to decide whether she will get her votes counted in the disputed primaries of Florida and Michigan, Hillary Clinton on Saturday smiled and clapped her way through the streets and small towns of Puerto Rico.

Clinton, who trails front-runner Barack Obama by what most consider an insurmountable gap in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, waved from a campaign truck at bystanders who gathered in the steamy afternoon heat to cheer her on.

Accompanied by loudspeakers blaring “Hillary Clinton, La Proxima Presidenta,” pounding music and trucks carrying photographers, television crews and reporters, Clinton cruised the palm tree-lined streets in towns around San Juan for hours past fruit vendors and fisherman who paused to point and smile.

Bush’s laws will be scrutinized if I become president, Obama says

rtx69fr.jpgDENVER – Maybe it’s his background teaching constitutional law.

If elected president, Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama said one of the first things he wants to do is ensure the constitutionality of all the laws and executive orders passed while Republican President George W. Bush has been in office.

Those that don’t pass muster will be overturned, he said.

During a fund-raiser in Denver, Obama — a former constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago Law School — was asked what he hoped to accomplish during his first 100 days in office.

“I would call my attorney general in and review every single executive order issued by George Bush and overturn those laws or executive decisions that I feel violate the constitution,” said Obama

McCain heckled by Iraq war protesters

DENVER – Republican John McCain tried Tuesday to convince voters a McCain presidency would not amount to four more rtx67yl.jpgyears of President George W. Bush, but he ran smack into hecklers bent on tying him to Bush’s unpopular war in Iraq.

“America must be a good citizen of the world, leading the way to address the danger of global warming and preserve our environment, strengthening existing international institutions and helping to build new ones,” McCain told an audience at the University of Denver.
 
The Arizona senator had barely uttered those words, charting a course away from Bush, when he was interrupted by hecklers chanting “Endless War! Endless War!”

The hecklers were shouted down by a larger crowd chanting “John McCain! John McCain!”
 
McCain no sooner started his speech again — announcing he would seek to reduce global nuclear stockpiles — when he was interrupted once more by anti-war protesters.
 
“What about Iraq? What about Iraq?” one shouted. Another unfurled a banner that said, “Iraq vets against the war.”
 
When the larger crowd shouted down the protesters again, McCain quipped, “This may turn into a longer speech than you had anticipated.”
 
“And by the way, I will never surrender in Iraq, my friends. I will never surrender in rtx67zi.jpgIraq,” he added emphatically to applause and laughter. “Our American troops will come home with victory and with honor.”