Tales from the Trail

Campaign debates over sexism, racism, ageism rage on

obama5.jpgNEW YORK – One thing seems certain in the race for the White House — the debate that the campaigns have sparked on sexism, racism and ageism in the United States is nowhere near resolved.

The media’s handling of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain – each running a groundbreaking campaign — has drawn attention to the way women, blacks and older people are seen in America, according to a panel of experts that met on mccain2.jpgclinton2.jpgTuesday at the Paley Center for Media.

 ”I think it’s time for journalists to stop and look back at what they did and not say, ‘Well, we’re not covering Hillary Clinton any more so gender is no longer an issue,’” said panelist Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I’d say to reporters, ‘Let’s think about all of those kinds of questions about gender and then let’s ask the same kinds of questions about race,’” she said. She also added age to the list.

If elected, Obama would be the nation’s first black president and McCain would be the oldest to take office. Clinton would have been the first woman. Discussion about bias and stereotyping has been extensive, especially since Clinton dropped out of the race and her loss disappointed many female supporters.

McCain, Obama on pocketbook issues — their own

WASHINGTON – If the way someone runs their household accounts is any indication of how they would run the federal government’s, voters might want to look at rtx6ung.jpgthe financial disclosure statements released Friday by White House contenders John McCain and Barack Obama.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee McCain has earned a reputation in the U.S. Congress as a conservative fiscal watchdog.

Yet he and his wife, Cindy, racked up at least $210,000 in credit card debt last year, according to his Senate financial disclosure form.

McCain the reluctant hero inspires young

mccain-hero.jpgNEW YORK – Republican John McCain, who spent several years in a prison camp in Vietnam and declined offers to be released before his comrades, said on Thursday he did not consider himself a hero. 

Modesty? Say what you will about the Arizona senator, but he appears to sincerely feel that way. 

Which is why the question continues to come up. At fundraisers and town hall meetings, supporters — especially younger people — ask the 71-year-old why he doesn’t spend more time talking about his own personal story.

List of potential running mates shrinks a bit

mccainfla.jpgWASHINGTON – While it’s a wide open question who will be the Democratic and Republican vice U.S. presidential nominees, the list of potential contenders got a bit smaller on Tuesday.

Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota dismissed talk that he might be John McCain’s running mate, telling Reuters, “That must be my mother talking.”

And Democratic Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, in an interview with National Public Radio, ruled himself out as a possible running mate for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Media in tow, Obama takes stock of U.S. health care

ST. LOUIS – The doctor was in on Tuesday, as Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama made the rounds at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in the battleground state of Missouri with a cardiac nurse.

rtx6hqp.jpgObama, hoping to highlight his health care proposal and show local voters a more personal side, visited patients, pushed a cart and conferred with nurses during a two-hour stint in the hospital’s cardiac unit.

His guide for the early-morning shift was nurse Kate Marzluf, 26, who good-naturedly answered his questions and tried to ignore a swarming media contingent while handing out medicine and checking on patients.

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

Far from key Democratic decision-making, Clinton carries on

puerto.jpgGUAYNABO, Puerto Rico – Miles from the Democratic Party’s machinations to decide whether she will get her votes counted in the disputed primaries of Florida and Michigan, Hillary Clinton on Saturday smiled and clapped her way through the streets and small towns of Puerto Rico.

Clinton, who trails front-runner Barack Obama by what most consider an insurmountable gap in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, waved from a campaign truck at bystanders who gathered in the steamy afternoon heat to cheer her on.

Accompanied by loudspeakers blaring “Hillary Clinton, La Proxima Presidenta,” pounding music and trucks carrying photographers, television crews and reporters, Clinton cruised the palm tree-lined streets in towns around San Juan for hours past fruit vendors and fisherman who paused to point and smile.

Media-battered Clinton calls for greater scrutiny

hillary1.jpgSIOUX FALLS, S.D. – As a Democratic presidential candidate, New York senator and former first lady, Hillary Clinton has had her share of media scrutiny. Still, she says the news media should become a more aggressive public watchdog.

“I really do. I really do,” Clinton told reporters when asked if she sincerely favors greater press scrutiny. 

“On the right things. On things that are important to the future of our country. On things that actually matter. I would love that,” said Clinton, long hounded by the press as one of the nation’s most popular yet polarizing figures.

Democrats may need time to heal, Richardson says

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Democrats will eventually unite once the hard-fought presidential nomination battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is resolved but that process may take time, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said on Monday. 

billrichardson.jpg“There’s going to be a need for healing,” Richardson, a former White House hopeful who is backing Obama. 

Richardson, who had served as energy secretary and ambassador to the United Nations in former President Bill Clinton’s administration, remained on the fence for several weeks before deciding to support Obama, an Illinois senator, two months ago.

Clinton says time to “move on” from Obama’s pastor crisis

hillary-pic.jpgINDIANAPOLIS – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Sunday it was time to move beyond the controversy surrounding Barack Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

 ”We should definitely move on,” the New York senator said in response to an audience member’s question on the ABC television program “This Week.”

“We should move on because there’s so many important issues facing our country that we have to attend to.”