Tales from the Trail

Obama takes shirt off again, goes body surfing in Hawaii

HONOLULU – Look out, ladies. Barack Obama has taken his shirt off in public again.

The 47-year-old senator from Illinois, who created a minor sensation with a shirtless photo on his last trip to Hawaii, stripped down to his trunks on Thursday for an impromptu body surfing excursion.

Obama and a few friends waded into the water and sportily rode a few waves to the delight of other beach revelers. Earlier in the day he went snorkeling with his family.

obama151.jpgDespite the hectic schedule of being the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Obama works out regularly and plays basketball to stay fit.
People magazine published a photo of the buff-looking senator emerging from the ocean in January 2007 on a page with other Hollywood stars.

His vacation here this week was Obama’s first return to his childhood home — his grandmother still lives in Hawaii — in nearly two years.

Obama jokes about being ‘too black’

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.obamachurch.jpg
 
“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.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo credit: Reuters/John Gress (Obama speaks at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago on June 15, 2008)

Barack Obama claims Democratic nomination

rtx6hxx.jpgST. PAUL, Minn. – Democrat Barack Obama declared victory  Tuesday in the hard-fought race for the Democratic nomination and said the country faced a defining moment in the November presidential election against Republican John McCain.

“America, this is our moment. This is our time.  Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love,” Obama told a crowd of 32,000 people at a St. Paul hockey arena.

    Obama, an Illinois senator who would be the first black U.S. president, gained enough delegates to win the bruising battle for the Democratic nomination against New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who sought to be the first woman U.S. president.

South Dakota voters talk issues with Clinton

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.

As she campaigned in a Rapid City diner, Clinton chatted with a nurse who asked about improving health care and a woman who wanted to talk about veterans’ care.

A few feet away, a young woman described a friend paralyzed in a wrestling accident and implored Clinton to support stem cell research.baby.jpg

McCain hails Clinton, notes she is still in race

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 rtx6fvz.jpgrace — and praised her for being a role model to women.

“Yes, Sen. Clinton is still in the race,” McCain said in response to a questioner, adding that people should not underestimate the former first lady or her husband, President Bill Clinton.

McCain, an Arizona senator who has wrapped up his party’s presidential nomination, reminded an audience in Nashville that he had many differences with the New York senator.

Obama offers to meet with Clinton “once the dust settles”

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 obama1.jpgpresidential 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.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage. 

REUTERS/Jason Reed (Sen. Barack Obama speaks in Detroit, Michigan, June 2, 2008)

Barack Obama, pool shark??

rtr206t4.jpgCHARLESTON, W.Va. – We’ve seen him play basketball, he has been teased mercilessly about his dismal bowling skills and he even pretended to take part in a 400-meter hurdles race at a track meet last week. But pool?

Barack Obama loves it. And he decided to spend part of a 6-hour campaign stop in West Virginia — just one day before the primary election there — playing pool.

“The sign of a misspent youth,” Obama joked as he walked around and eyed the table in the smoky Schultzie’s Billiards in South Charleston.

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.

Obama camp to superdelegates: “Read the newspapers”

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.
 obamawinning.jpg
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.”

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo credit: Reuters/Chris Keane (Obama waves to supporters at his North Carolina and Indiana primary election night rally in Raleigh.)

No endorsement coming from John Edwards

WASHINGTON – Remember John Edwards
    He ran a spirited campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, never caugJohn Edwardsht much fire and dropped out of the race about, oh, it feels like 10 years ago (actually it was January).
    The former North Carolina senator has kept a low profile ever since and has resisted entreaties from the remaining Democrats, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, for his endorsement.
    And he is still resisting, as voters cast ballots on Tuesday in his home state’s Democratic primary election, according to People Magazine, which tracked down Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth.
    Edwards, who was John Kerry’s vice presidential running mate in 2004, told People he likes Clinton’s “tenacity” but sees “a lot of the old politics” in her.
    He likes Obama, too, but “sometimes I want to see more substance under the rhetoric.”
    Bottom line, according to People, rather than endorse one or the other, Edwards and his wife will save their political capital for causes such as fighting poverty and improving U.S. health care.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

http://www.reuters.com/news/globalcoverage/2008candidates

Photo credit:  Reuters/Lee Celano (Edwards, with wife Elizabeth on the right, announces his withdrawal from the Democratic presidential race in January.)