Tales from the Trail

Battle brewing over Guantanamo and its Chinese Muslim prisoners

A big battle is brewing over the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Chinese Muslim inmates held there.

GUANTANAMO/The Supreme Court announced Tuesday it would decide whether federal judges have the power to order the release of the ethnic Uighur prisoners into the United States.

The White House and Congress argue the inmates have never been admitted into the United States under U.S. immigration laws, and judges should not be making those sorts of decisions.

To underscore the point, the U.S. Congress Tuesday approved a spending bill that includes a measure effectively prohibiting Guantanamo prisoners from being released into the United States. The measure would admit them only to face trial.

President Barack Obama has pledged to close Guantanamo by Jan. 22, 2010, but meeting that goal has become increasingly difficult.

Amid inaction on financial bailout, blame game continues in McCain ad

PHOENIX  – U.S. lawmakers have yet to back a plan to try and stem the global financial crisis. But the vigorous round of finger-pointing over who is to blame for it continued on the campaign trail on Tuesday as John McCain’s camp singled out Democratic rival Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton in a new ad.


The 60-second spot argued that, while the veteran Arizona senator sought to rein in excesses by troubled mortgage titans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – which were rescued by the government earlier this month – Obama, an Illinois senator, did nothing.

“John McCain fought to rein in Fannie and Freddie,” a voiceover says. It then quotes The Washington Post saying McCain “pushed for stronger regulation … while Mr. Obama was notably silent.”

Welcome to St. Paul!

“The Daily Show” has this welcome sign for Republican convention-goers in St. Paul, as posted on flickr:


Obama touts work, patriotism in TV ad

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama touts hard work and “heartland values” in his first TV ad of the general election, which will air in several Republican-leaning states.

“America is a country of strong families and strong values. My life’s been blessed by both,” the Democratic says in this one-minute spot, which emphasizes his humble roots.


Like Republican rival John McCain ‘s first national ad, it’s a soft-focus introduction for voters who may not be familiar with his background.

McCain, liberal groups roll out new TV ads

WASHINGTON — Republican candidate John McCain touts his independence from President George W. Bush and his plan to fight global warming in a new TV ad.

Two liberal groups, meanwhile, are slamming McCain’s support for the Iraq war in an ad of their own.

McCain’s ad, highlighting an issue important to many independent voters, will run on local TV in 11 battleground states, as well as national cable channels like Fox News and CNN. An aide said the ad buy would be “substantial,” but declined to provide a figure.

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.