Tales from the Trail
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Pennsylvania native and Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden hopes the Philadelphia Phillies’ baseball World Series win is a good omen for Tuesday’s presidential election.
In the wake her $150,000 wardrobe flap, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has complained that male politicians largely escape the scrutiny that she undergoes from the fashion police.
ROANOKE, Va. – Warming up a crowd for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama in the Blue Ridge mountain region of Virginia, Sen. Jim Webb on Friday took aim at Republican vice presidential pick Sarah Palin’s qualifications.
WASHINGTON – If you want a recession-proof job, maybe being a member of Congress is the way to go.
With the U.S. economy tanking, the 535 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate appear well-positioned to weather the storm, according to an analysis of their personal wealth by the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.
In 2007, the U.S. economy grew at 2.2 percent, the slowest pace in five years, with only 0.6 percent growth in the last quarter of that year, according to government statistics.
Things were rosier for those sitting on Capitol Hill.
According to CRP’s survey, the net worth for members of Congress grew 11 percent in 2007, “despite indications last year that the economy was headed south.”
In that year, senators had a median net worth of about $1.7 million, according to CRP, with 61 percent of senators considered millionaires.
For House members, median net worth was about $684,000, with 39 percent in the millionaire club. That compares to about 1 percent of all Americans reaching that status.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, a senator from Illinois, had a fabulous year in 2007, when he became the 31st richest senator, up from 70th richest in 2006, thanks mostly to royalties from two best-selling books, CRP said. His net worth grew from about $800,000 in 2006 to $4.7 million.
Obama’s opponent, Sen. John McCain went the other direction, but don’t feel too sad. He was the 12th richest senator, with a net worth of $28.5 million last year, thanks mostly to wife Cindy’s family fortune. That was down from 10th place in 2006.
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – They weren’t part of the debate, but vice presidential candidates Sarah Palin and Joe Biden did get some time in the spotlight on Wednesday.
At their final debate before the November 4 election, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain were each asked to rate the other’s vice presidential pick.
Obama, when asked whether Palin, the governor of Alaska, was qualified to be president, demurred.
“You know, I think it’s — that’s going to be up to the American people,” the Illinois senator said. “I think that, obviously, she’s a capable politician who has, I think, excited the — a base in the Republican Party.”
Notice he did not mention her level of experience.
McCain, when asked about Biden, said he disagreed with his Senate colleague but declared him qualified to be in the White House. “I think that Joe Biden is qualified in many respects. But I do point out that he’s been wrong on many foreign policy and national security issues, which is supposed to be his strength,” McCain said.
“In Iraq, he had this cockamamie idea about dividing Iraq into three countries,” the Arizona senator continued. “There are several issues in which, frankly, Joe Biden and I open and honestly disagreed on national security policy, and he’s been wrong on a number of the major ones.”
WILMINGTON, Del. – Expect Joe Biden to come out swinging Wednesday when the Democratic vice presidential nominee resumes his campaign after a five-day break to attend family matters.
Biden goes to Florida where he’s ready again to hit Republican presidential nominee John McCain on the top issue among voters, the ailing economy.
He’s also expected to rip into McCain for increased attacks in recent days on Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
With a month to go before Election Day, candidates normally accelerate their campaign schedules. But with his son heading off to the Iraq war and mother-in-law dying after a long illness, Biden grounded his campaign to be at home with family.
He’s been in Delaware since the morning after his debate last Thursday in St. Louis with Republican rival Sarah Palin.
Both Biden and Palin gave what were widely seen as strong performances.
Biden told Newsweek magazine the next day — in an interview at a coffee shop near his home in Wilmington — that he was happy with the debate, that he liked Palin but that doesn’t believe their showdown will have much impact.
“The real issue is John and Barack,” Biden said.
Biden planned to watch Tuesday night’s Obama-McCain debate at home with family, an aide said.