Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Gift of the gas

 

Gasoline drips off a nozzle during refueling at a gas station in Altadena, California in this March 24, 2012 file photo. Picture taken March 24, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

After negotiating a tricky stretch of road, the Obama campaign may be easing into the straightaway in the gas-driven presidential race.

News on Monday of a delay in the planned closure of the largest refinery on the East Coast could mean an end to skyrocketing gas prices. And that would effectively take the wind out of a forceful Republican line of attack — that the president is to be blamed for $4 a gallon gas, arguably the most visible price in the American economy today.

The narrative was working against the president, who currently gets some of his lowest poll marks for his handling of energy prices, even though the causes of higher prices are largely beyond his control. Even so, we shouldn’t expect the Republicans to simply drop the rhetoric.

“Until we are at the point where people don’t feel like they’re squeezing their entire paychecks into the gas tank, it’s an issue that Republicans are going to keep talking about,” said a Senate Republican aide.

Washington Extra – Pump It Up

If you had to pick a name for a deli sandwich in honor of Washington, D.C., there’s one clear choice: “The Ruckus.” In the city’s super-charged atmosphere, politicians, lobbyists and hired aides can barely let anything go by without a fight. 

Today it was rising gasoline prices that have Republicans and Democrats at each other’s throats. Both parties realize they really cannot do very much about retail prices, but they’re scrambling in hopes that voters don’t blame them for a pocketbook issue in an election year.

“Every time prices go up, there’s some sort of ruckus,”  Marc Spitzer, an-ex energy regulator appointed by former President George W. Bush, told Reuters.

Somebody please buy this candidate a coffeemaker

coffee.jpgSEDONA, Arizona – Taking a few days off from the presidential race, Sen. John McCain nonetheless keeps the media on its toes with a daily, early morning trip for coffee.

The Republican presidential candidate, who is staying at his comfortable home in the hills near Sedona, has been driven with staff, Secret Service, reporters, photographer and a television crew in tow to a Starbucks.

There, he quickly gets a cup to go and returns home.

On Friday, the six-vehicle motorcade — four SUVS and two vans– drove him 19 miles roundtrip to a Starbucks in Sedona.

Obama courts the over-70 set

CHARLES CITY, Indiana – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama tried on Thursday to win over members of one of his most skeptical audiences: senior citizens.

Those voters have tended to be a strong base for Obama’s rival Hillary Clinton, a former first lady and New York senator. At 60, Clinton is older than the 46-year-old Obama and is seen by many older voters as the more experienced candidate.

Visiting an assisted living center in Indiana, the Illinois senator shared stories about his grandfather’s service in World War II, his grandmother’s frugality and his mother’s battle with cancer.barack.jpg

Clinton takes aim at Obama, Big Oil

GRAHAM, N.C. – Offering Americans a summer tax holiday from soaring gasoline prices as another example of why she is the best candidate for president, Sen. Hillary Clinton took aim on Monday at her Democratic Party rival Sen. Barack Obama.

“This is one of the big differences in this race. My opponent Senator Obama opposes giving consumers a break on the gas tax at the federal level. I support it. I understand the American people need some relief,” she told supporters gathered in a fire station here.rtr1zx96.jpg

“Meanwhile Sen. (John) McCain says he’s all for a gas tax holiday, but he won’t pay for it. Well, that is a mistake because we can’t give up on building and repairing our roads. My plan is 100 percent paid for with the windfall profits tax on Big Oil,” she said.