Tales from the Trail

Candidate Obama touts working class credentials

obama_phillyEvery political candidate has a tale of his hard-working origins — even sitting presidents with Harvard Law degrees who have made millions by writing best-selling books. And President Barack Obama is no exception, as he showed during a road trip on Wednesday in which he tested out what will likely be themes of his newly launched 2012 re-election campaign.

At a stop at a wind turbine company outside Philadelphia, Obama stood before a giant American flag and pledged to keep fighting for policy priorities like promoting the use of renewable energy. He took off his suit jacket, joked with questioners in the crowd and paced casually on the stage away from the presidential podium.

“Here’s what I said (in 2008). I said I am not a perfect man and I will not be a perfect president, but I can promise you this … . I will be honest with you about the challenges we face and how we can solve these problems and I will take what I hear from you,” he said.

“I have kept that promise. I’m thinking about you guys every single day when I’m in the White House, and I’m going to keep pushing, I’m going to keep fighting for you.”

obama_stevieAt an evening civil rights award gala in New York, he reminded the audience that he may be president, but it was not that long ago that he and first lady Michelle Obama faced many of the same struggles of many working American families.

Possible 2012 presidential candidate Barbour clarifies civil rights remark

GOVERNMENT HURRICANES KATRINAMississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who may seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, went into damage control mode Tuesday because of remarks he made about the 1960s civil rights movement in his state.

A profile of Barbour in a conservative magazine, The Weekly Standard, included comments from him about what life was like growing up in Yazoo City, Mississippi, in the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

“I just don’t remember it as being that bad,” Barbour said.

The remark risked making Barbour look indifferent to the sometimes violent 1960s effort to end segregation. Mississippi, like its Deep South neighbor Alabama, was a central player in the civil rights movement.

Palin dislikes “lousy” tax deal – ABC

palin222Add Sarah Palin to the list of politicos who are not happy about the tax cut package President Barack Obama crafted with Republican lawmakers.

“I think it’s a lousy deal and we can do better for the American people,” the former Alaska governor said in an interview with ABC’s  “Good Morning America,” airing Friday.

Palin, a former Republican vice presidential nominee,  said it’s an issue that would be best left to the new Congress  that will be sworn-in  in January.

Obama: “I don’t think about Sarah Palin”

President Barack Obama says he’s focusing on his job and not thinking about whether he might be going head-to-head with Sarah Palin when he’s up for re-election in  2012.

“I don’t speculate on what’s going to happen two years from now,” Obama told ABC’s Barbara Walters in an interview taped  Tuesday at the White House.

“You will not tell me that you think you can beat Sarah Palin?” Walters asked.

Murkowski rates write-in campaign courageous or crazy

“Political courage or just plain crazy.”

That’s the explanation Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski gives for why, against her party’s wishes, she waged a write-in campaign to hang on to her U.S. Senate seat.lisa

The ballots are still being counted but Murkowski looks set to make history as the first senator to be elected in a write-in campaign since Strom Thurmond in 1954.

“This is a whole new world for me and a whole new world for my colleagues,” Murkowski said in an interview with Katie Couric on CBS on Monday.

First Republican presidential debate planned for next spring

Okay here we go again. Now that the 2010 elections are behind us, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2012. And so today we have former first lady Nancy Reagan GERALD FORDannouncing plans to invite Republican candidates to the first presidential debate. It’s to be held next spring at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California.

Setting up the first debate could have the net effect of forcing some would-be candidates who are sitting back and testing the political winds to go ahead and make a decision on whether they will run. We’re talking about you, Sarah Palin.

“Ronnie would be thrilled that the road to the White House will begin at his presidential library,” Mrs. Reagan said in a statement. “I look forward to welcoming and watching the top candidates debate the issues next spring.”

Campaign’s over, so start campaigning

OBAMA/Finally get some shut-eye after Tuesday’s election? Well, rise and shine. 2012 is just around the corner and the presidential campaign is already getting under way.

Folks at the White House may be asking themselves if the humbled, chastened President Barack Obama will face a primary challenge from the Left.

That bit of speculation got churning after newly unemployed Senate Democrat Russ Feingold conceded defeat with the decidedly unchastened message: “It’s on to the next fight. It’s on to the next battle. It’s on to 2012. And it is on to our next adventure — forward!” FEINGOLD

Political Surrogate Smackdown!

USA/You can tell it’s autumn in Washington: the leaves are changing color, Congress has flown away and the political surrogates are in full cry. For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, the full cry of the surrogate can often be heard from coast to coast — or at least from Broadway to Reno, Nevada.

Surrogates can do things the candidates can’t, sparring with words most candidates don’t use in places some candidates wouldn’t go. That’s why they’re fun to watch when they figuratively put up their dukes in the struggle before the November 2 vote.

At a Broadway theater on Monday night, Michelle Obama got a glitzy introduction from Sarah Jessica Parker of “Sex and the City” fame, who called the first lady “a role model, an inspiration” and a woman who “doesn’t need a pair of heels to stand tall.”

Palin says not focused on 2012

The 2012 presidential campaign is not on her radar screen, says 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.  But she didn’t exactly shut the door on the the possibility of making a run for the White House during her first interview to promote her book, “Going Rogue: An American Life.”

sarah1Palin told TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey that right now it’s all about the 2010 elections.

“I’m concentrating on 2010 and making sure that we have issues to tackle,” Palin said in the interview taped last week and broadcast Monday. “I don’t know what I’m going to be doing in 2012. (Running for president is) not on my radar screen right now.”