Tales from the Trail

Baby gets baptised, with a visit from Clinton

hillary-smile.jpgBOWLING GREEN, Kentucky – Katelyn Jenkins got a surprise visit from Sen. Hillary Clinton on one of the biggest days of her life so far. But odds are, she didn’t even notice.

The eight-week-old girl was getting baptised on Sunday morning at the State Street United Methodist Church, where the Democratic presidential contender paused in her campaigning to attend services.

At the sight of the former first lady, the baby’s father said: “I was pleasantly surprised and amazed.”

As for the red-haired baby in her father’s arms, she slept a bit, looked around a bit and fussed a bit.

“She just knew there was a big crowd, and everyone was looking at her,” said the baby’s father, adding that he was ”possibly” a Clinton supporter. The candidate briefly chatted with the baby’s parents after the service ended.

If you have a job, Clinton may not be for you

supporter.jpgLORETTO,  KENTUCKY  -   Sen.  Hillary Clinton, campaigning in rural Kentucky, on Saturday blasted critics telling her to drop out of the presidential race as America’s advantaged and well-heeled trying to tell the rest of the nation what to think and do.

“All those people on TV who are telling you and everybody else that this race is over and I should just be graceful and say, ‘Oh, it’s over,’” she said in Loretto, Kentucky. “Those are all people who have a job. Those are all people who have health care. Those are all people who can afford to send their kids to college. Those are all people who can pay whatever is charged at the gas pump.

“They’re not the people I’m running to be a champion for,” she said after touring a bourbon distillery. “I’m running to be a champion for all of you and your children and your grandchildren.”

To Obama, it seems like there are more than 50 states

BEAVERTON, Oregon (Reuters) – The battle for the Democratic nomination has been long and tiring. So much so that Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama seemed to forget how many states were in the United States.

“Over the last fifteen months, we’ve obama4.jpgtravelled to every corner of the United States,” the Illinois senator said during a campaign event in Beaverton, Oregon.

“I’ve now been in 57 states, I think — one left to go,” Obama said. “Alaska and Hawaii I was not allowed to go to … my staff could not justify it,” he added after hearing laughter from the audience.

Clinton sees $$ in protestors’ wake

WASHINGTON – Hillary Clinton got a rapturous response from a mostly female audience at a fundraiser on Wednesday evening. Many in the audience urged her to stay in the race for the Democratic White House nomination against rival Barack Obama. 

But at least two demonstrators dissented, standing and interrupting her speech before being led out of the room. 

Clinton, a senator from New York, was not thrown off.  “I welcome that,” she said, saying strong opinions were part of the American birthright. “It’s who we are.” 

John Mellencamp rocks Clinton campaign

mellencamp.jpgINDIANAPOLIS – Rock star John Mellencamp played for Hillary Clinton in his home state of Indiana on Saturday, just a few days after he played for her rival, Barack Obama.

“This country’s got to change, and you’re the people who can change it,” he told a crowd of Clinton supporters shivering in an evening chill in White River State Park in Indianapolis.

Mellencamp, an Indiana native who still lives in the state, then launched into “Our Country,” a song often played at Clinton campaign events.

To Obama, it’s Sweet Home Indiana

KEMPTON, Indiana – Barack Obama, vying for support from Hoosiers before Indiana’s Tuesday primary, reconnected with his roots in the state with a visit to a farmhouse owned by his family for generations.
    
The white Victorian home in rural Kempton sits on land owned by Obama’s fourth great-grandfather, who passed it down several generations within the family of Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham. Ann Dunham obama2.jpgwas from Kansas but she later moved to Hawaii, where Obama was raised.
    
The Kempton farmhouse was built by William Riley Dunham, a great uncle of Obama. After the Dunham family gave it up, it was used at one stage as a funeral home and was recently purchased by Sean Clements, who plans to spruce it.
    
As part of an effort to show a folksier side of the Illinois senator, the campaign planned the visit to the house as an outdoor potluck dinner with Clements and his family and friends.
    
But the weather didn’t cooperate. It was chilly with big gusts of wind that toppled the foldup tables set up in the back yard. So the tables had to be taken down and the dinner was scrapped in favor of a walk-around tour by Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters, Sasha, 6, and Malia, 9.
    
But there were no shortages of other opportunities to show the “regular guy” side of Obama, who has said he is determined to counter efforts by his opponents to portray him and his wife as “elitist, pointy-headed intellectual types.”
    
The Obamas visited a picnic gathering in Noblesville at lunchtime. In the evening, they stopped by a roller-skating rink for an “ice cream social” with supporters. Obama did not skate, though his daughters did.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

Photo: Reuters/Jason Reed

Gingrich: Obama is ‘far left’ with the right smile

 INDIANAPOLIS – Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich says Barack Obama remains the best bet to become the Democratic presidential nominee and would be a formidable opponent for Republican John McCain.
   

Speaking to the French Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, Gingrich said McCain had benefited from Obama’s recent difficulties, including controversial comments by the Illinois senator’s longtime pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. 
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“But Obama remains a formidable opponent. He is also the most probable Democrat nominee, even if he is not as untouchable as he was before,” said Gingrich, who led his party’s takeover of the House of Representatives in what was known as the Republican Revolution of 1994.

Clinton: Dancing backwards in high heels?

CARY, N.C. – A double standard that treats men and women differently still exists in the race for the White House, Hillary Clinton told an audience on Saturday.

The former first lady recalled Hollywood dancing stars Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and the famous saying that Rogers did everything Astaire did but “backwards and ihillnc1.jpgn high heels.”

“I do think that there is still something of a double standard,” she said in North Carolina. “I think there is a certain element of that.”

Obama: the Stones fan who would be (like) Lincoln

WASHINGTON – Democratic voters in Pennsylvania are hearing all about presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s views on issues like Iraq and the economy — but where does he stand on those small but all-important, getting-to-know-you questions?

For instance, does the Illinois senator prefer the Beatles or the Rolling Stones? “Rolling Stones,” he answered without hesitation in a Tuesday interview with NBC’s “Today Show.”obamachange

And he went on in rapid-fire succession, not shying away even from his recent underwhelming performance in a Pennsylvania bowling alley.