WASHINGTON – The 2008 campaign is over and while President-elect Barack Obama shattered pretty much every fundraising record in the book, he’s still looking for a buck or two.
Tales from the Trail
WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush will make a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Friday, attending a closed-door fundraiser in Oklahoma City to benefit Republican hopeful John McCain and the Republican National Committee — but the candidate will not be there.
DES MOINES, Iowa – Republican presidential candidate John McCain conducted a whistle-stop tour through the Iowa State Fair on Friday but Freight Train was unimpressed.
The Arizona senator did what all politicians do at the fair. He pressed the flesh. He mounted a soapbox, actually a microphone placed behind bales of straw, and munched on some pork chops on a stick.
He may have won some votes when he praised the fair and its 1 million-plus visitors as true to the heartland of America. But he didn’t win over Freight Train.
The prize boar — all 1,259 pounds of him — stayed resolutely asleep throughout his visit, resting his enormous bulk on a bed of sand.
“I saw the new champion and world record-breaker boar, Freight Train. He’s in good health. I can tell you that,” McCain later said at a fund-raiser.
“I lament and had thought with some nostalgia about last year’s winner Big Red who is no longer with us. But perhaps I had part of him in a pepperoni pizza — who knows,” he said.
WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush, despite record low job approval ratings, made a rare public appearance on Wednesday to help Michigan Republicans raise money for the November campaign and he used it to mock the campaign themes of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
Bush never mentioned Obama’s name but used the Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s name 11 times throughout his 22 minutes of remarks to about 300 supporters in Livonia, Mich.
Obama has repeatedly used the words “hope” and “change” as themes of his campaign and to bash the Bush administration in his bid capture the White House in November. But Bush tried to turn the tables on Obama using his own words against him.
“The other side talks a lot about ‘hope,’ and that sums up their Iraq policy pretty well: They want to retreat from Iraq and hope nothing bad happens,” Bush said. “But wishful thinking is no way to fight a war and to protect the American people.”
On change, Bush said Democrats once favored lower taxes, believed in “common sense American values” and that “America should pay any price and bear any burden in the defense of liberty — but they have changed.”
“This isn’t the kind of change the American people want,” Bush said. Americans want change that make their lives better, their country safer. That requires changing the party control of the Congress.”
PHILADELPHIA – Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, who regularly uses language to reinforce his modern-guy credentials, seems to have set that aside when he explained how he won’t be cowed by Republican attacks. “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said at a fund-raiser in Philadelphia on Friday, employing a phrase that could have been lifted from a gangster movie. “Because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans,” he said, referring to the city’s football team. The Republican Party quickly responded that the comment undermined Obama’s claim to represent change. “Why is Barack Obama so negative? In the last 24 hours, he’s completely abandoned his campaign’s call for ‘new politics’, equating the election to a ‘brawl’ and promising to ‘bring a gun’,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant. “It’s clear Obama is going on the attack to distract from the fact that since winning the nomination, his friend and fund-raiser, Tony Rezko, was convicted, and his vice presidential vetter, Jim Johnson, was forced to resign,” Conant said. The punch and counterpunch suggest another tough-guy phrase that has slipped into the political dialogue: “Bring ’em on.”Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.Photo credit: Reuters /Luke MacGregor (Knives are on display at New Scotland Yard in London on May 29, 2008)
PARK CITY, Utah – Republican White House hopeful John McCain wants help from President George W. Bush to raise money for his campaign, but has done plenty to downplay the unpopular president’s presence on the trail.
Bush headlined three closed-door fundraisers in Arizona and Utah on Tuesday and Wednesday, hauling in millions of dollars for McCain but there was only a brief public glimpse of the two men together, for less than a minute. Plus, McCain skipped two of the events.
Bush’s fundraiser in Arizona with McCain was originally scheduled to be open to reporters, but McCain’s campaign keeps its fundraisers closed to the press so the event was moved to a private home to keep it out of the public eye.
McCain’s campaign also refused to release any details about how much Bush was helping raise at the three events, but the one with McCain present brought in roughly $2.5 million, according to sources close to the campaign who declined to be identified.
Details from the other two fundraisers were scarce, though the one Wednesday evening in the posh ski resort area of Park City, Utah, was hosted by Mitt Romney, a former investment banker who had been a McCain rival in the hunt for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.
Democrats have tried to paint McCain as no different than the current White House occupant, arguing that the Arizona senator would represent a “third term” of Bush if elected to the White House in November, citing his steadfast support of Bush’s plan for the Iraq war and making tax cuts permanent.
In addition to limiting public exposure with Bush, McCain has differed with him on how to address climate change and said he would pursue nuclear arms reduction talks with Russia and China as part of a foreign policy that brings back “broad-minded internationalism and determined diplomacy.”
The growing distance between the two brings up the question of how McCain will handle Bush at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul in early September.
WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush will hit the campaign trail next week to rustle up some badly needed cash for Republican candidates — including presidential hopeful John McCain — but catching a glimpse of him in action will be fleeting.