Tales from the Trail

Barbour says Clinton’s 1996 strategy might help Obama

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on Friday offered some advice to the man that he may seek to unseat in next year’s  election, President Barack Obama.

The potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate said he doesn’t expect Obama to follow the lead of a Democratic predecessor and declare, “the era of big government is over.”

But Barbour said if Obama did deliver such a message, as President Bill Clinton did in 1996, “I think his job approval would go up.”

Barbour said it would be “good for the country” and the president if he moved to the political center — just as Clinton did after Republicans won control of Congress in 1994.

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“This (past) election was undoubtedly a repudiation of the Obama policy,” Barbour said of the November congressional contests that saw Republicans win the House of Representatives from Obama’s Democrats and increase their clout in the Senate.

Obama campaigning tactic: bash Bush years

President Barack Obama has apparently decided that the way to win voters’ hearts is to warn them against a return to the Bush years.

He’s been in campaign mode this week trying to drum up enthusiasm for Democrats worried about losing their majority in Congress with just one month left until the Nov. 2 election. OBAMA/

In a backyard in Iowa, Obama told voters the election was a choice between going back to the Bush years or moving ahead (although he never uttered his predecessor’s name).

Conservative challenger daubs John McCain “Avatar” blue in primary attack ad

Avatar_DrudgeBannerAn attack ad this week daubing Arizona Senator John McCain with blue face-paint like a cobalt-toned creature from the sci-fi blockbuster film ”Avatar” triggered a row in the desert state’s increasingly heated Republican primary race.

Fiery conservative challenger J.D. Hayworth launched the ad this week attacking McCain as a fake conservative, with a tag line that reads “John McCain, nominee for Best Conservative Actor.”

The ad, showing a slightly uneasy looking McCain tinted blue, channels the 3-D epic “Avatar” about the battle for survival of a turquoise-hued alien species, which is up for a Best Picture Oscar at this weekend’s Academy Awards. In the political spectrum, blue represents the Democratic Party.

Conservative Rubio pulls ahead in Florida Republican primary

USA-Politics/Crist

Conservative Republican Marco Rubio is building a lead over moderate Governor Charlie Crist in Florida’s Republican Senate primary, a contest highlighting the perils facing party moderates in this rambunctious election year, a poll shows.

A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely Republican primary voters released this week showed Rubio, a former Florida House Speaker, with 54 percent support against Crist’s 36 percent. A poll in January had Rubio ahead by 13 points.

The primary race has echoes in Arizona, where veteran Senator John McCain faces his strongest challenge yet from fiery conservative J.D. Hayworth, who is attacking his “moderate record” on taxes, social issues and the bank bailout.

How well was Palin vetted? McCain, um, doesn’t know

Republican John McCain says he doesn’t know whether his former vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, was WASHINGTON-SUMMIT/adequately vetted. At least, he doesn’t know who says she wasn’t, and he doesn’t care. What he does know is that the 2008 presidential race was a tough fight. But now he’s very proud and very happy. Any more questions? Get lost. 
    
McCain just wouldn’t take the bait in an interview with NBC’s Today show when asked to comment on revelations about his failed 2008 White House campaign that appear in the new book, “Game Change,” by New York magazine writer John Heilemann and Time magazine reporter Mark Halperin .
    
NBC asked whether the book is correct where it describes the vetting process for Palin as hasty and haphazard, with no one bothering to speak to her husband or her political enemies.
    
“I wouldn’t know,” McCain replied.
    
Sorry? The Republican Party nominee wouldn’t know if his own running mate had been adequately vetted? 
USA-POLITICS/MCCAIN    
“I wouldn’t know what the sources are, nor care,” the Arizona senator explained.
    
“I am not going to spend time looking back at what happened over a year ago when we’ve got two wars to fight, 10 percent unemployment in my state and things to do. I’m sorry. You’ll have to get others to comment.”
    
McCain’s decision to transplant Palin from political obscurity to the national limelight undermined his credibility even among Republicans. Some worried that voters would see the former Alaska governor as too inexperienced to become Veep and possibly, some day, take on the mantle of Commander-in-Chief during a national emergency. 
    
Palin has since become the most visible Republican figure in the national political firmament, publishing a best-selling book, landing a job as pundit on FOX News and attracting speculation about a possible White House run in 2012. USA-POLITICS/MCCAIN
    
“She will be a major factor in American politics in the future,” McCain predicted, with an apparent air of vindication.
    
