After rocking the house for decades, could Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp rock the U.S. Senate?
Just three weeks into his presidency, Barack Obama heads back out on the campaign trail today. This time he’s going to a hard-hit part of Indiana where unemployment has soared, to try to build support for an $800 billion economic stimulus package.
WASHINGTON – Sen. Richard Lugar, a heavyweight in U.S. foreign policy, intends to stay in the Senate despite speculation the Indiana Republican may be the next secretary of state, said a spokesman on Monday.
“He’s been very clear that he won’t be serving in any administration, that he likes his current job and will stay put,” Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher said in an email.
Lugar, 76, has been mentioned as a possible secretary of state for Democrat Barack Obama as well as previous candidates. He is the Republican leader on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, is the chairman.
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.
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.”
INDIANAPOLIS – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, seeking to erode rival Hillary Clinton’s edge with blue-collar workers, made a personal pitch for their support on the eve of Tuesday’s Indiana and North Carolina primaries.
KEMPTON, Indiana – Barack Obama, vying for support from Hoosiers before Indiana’s Tuesday primary, reconnected with his roots in the state with a visit to a farmhouse owned by his family for generations.
The white Victorian home in rural Kempton sits on land owned by Obama’s fourth great-grandfather, who passed it down several generations within the family of Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham. Ann Dunham was from Kansas but she later moved to Hawaii, where Obama was raised.
The Kempton farmhouse was built by William Riley Dunham, a great uncle of Obama. After the Dunham family gave it up, it was used at one stage as a funeral home and was recently purchased by Sean Clements, who plans to spruce it.
As part of an effort to show a folksier side of the Illinois senator, the campaign planned the visit to the house as an outdoor potluck dinner with Clements and his family and friends.
But the weather didn’t cooperate. It was chilly with big gusts of wind that toppled the foldup tables set up in the back yard. So the tables had to be taken down and the dinner was scrapped in favor of a walk-around tour by Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters, Sasha, 6, and Malia, 9.
But there were no shortages of other opportunities to show the “regular guy” side of Obama, who has said he is determined to counter efforts by his opponents to portray him and his wife as “elitist, pointy-headed intellectual types.”
The Obamas visited a picnic gathering in Noblesville at lunchtime. In the evening, they stopped by a roller-skating rink for an “ice cream social” with supporters. Obama did not skate, though his daughters did.