Tales from the Trail

Punches come fast and furious in opening debate round

WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama came out swinging on the economic crisis facing the U.S. financial system during the first U.S. presidential debate, while Republican rival John McCain first words were to praise the bipartisan efforts to craft a rescue plan. rtx8yoi.jpg
 
Obama blasted the Bush administration and tried to tie the last eight years to McCain. 
 
“This is a final verdict on eight years of failed economic policy promoted by George Bush and supported by Senator McCain,” Obama said as the debate at the University of Mississippi opened.
 
Meanwhile McCain said he, along with many Americans, had not been feeling so great about the U.S. economy these days — stark contrast to his widely-panned comment more than a week ago that the fundamentals of the economy were strong — and he welcomed Democrats and Republicans working together for a plan.
 
“I’m feeling a little better tonight,” McCain said. “”We have finally seen Republicans and Democrats sitting down and negotiating together and coming up with a package.”
 
They both cited the need for transparency and oversight in the rescue plan. 
 
But missing from the two senators — one of whom will be president come Jan. 20 — was a firm commitment to vote for the rescue package being crafted. Obama said the language hadn’t been crafted yet but was optimistic a deal could be struck while McCain said he hoped he could vote for it.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

- Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Bourg (McCain and Obama greet each other at the first presidential debate in Oxford, Miss.)
 

McCain to attend debate, Web ad claims victory already

WASHINGTON – Ah the Internet world, a place where things move very quickly — maybe too quickly in the political world.

Before Republican presidential hopeful John McCain announced he would attend the presidentialmccain1.jpg debate on Friday night in Mississippi, apparently an Internet advertisement slipped out onto the Wall Street Journal’s opinion page with it declaring he won the contest.

Here’s a screenshot of the Web advertisement as posted by the Washington Post in which it claims “McCain Wins Debate,” with him in the foreground and an American flag in the background.

Clinton challenges Obama to more debates

hillary.jpgEAST CHICAGO, Ind. – Democratic presidential candidates have held more than 20 debates. Evidently that’s not enough for Hillary Clinton.

Clinton is pressing her final rival, Barack Obama, to debate her in Indiana and North Carolina, which hold their primary contests on May 6.

Either state would be fine, but both would be better, Clinton said on Friday.

“I’ll go anywhere and anytime. And we’ll have that debate as long as Senator Obama will agree to actually meet me,” Clinton said Friday morning in Jacksonville, North Carolina.