Tales from the Trail

McCain says wishes he were taking oath, promises Obama support

mccain1WASHINGTON – Former Republican White House candidate John McCain said on Monday he wished he were taking the presidential oath of office but pledged his support to former rival Barack Obama instead.

McCain, speaking at a dinner in his honor on the eve of Obama’s swearing-in, reflected on his own career of military and public service when mentioning Tuesday’s inauguration.

“I would have preferred to have sworn again tomorrow the oath I first took more than 50 years ago,” he said.

“But it would be an act of stunning ingratitude were I to resent the decision of the American people or dismiss the privilege I still possess: the privilege of serving in some capacity the country that has been so good to me.”

McCain wished the president-elect well even as he said the two may continue to joust in the future.

Hillary’s mom offers gift ideas to help her daughter

Looking for that perfect gift for the holidays?

Hillary Clinton’s mom, Dorothy Rodham, has a suggestion for you — a children’s book about her daughter.  For a slightly-higher-than-retail price you can even get the book autographed by Clinton and help her pay down her campaign debt.clintonbook

The unique gift suggestion and campaign donation idea was sent around in an email from Dorothy Rodham entitled “A Perfect Gift.”

Here’s a copy of the email:

“I’m so proud of everything my daughter has accomplished and excited about what her future holds.

The First Draft: Tuesday, Dec 2

Today’s the deadline for the Big Three auto makers to present their recovery plan proposals to Congress in order to get a $25 billion bailout.

All eyes will be on Capitol Hill to see the reaction of top lawmakers after the plans are in place. GM, Ford and Chrysler hope to convince lawmakers to approve the $25 billion in low-cost loans to help them survive the current downturn.  The deadline comes as auto companies are due to release their November sales figures, which are expected to be low.

We all knew the economy had been in a slump, but stocks tumbled around the world after confirmation that the United States had entered recession in December 2007. The confirmation by the U.S. arbiter of recession plus a warning from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke triggered a sell-off on Wall Street which in turn sparked a domino-effect around the world.

No record turnout in U.S. election

WASHINGTON – The anticipated record turnout of voters in Tuesday’s U.S. election did not materialize, with the percentage of eligible Americans casting ballots staying virtually the same as 2004, a report said on Thursday. 

The number of Americans voting is projected to reach between 126.5 million and 128.5 million, meaning the percentage who cast a ballot will be between 60.7 percent and 61.7 percent — roughly the same as in 2004, according to Curtis Gans of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate.
The lower-than-expected turnout was the result of a downturn in the number and percentage of Republican voters going to the polls, he said.
Predictions of high turnout were fueled by an increase in voter registrations and long lines at polling booths.
“But we failed to realize that the registration increase was driven by Democratic and independent registration and that the long lines at the polls were mostly populated by Democrats,” Gans said.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

- Photo credit: Reuters/Danny Moloshok (Voters fill their ballots at St. Jerome Parish in Los Angeles on Nov. 4)

Cub scouts get impromptu tour of Biden’s plane

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden gave a group of Cub Scouts an impromptu tour of his campaign aircraft, showing them the cockpit and handing out Halloween candy.

The young scouts, some of them wearing red plastic fireman hats, had been visiting firefighters at the airport when Biden, on a campaign swing through northern Florida, arrived with his entourage.

“Have you ever seen a big plane before, up close?,” the senator asked the boys. “You guys wanna come and see my plane? I’m gonna get in trouble but come on.”

Biden shows frustration at being reined in

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden displayed some frustration at being tightly managed by the Obama campaign for fear he might go “off message.”

Speaking to students at the University of Florida in Gainesville Sunday, Biden appeared to stray from the text in front of him and took his eyes off the teleprompter.

What he said was not controversial — that he was more passionate about America’s prospects than when he first ran for the Senate in 1972 — but it was obviously not in the prepared script.

Biden smells “victory” in the air for Obama

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Just two days before the U.S. presidential election, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden smells victory for Barack Obama.

Speaking at Florida State University in Tallahassee, his first in a three-stop swing through the battleground state of Florida on Sunday, Biden pointed to a dramatic bronze statue entitled “Unconquered” outside the university’s stadium.

“This is a great place to have this rally in front of the ‘Seminole Unconquered’. I tell you, I don’t think you ever approach this stadium without smelling victory in the air,” Biden said. 

McCain’s final stop: Prescott, Arizona

For John McCain, the road to the White House ends in Prescott, Arizona.

The Arizona senator caps a frantic, final day of campaigning on Monday with a midnight rally on the courthouse steps in the old territorial capital, where he has concluded his earlier campaigns for Senate.

The courthouse plaza has hosted other notable rallies. Former Sen. Barry Goldwater, the 1964 presidential candidate who McCain regards as a role model, ended his campaigns there as well, as did members of the state’s Udall dynasty.

“It’s got great historical significance in Arizona,” said McCain adviser Mark Salter.

Republicans say Obama’s press conference plan presumptous

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Republicans accused Barack Obama of arrogance on Sunday after he referred to plans to hold a press conference the day after the election.

As Obama was boarding his campaign plane to fly to rally in Columbus, a reporter asked him what kind of instructions he would give his Treasury secretary for implementing the $700 billion financial rescue package.

“We’re on a tarmac,” the Democratic White House contender replied to ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper.

Biden hopes for Phillies’ good fortune in election

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Pennsylvania native and Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden hopes the Philadelphia Phillies’ baseball World Series win is a good omen for Tuesday’s presidential election.

“How about those Phillies?” Biden said at a rally in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on Thursday.

The Philadelphia Phillies won baseball’s World Series on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays, in a game watched by Biden’s wife, Jill, who like him is a rabid Phillies fan.