Tales from the Trail

Obama takes on Clinton’s “electability” argument

obama3.jpg DURHAM, N.C. – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama took aim on Monday at his rival Hillary Clinton’s argument that he is less electable than her given his recent series of troubles and because he has not been fully “vetted.”

Amid a flap over comments from his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and other controversies, Obama has seen his poll numbers slide lately against both Clinton and the Republican candidate for November’s election, John McCain.

Obama publicly denounced Wright last week after the pastor moved back into the spotlight and repeated his inflammatory charges that the Sept. 11 attacks were in part retribution for U.S. policy and that the government spread AIDS to harm blacks.

Obama has also faced questions about his association with 1960s radical William Ayres and about why he doesn’t wear a U.S. flagpin.

The Illinois senator said those issues had hurt his campaign but did not “knock us off stride.” The fact that the impact from those problems was not greater was a sign that his candidacy was strong, he said.

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.”

Clinton turns tables on former aide-turned-journalist Stephanopoulos

INDIANAPOLIS – A brief disclaimer at the top of the show was not enough to keep ABC moderator George Stephanopoulos from becoming part of the story on Sunday during his interview with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.clinton-pic.jpg

Stephanopoulos, who worked for President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, opened his interview with the New York senator on his television program “This Week” by referencing his previous employer.

“For any who don’t know, I worked for President Clinton from 1991 to 1996,” he said.

John Mellencamp rocks Clinton campaign

mellencamp.jpgINDIANAPOLIS – Rock star John Mellencamp played for Hillary Clinton in his home state of Indiana on Saturday, just a few days after he played for her rival, Barack Obama.

“This country’s got to change, and you’re the people who can change it,” he told a crowd of Clinton supporters shivering in an evening chill in White River State Park in Indianapolis.

Mellencamp, an Indiana native who still lives in the state, then launched into “Our Country,” a song often played at Clinton campaign events.

Clinton: Dancing backwards in high heels?

CARY, N.C. – A double standard that treats men and women differently still exists in the race for the White House, Hillary Clinton told an audience on Saturday.

The former first lady recalled Hollywood dancing stars Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and the famous saying that Rogers did everything Astaire did but “backwards and ihillnc1.jpgn high heels.”

“I do think that there is still something of a double standard,” she said in North Carolina. “I think there is a certain element of that.”

Clinton gets a boost from a Kennedy

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN.  – Robert Kennedy Jr. — a Kennedy who is not backing Sen. Barack Obama — campaigned on Thursday for Sen. Hillary Clinton, saying he wanted to explain why other members of his family are wrong and he is right.

bobby.jpg“I am here because I love this woman,” he told a crowd of Clinton supporters in southern Indiana, which holds its presidential nominating primary on Tuesday.

“There are some members of my family who have decided to do the wrong thing and support Barack Obama,” he said. “Let me tell you why they’re wrong and I’m right, because I know Hillary Clinton better than they know Barrack Obama.”

Arnold Stands by His Man

schwarz.jpgBEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Wednesday he’s likely to make another major speech at the Republican National Convention later this year, as he did in 2004, and that he’s going to join his buddy John McCain on the campaign trail later this year.

The governor spoke of his plans during a lunch session for participants at the Milken Institute Global Conference on the economy.

Schwarzenegger announced on Jan. 31 that he is supporting McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Religion issue hurting Obama with Indiana cafe patrons

SHELBYVILLE, Ind. – Barack Obama can talk about his childhood years in Kansas and upbringing by his white Midwestern grandparents, but if voters at one small-town Indiana cafe are any indication, he has a long way to go to convince them he represents heartland America.

“Obama has great ideas but his background scares me,” said Chris Leighton, 60, a secretary having lunch at the Chaperral Cafe in Shelbyville, in southeast Indiana. “Everyone talks about him being a Muslim and having ties to terrorism, but how do people really find out?” img_1530_1.JPG

The incorrect belief that the Illinois senator is a Muslim was shared by half a dozen others in the restaurant — a sign that dirty campaign tactics and Internet innuendo has taken root among some voters in Indiana, the next state to vote.

As politicians come to North Carolina, Edwards goes to Disneyworld

While Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton criss-cross North Carolina hunting for votes ahead of the May 6 Democratic primary election, one prominent resident of the state is missing: John Edwards.rtr1wh8r.jpg

He’s gone to Disneyworld, for a long-planned vacation with his family.

Edwards, who withdrew from his second presidential race in January, has not yet endorsed a candidate, though both Clinton and Obama have wooed him.

Though they’re supposedly away from the political infighting while at Disneyworld, Edwards’ wife Elizabeth is keeping her feet wet.

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.