Tales from the Trail
CHICAGO – Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama went to church on Sunday and joked about being “too black.”
In a Father’s Day speech to several thousand people at the predominantly black Apostolic Church of God, Obama talked about how people need to have high expectations for themselves then shared a few anecdotes about running for president.
“You remember at the beginning, people were wondering — how come he doesn’t have all the support in the African American community. You remember that?” he said to shouts of “oh yeah.”
“That was when I wasn’t black enough. Now I’m too black,” he said to laughter and applause.
Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president if elected in November, is the son of a Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas.
RAPID CITY, S.D. – While pundits pondered the intricacies of how Hillary Clinton might drop out of the presidential race, voters in South Dakota greeted the candidate on Monday in a traditional style by talking about issues that affect their lives.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who aims most of his attacks at Democrat Barack Obama these days, noted Monday that Hillary Clinton was still in the race — and praised her for being a role model to women.
WATERFORD, Mich. – Barack Obama praised rival Hillary Clinton as “an outstanding public servant” and said he hopes to meet with her sometime after the final Democratic presidential nomination contests take place on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters outside a Rite-Aid distribution center in Waterford, Michigan, the Illinois senator gave more details about a conversation he had with Clinton when he called her on Sunday to congratulate her on her win in Puerto Rico.
“There aren’t many people who understand exactly how hard she’s been working. I’m one of them,” Obama said of their hard-fought race.
“I told her that once the dust has settled, I was looking forward to meeting with her at a time and place of her choosing,” he said.
Obama, who hopes he will rack up enough delegates this week to clinch the Democratic nomination, has been making a point of publicly praising the New York senator. His hope is to ease divisions that have opened up in the party during the months of campaigning.
Some Democrats worry the rift among Democratic voters may put the party at a disadvantage in the November election against Republican Sen. John McCain.
At a raucus gathering over the weekend, the Democratic party’s rules committee backed a compromise unfavorable to Clinton for the seating of disputed Michigan and Florida delegations at the party’s August convention.
The decision fanned anger on the part of some Clinton supporters. The committee rejected a Clinton-backed proposal to seat all the Florida delegates at full strength, then backed compromises seating both the Michigan and Florida delegations while cutting their voting power.
Clinton’s supporters were particularly angry about the decision to award Obama delegates in Michigan, where he did not even appear on the ballot.
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.
CHICAGO – As Barack Obama celebrated his compelling win in North Carolina and the unexpected closeness of the Indiana race on Tuesday night, his senior strategist said one of the campaign’s top tasks now is to court influential Democratic Party figures.
The Democratic senator from Illinois was seen as showing resilience after a bumpy ride in which he has struggled with questions about his former pastor’s fiery sermons and efforts by Clinton to paint him as an “out of touch” elitist.
Analysts said his rival Hillary Clinton, who won only narrowly in Indiana where she had been favored to do well, was likely to face increased pressure to exit the race because her showing did little to advance her argument that she would be more electable than Obama in a matchup against Republican Sen. John McCain.
Asked by reporters whether there would be a slew of new endorsements from the party stalwarts and officials known as the “superdelegates,” Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, was careful not to reveal too much.
“We’re going to be reaching out to them,” Axelrod told reporters as Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president, flew back home to Chicago from his evening rally in North Carolina.
The Obama strategist said the message in these conversations would be a simple one: “Read the newspapers.”