Tales from the Trail

Governor Perry’s call to prayer

Financial debt. Terrorism. Natural disasters — all big problems for the United States.

Texas  Governor Rick Perry,  a potential Republican presidential candidate, thinks prayer might help.

“There is hope for America… and we will find it on our knees,”  Perry says in an invitation to fellow Americans to join him for “a solemn gathering of prayer and fasting” for the country in August in Houston.

“Right now, America is in crisis,” Perry says in a message on The Response web site. “We have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters.  As a nation, we must come together, and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles.”

When Texas was in the middle of a wildfire crisis in April, Perry issued a proclamation calling for three “pray for rain days.”

The Mississippi-based American Family Association, a conservative Christian activist group, is footing the bill for the prayer gathering. But it was the governor’s idea.
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Eric Bearse, a spokesman for The Response, said on Sunday:  “The governor told the American Family Association about a month ago that we need to call Americans together for a time of prayer.”

Palin says tour is “not about me”

Is Sarah Palin running for president or isn’t she?

If  the former Alaska governor and Republican superstar knows the answer  to that question, she’s not saying.

And her silence has  speculation running rampant  over the meaning of her  family’s East Cost  bus tour of historic sites.

Is it  a dry-run for the 2012 campaign or just a brilliant burnishing of the Sarah Palin brand?

Hint of politics creeps in to rare Obama church appearance

Barack Obama is not shy about discussing his Christian faith, but the U.S. president and his family do not attend church regularly in Washington.

So a presidential visit is a rare happening among the city’s churches, and Easter is one Sunday when one regularly occurs.

This year the Obamas chose Shiloh Baptist Church — one of the oldest African-American congregations in the city, according to the White House — for their Easter service, drawing applause from members decked out in Sunday suits and fancy dresses.

Obama’s new talking point: 2012 may be harder race to win

hands_obamaAs part of his strategy to raise money and excitement for his re-election bid, President Barack Obama and his advisers are starting to use a new warning: winning in 2012 may be harder than it was in 2008.

For a incumbent Democratic president who is routinely beating potential Republican rivals in polls, it may seem a bit early to paint oneself as the underdog.

But Obama and his team want to make it clear that it won’t be a cakewalk to hold on to the White House, even though this time around the former Illinois senator is not an unknown figure.

Florida Republican Marco Rubio “not running for president”

While the world waits for  potential Republican candidates to decide whether they are in or out of the 2012 presidential race, Florida Senator Marco Rubio is leaving no room for speculation.

“I am not running for president in 2012. Because I want to be a United States senator. I want to be the best United States senator that Florida has ever had,” Rubio said in an interview on ABC’s “Nightline.”

“I just got elected three months ago so how can I be a full-time United States senator if my eye’s already on running for  something else?”

Giuliani ponders 2012 presidential run

rudy

Add Rudy Giuliani to the list of Republicans who may be eyeing a run for the White House in 2012 — but isn’t quite ready to say for certain.

Still,  the lawyer, businessman and former New York mayor tells CNBC it is definitely something he will be considering.

“I will take a look at 2012. It’s really a question of, can I play a useful role? Would I have a chance of getting the nomination? Those are things that I’ll have to evaluate as the year goes along,” Giuliani said in an interview Thursday.

Barbara Bush says Sarah Palin should stay in Alaska

barbaraFormer President George W. Bush has carefully steered around the subject of Sarah Palin during interviews about his memoir. But his mother, Barbara Bush, aka the “Silver Fox,” is showing no restraint.

“I sat next to her once,” Mrs. Bush told CNN’s “Larry King Live” in an interview that also included her husband, former President George H.W. Bush. “Thought she was beautiful. And I think she’s very happy in Alaska — and I hope she’ll stay there.”

Palin is weighing a run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination,telling ABC’s Barbara Walters last week that she thinks she could defeat President Barack Obama. She has a book, “America by Heart,” coming out Tuesday and is starring in a reality TV show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.”

How did Murkowski win? Go figure

RTR2FWVX_Comp-150x150Lisa Murkowski is the first to win a write-in campaign for the U.S. Senate in more than half a century. But that’s not the important part.

The Alaska Republican is also a moderate who sounds determined to defy the hardline GOP  ‘defeat Obama’ drumbeat in Congress and the uncompromising politics of the Tea Party.

Why? Because, she says, that’s what the general election voters who enabled her to triumph over the Tea Party – and her home-state nemesis Sarah Palin – want her to do.

Advice from Biden: Don’t underestimate O’Donnell and Palin

The only Democrat who has run against, and defeated, both Republicans Christine O’Donnell and Sarah Palin says don’t sell either of them short.

biden4“Take them both very seriously,” Vice President Joe Biden said Monday in an MSNBC interview.

Biden, a former senator from Delaware, defeated the state’s Republican Senate nominee in his last senate race. He also went head-to-head with Palin in 2008 when the former Alaska governor was Republican John McCain’s vice presidential running mate.

Washington Extra – Party games and blame games

boehnerA smart move by Republican leader John Boehner today, or a nicely laid trap if you prefer. Boehner echoed yesterday’s call from former White House budget director Peter Orszag, for a two-year extension to the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans. Boehner appealed for both parties to “do this together” to “show the American people that we understand what is going on in this country.” There was, of course, one big difference between Boehner’s and Orszag’s suggestions – the Republican leader conveniently left out the all-important promise to let  all the tax cuts expire at the end of that two-year period. Not surprisingly, President Barack Obama swiftly rejected the offer, insisting that the country could not afford to extend tax cuts for the rich. “This isn’t to punish folks who are better off — God bless them – it is because we can’t afford the $700 billion price tag,” he said in Ohio. You get the feeling this partisan battle isn’t going to be settled easily or early, and the lingering uncertainty this creates is probably not good news for the economy. Expect the blame game to continue.

Elsewhere today, a lovely special report on the Tea Party and how the upstart is growing up and going back to school, determined to shed its amateur status. If it succeeds, the movement’s influence could well extend beyond November and into the 2012 presidential race, although who that might ultimately benefit is very much an open question. Take a look also at our exclusive report on how the Pentagon’s top watchdog has abandoned efforts to do in-depth audits of defense contracts, leaving billions of dollars of taxpayer money at risk from  overpayments and fraud.

Meanwhile, another blame game continues over the Gulf oil spill, with BP’s own investigation not impressing Democratic congressman and critic Edward Markey. “This report is not BP’s mea culpa,” he said. “Of their own eight key findings, they only explicitly take responsibility for half of one. BP is happy to slice up the blame as long as they get the smallest piece.”