“I am proud of everybody in my campaign. I’m proud of the campaign we ran. I’m so proud that I had the opportunity to represent my party in the election. And I’ll always look back on that period with pride and with satisfaction. It was tough. But I’m very happy and I’m very happy in my new role in the Senate and going back and fighting the good fight.”

Photo Credits: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (McCain); Reuters/Brian Snyder (McCain and Palin) and (Palin)

Click here for more political coverage from Reuters

from Global News Journal:

U.S. Hispanics riled over immigrants’ healthcare exclusion

By Tim Gaynor

President Barack Obama's signature battle to overhaul the United States' $2.5 trillion healthcare industry to extend coverage and lower costs for Americans has met fierce opposition from Republicans.

But a move by Democrat backers to exclude 12 million illegal immigrants from buying health coverage and restrict the participation of authorized migrants has drawn the ire of U.S. Hispanics -- a bloc that overwhelmingly turned out to vote for Obama in last year's election.

Hispanic lawmakers and activists are riled by the bill pushed in the U.S. Senate by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, which denies illegal immigrants the option to buy health insurance and places a five-year wait period on legal immigrants before they can access health benefits.

The First Draft: The president keeps campaigning

Back from his overseas trip, President Barack Obama has spent this week as campaigner-in-chief.

OBAMA/Every day Obama has pushed lawmakers to approve an overhaul of the healthcare industry — the president’s top legislative priority.

And last night he made a quick trip up to New Jersey to do some political campaigning and inject some presidential charisma into Governor Jon Corzine’s struggling re-election campaign.

Democrats, Republicans claim gains in “Obama referendum”

pointDemocrats and Republicans each claim bragging rights in a U.S. congressional race billed as a referendum on President Barack Obama.
 
But political analysts said the special election to fill a vacant seat from New York in the House of Representatives was so close — and yet to be decided — no one has much cause to celebrate.
 
“It’s basically a tie. It’s like kissing your sister,” said Charlie Cook of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which tracks congressional and presidential races.
 
As of Wednesday, a day after the election, Democrat Scott Murphy, a venture capitalist, held a lead of fewer than 70 votes over Republican New York Assemblyman Jim Tedisco.
 
The race likely will be decided by absentee ballots.
 
“Regardless the final outcome, the fact that we closed a 21-point margin (in the polls) in eight weeks is a testament to the fact that the economic message that Scott Murphy carried resonated with voters and his message was support the president’s economic recovery plan,” said Congressman Chris Van Hollen, head of the House Democratic campaign committee.
 
Republicans said the congressional district, though long Republican, went Democrat in recent years, including last November when Obama won it by 3 percentage points.
 
“Jim Tedisco has closed the gap in a district that has come to exemplify Democratic dominance,” said Pete Sessions, chairman of the House Republican campaign committee.
 
“That is a testament to the strength of Jim’s campaign and the effectiveness of the Republican message of fiscal responsibility and accountability,” Sessions said.
 
Nathan Gonzales of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, said, “Both sides have reasons to be happy, but also reason to be a little disappointed.”
 
The seat has been open since January, when New York Governor David Paterson appointed Kirsten Gillibrand to the U.S. Senate.

Click here for more Reuters coverage.

Photo credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts (Obama points after signing the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, March 30 )

Obama thanks Canadians who campaigned for his election

71OTTAWA – As if he were out on the campaign trail again, Barack Obama gave a special thanks on Thursday to people who helped him win the 2008 U.S. presidential election — in Canada.
 
The president, on a visit to the United States’ northern neighbor, ended a news conference with Prime Minister Stephen Harper by thanking Canadians who came across the border to volunteer for his campaign.
 
“I want to also, by the way, thank some of the Canadians who came over the border to campaign for me,” he said, to laughter. “It was much appreciated.”
 
After the news conference, the president made a campaign-style trip to a local market where he shook hands with excited shoppers and looked for souvenirs for his daughters.
 
But Obama, whose whole trip lasted just several hours, did slip up a bit — campaign style — at the beginning of his remarks.
 
When saying it was good to be in Ottawa, he stumbled briefly, and started to say “Iowa.”

-Photo credit: Reuters/ Larry Downing (Obama waves after shopping at Ottawa market, February 19, 2009)

He’s In…

For everyone wondering whether John McCain would run for re-election to the U.S. Senate after that grueling presidential campaign — wonder no more.

 He’s in.  And he’s asking for help.

The Arizona Republican sent an email to supporters on Tuesday, making clear his intention to defend his Senate seat in 2010.

 ”The magnitude of the financial crisis that many American families are facing makes it clear to me that I want to continue to serve our country in the Senate,” McCain wrote.