Tales from the Trail

McCain “disappointed” that media declared debate a tie

mccain3.jpgWASHINGTON – Republican White House hopeful John McCain, fresh from his first debate with Democratic rival Barack Obama in Mississippi, expressed regret on Saturday that his performance didn’t win over all the pundits in the press.
 
“I was a little disappointed the media called it a tie but I think that means, when they call it a tie, that means we win,” McCain said during a telephone call that was caught by cameras filming him at his campaign headquarters.
 
Both camps claimed victory after the 90-minute debate on Friday.
 
Meanwhile, Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, sought to lower expectations for the next debate in Tennessee on Oct. 7. It will be conducted in a town-hall style with questions from an audience.
 
“We will be a decided underdog in that encounter, and John McCain is the undisputed town hall champion,” Plouffe told reporters on a conference call, noting that McCain — who is fond of the format — had challenged Obama to do joint town hall meetings throughout the summer.
 
“He clearly feels, even more than the foreign policy debate, this is his home turf. So if we can just escape relatively unscathed against the undisputed town hall champion in Tennessee, we’ll be thrilled.”
 
Obama has held regular town halls of his own throughout the 2008 campaign and does not appear to struggle with the format.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder (McCain talks on the phone at his campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, on Sept. 27)
 

Cindy McCain’s wrist hurt by a campaign handshake

LIVONIA, Mich. – Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain said on Wednesday that his wife, Cindy, had become the victim of an overenthusiastic
supporter.

“An individual shook her hand very vigorously at the last event we were at and she has a minor sprain,” McCain told a press conference during a day of fund-raising in this cindy.jpgbattleground state.

Cindy McCain was X-rayed at a local hospital and treated for the sprain.

Appearing beside her husband with her arm in a blue sling, she said she was absolutely fine.

Obama agrees to 3 debates with McCain

baracl.jpgORLANDO, Fla. – Democrat Barack Obama agreed on Saturday to a formal proposal for three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate, effectively scuttling Republican White House rival John McCain’s hopes for a series of one-on-one town hall meetings.
 
Obama campaign manager David Plouffe informed the Commission on Presidential Debates of the decision, which proposed the schedule, in a letter. Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel will represent the campaign in talks on the format and details.
 
The late conventions and short period before the first debate — the Republican convention ends on Sept. 4 and the first debate is scheduled for Sept. 26 — made it “likely” the four debates proposed by the commission “will be the sole series of debates in the fall campaign,” Plouffe wrote.
 
McCain had suggested the two candidates could appear together at a series of town-hall meetings, but negotiations between the two sides never produced an agreement.
 
The McCain campaign used the decision to take another poke at Obama’s “celebrity” image.
 
“We understand it might be beneath a worldwide celebrity of Barack Obama’s magnitude to appear at town hall meetings alongside John McCain and directly answer questions from the American people, but we hope he’ll reconsider,” spokesman Brian Rogers said.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Scott Audette (Obama laughs alongside Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League in Orlando, Florida, on Aug. 2, 2008)

McCain jokes about legendary temper

ROCHESTER, Mich. – John McCain answered a question about his legendary temper on Wednesday with a good-natured growl.
 
“How dare you ask that question!” McCain said to laughter from the audience at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.temper.jpg
 
McCain proceeded to use the question as a way to focus on his own concerns, ranging from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s past influence in the U.S. Congress to what he considers out-of-control government spending.
 
“I will confess to you my friend that I do get angry. I get angry when I saw a guy named Abramoff that ripped off Native Americans for millions and millions and millions of dollars,” McCain said.
 
“I get angry when I see $233 million of your tax dollars going to … a bridge to an island with 50 people on it,” referring to an Alaskan lawmaker’s bid to get money for a bridge McCain opposed.
 
“I get angry when I see corruption to the point when we have former members of Congress in federal prison.”
 
“And you know something? The American people are angry too … They’re mad and they’ve lost their temper,” the Arizona senator added.
 
McCain’s remark came in response to a question by a man who  said he worried about reports of McCain’s temper.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Mark Leffingwell (McCain speaks at an event in Denver, Colo., May 2, 2008)

McCain meets human face of “earmark” spending

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Republican presidential candidate John McCain frequently rails against “earmarks,” the special spending projects that members of Congress procure for thmccainthis.jpgeir home districts, often with little or no oversight. 

But Wednesday he admitted he sometimes admired the results. 

On a visit to an Allentown hospital during a week-long campaign swing featuring health care issues, the Arizona senator met a woman with ovarian cancer who was treated in a $80 million clinical trial program funded by an earmark. 

McCain praised the woman’s treatment and later said some earmarks were clearly worthy. 

For Romney, no fear of “goofing up” as he joins McCain

DENVER, Colo. – Mitt Romney , until a few weeks ago Sen. John McCain’s rival in a sometimes bitter contest for the Republican Party presidential nomination, says getting back on the campaign trail with the presumptive nominee is fun.

Romney traded blows with McCain for several weeks earlier this year before dropping out of the race and conceding defeat after losing crucial prromney.jpgimary contests on Super Tuesday on Feb. 5.

With past battles behind them, Romney joined the Arizona senator in Salt Lake City, Utah, at a fund-raising event on Thursday, and then flew with him to Denver, Colorado.