Tales from the Trail

Biden cancels campaign events, illness in family

joe-wife1.jpgWILMINGTON, Del. – With a sick relative and a son headed off to war, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden has grounded his campaign for a few days. 

Biden canceled a visit to Washington, D.C., on Saturday night and a trip to Virginia on Sunday because of what a spokesman called “a serious illness” in the family of his wife, Jill.

 ”Hospice has advised the Bidens to remain close by, and we appreciate everyone’s respect for the family’s privacy,” the spokesman, David Wade, said in a statement.

Biden didn’t campaign on Friday, either. 

Instead, he spent the day after his big debate with Republican rival Sarah Palin in his home state of Delaware.

His only public appearance was at a departure ceremony in Dover for 112 members of the Army Delaware National Guard, including his son, Beau, who is being deployed to Iraq for about a year. 

Biden chokes up as he goes toe to toe with Palin on family challenges

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden went toe to toe with Republican rival Sarah Palin at their debate when talking about understanding the kitchen table issues families face, choking up when talking about the challenges they face.

When asked about his Achilles heel possibly being his lack of discipline, Biden turned the question around to talk about his “excessive passion”.

Palin has periodically talked about her challenges as a mother without health care coverage as well as raising a family of five, including her decision to have a child that would have down syndrome.

Veep debate includes zingers … and a few gaffes

The vice presidential contenders Joe Biden and Sarah Palin offered their share of zingers and even a couple gaffes during their one and only debate on Thursday in St. Louis.

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Biden tried to link the health care plan offered by Palin and presidential hopeful John McCain to Palin’s past support of a now-famous congressional earmark to fund a bridge to a small island that was labeled the “Bridge to Nowhere.”  

“So you’re going to have to place — replace a $12,000 plan with a $5,000 check you just give to the insurance company.  I call that the ‘Ultimate Bridge to Nowhere,’” Biden said.
 
Meanwhile, Palin corrected her rival about the offshore drilling for energy resources when Biden said “drill, drill drill.” 

VP debate starts with friendly greeting – “Can I call you Joe?”

rtx95r5.jpgWhile last week Republican hopeful John McCain did not call his opponent Barack Obama by his first name during a 90-minute debate, McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin wasted no time getting friendly with her opponent during the vice presidential debate on Thursday.

It came when she exchanged greetings with her opponent, Democrat Joe Biden, and they shook hands.

“Nice to meet you. Hey, can I call you Joe?” she said.

“Of course,” Biden replied with a smile. 

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

- Photo credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking (Biden and Palin meet for the first time at the vice presidential debate in St. Louis.)
 

Witchgate? Another day, another Palin video …

DALLAS – Another day, another video showing Sarah Palin in church.

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The latest Palin You Tube video to show up on the Internet features grainy footage of John McCain’s vice presidential running mate receiving a blessing against witchcraft in a Pentecostal church in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska.

You can see the video here. Palin says nothing in it and keeps her head bowed throughout the blessing that was reportedly given by a Kenyan pastor and witch hunter.

The video, like a previous one in which Palin tells a congregation that U.S. troops in Iraq were on a “task from God,”  has been widely reported and commented on. It reportedly was made in 2005 before she was elected governor of Alaska. It began circulating on the Internet this week.

Palin sees debate with Biden as ‘quite a task’

WASHINGTON – Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin sounds a bit wary about her upcoming debate with her really, really, really experienced Democratic rival.
 
“Senator (Joe) Biden has a tremendous amount of experience,” she told Fox News. “I think he was first elected when I was like in the second grade.”
 
If her running mate John McCain, 72, wasn’t hoping to be the oldest person to begin a first term as president, one might think Palin was suggesting Biden, 65, was old. 
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“He’s been in there a long, long, long time,” Palin said. “So he’s got the experience. He probably has the sound bites. He has the rhetoric. He knows what’s expected of him. He is a great debater, also.”
 
“So yes, it’s going to be quite a task in front of me,” she said.
 
Palin also said she didn’t mean to insult Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in her nominating speech when she belittled his experience as a community organizer. 

“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities,” she told the Republican convention.
 
“I certainly didn’t mean to hurt his feelings,” Palin told Fox News. “Didn’t mean to offend any community organizers either.”
 
She said she did it because Obama had taken a shot at small town mayors.
 
The Alaska governor, little-known before being chosen as McCain’s running mate, said she respected former Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton but disagreed with her on the issues.
 
Clinton has been campaigning on behalf of Obama since losing the Democratic nomination, but she has avoided direct confrontation with Palin.
 
Clinton planned to speak at a demonstration against the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, near the United Nations which convenes its annual General Assembly next week but she canceled the appearance on Wednesday after learning Palin would also address the crowd.
 
A Clinton adviser said the protest had not been billed as a partisan political event.
 
Organizers of the demonstration subsequently announced Thursday they had decided not to let any American political personalities appear.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Hillary Clinton: Happy to stump for Obama-Biden

rtr21rk6.jpgWASHINGTON – Given the rise of Sarah Palin’s political star, is Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama regretting his decision not to choose Hillary Clinton as his running mate?

Palin, the Republican vice presidential running mate to White House hopeful John McCain, thinks so and even Obama’s running mate wondered whether Clinton would have been a better choice instead of Joe Biden. But what about Clinton herself?

“We have a great Democratic vice-presidential candidate,” Clinton said when asked about Palin’s comment in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that will air on Tuesday.

Biden ramps up attack dog role in Obama campaign

CHICAGO – Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, trying to step up his role of attack dog, on Monday labeled Republican John McCain as a “profoundly out of touch” politician using dishonorable tactics to try to win the White House.rtx88ms.jpg

In excerpts from a speech he is to give in Michigan, Biden, running mate to presidential hopeful Barack Obama, said both McCain’s policies and his campaign strategies mirror those of the unpopular U.S. President George W. Bush.

“We’ve seen this movie before, folks. But as everyone knows, the sequel is always worse than the original,” Biden will say in the speech he will give in St. Clair Shores, Mich.

Obama presses sharper message against McCain, despite Ike

MANCHESTER, N.H. – As Hurricane Gustav threatened to wreak havoc on the Gulf Coast two weeks ago, Democrat Barack Obama made a point of toning down his campaign rhetoric during a swing through the Midwest, saying it was not a time for politics.

The White House hopeful and his Republican opponent John McCain also took a day off from battling each other on Thursday to observe the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in a solemn ceremony at Ground Zero in New York City.

But Obama, who has faced complaints from some supporters that he is not fighting back hard enough against McCain’s attacks, was undeterred in his determination on Saturday to keep up a more aggressive tone to his campaigning as Hurricane Ike raked Texas.

Biden says Obama is a friend of Israel

obama-israe.jpegDEERFIELD BEACH, Florida – Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden stood up for running mate Barack Obama on Tuesday, insisting that he is a friend of Israel.

Speaking at a largely Jewish senior citizen community center, Biden, known as a strong supporter of the Jewish state during his 35 years in the Senate, said Obama shares his longtime support of Israel as an important ally in the often volatile Middle East.

Biden said he would not have agreed to give up his job as chairman of U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee to become Obama’s vice presidential nominee “if I didn’t in my gut and in my heart and in my head know that Barack Obama is exactly where I am on Israel.”