Tales from the Trail

Punches come fast and furious in opening debate round

September 27, 2008

WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama came out swinging on the economic crisis facing the U.S. financial system during the first U.S. presidential debate, while Republican rival John McCain first words were to praise the bipartisan efforts to craft a rescue plan. rtx8yoi.jpg
 
Obama blasted the Bush administration and tried to tie the last eight years to McCain. 
 
“This is a final verdict on eight years of failed economic policy promoted by George Bush and supported by Senator McCain,” Obama said as the debate at the University of Mississippi opened.
 
Meanwhile McCain said he, along with many Americans, had not been feeling so great about the U.S. economy these days — stark contrast to his widely-panned comment more than a week ago that the fundamentals of the economy were strong — and he welcomed Democrats and Republicans working together for a plan.
 
“I’m feeling a little better tonight,” McCain said. “”We have finally seen Republicans and Democrats sitting down and negotiating together and coming up with a package.”
 
They both cited the need for transparency and oversight in the rescue plan. 
 
But missing from the two senators — one of whom will be president come Jan. 20 — was a firm commitment to vote for the rescue package being crafted. Obama said the language hadn’t been crafted yet but was optimistic a deal could be struck while McCain said he hoped he could vote for it.

McCain to attend debate, Web ad claims victory already

September 26, 2008

WASHINGTON – Ah the Internet world, a place where things move very quickly — maybe too quickly in the political world.

Letterman skewers McCain for canceling ‘Late Show’ visit

September 25, 2008

WASHINGTON – John McCain should have seen this one coming.
 
The Republican presidential candidate suspended his campaign and dramatically announced he was going to Washington to help hammer out a $700 billion bailout to save the U.S. economy.
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Then he called to cancel with David Letterman. At the last minute. Leaving the wickedly funny late night comic with blank airtime to fill. Probably not the smartest move.
 
“Senator John McCain, the Republican candidate for president, was supposed to be on the program tonight,” Letterman said in an opening volley. “But had to cancel the show because he’s suspending his campaign because the economy is exploding.”
 
“You know who John McCain is,” he added to laughter from his live audience. “He’s the running mate of Sarah Palin, you’re aware of that?”
 
And that was just the start. Letterman wasn’t about to let it go. After heaping praise on McCain as an American hero, it was right back to the cancellation.
 
“When you call up and you call up at the last minute and you cancel a show, ladies and gentlemen, that’s starting to smell,” Letterman said. “This, this is not the John McCain I know, by God. It makes me believe something’s gone haywire with the campaign.”
 
“This just doesn’t smell right because this is not the way a tested hero behaves. Somebody’s putting something in his Metamucil,” he said.

To debate, or not to debate, that is the question

September 24, 2008

WASHINGTON – Republican presidential hopeful John McCain has proposed postponing the first debate with his rival, Democrat Barack Obama, citing a need for the two senators to return to Congress to help hammer out a compromise on a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street.

New crop of ads has both Obama, McCain slinging mud

September 23, 2008

WASHINGTON – If mud is the currency of political campaigns, the U.S. presidential race is on sounder footing than Wall Street.
 
Just look at the latest crop of campaign ads.
 
The way they tell it, voters on Nov. 4 are either going to elect a president with crooked friends or one who rtx8tgc.jpgwouldn’t mind seeing them sick and poor in retirement.
 
Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s new commercial portrays rival Barack Obama as being part of a corrupt Chicago political machine.
 
It revives questions about Obama’s links to political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko, who raised up to $250,000 for the Illinois senator’s previous political campaigns.
 
Rezko was convicted of fraud, attempted bribery and money laundering earlier this year. Obama has not been accused of any wrongdoing in connection with Rezko but has acknowledged an error of judgment in a land deal with the businessman.
 
McCain’s ad tries to tar Obama with his fundraiser’s misdeeds, and with his connections with Chicago politicians who have been investigated for various issues.
 
“His money man Tony Rezko. Client. Patron. Convicted,” the ad announcer intones. His political godfather Emil Jones. Under ethical cloud. His governor Rod Blagojevich. A legacy of federal and state investigations.”
 
“With friends like that, Obama is not ready to lead,” the ad says.

Media gets a lashing at McCain event

September 22, 2008

bristol1.jpgSCRANTON, Pa. – The news media got a brisk scolding from a supporter of Sen. John McCain at the Republican presidential nominee’s town hall meeting on Tuesday.

Lets Talk About Spain, Or Not

September 19, 2008

WASHINGTON - John McCain’s campaign insists the Republican presidential candidate’s response to an interviewer’s question about Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was neither a gaffe nor a dodge.
 
McCain knew exactly what he was saying, a campaign spokesman said on Thursday.
 
In the interview this week on Radio Caracol in Miami, McCain was askedmccain.jpg about Latin America and South America and then the reporter moved on to Spain and questioned him about meeting with Zapatero.
 
“I would be willing to meet with those leaders who are friends and want to work with us in a cooperative fashion. And, by the way, President Calderon of Mexico is fighting a very very tough fight against the drug cartels. I intend to move forward with relations and invite as many of them as I can, of those leaders, to the White House,” McCain responded.
 
McCain was well aware that the reporter had moved on to another leader in another hemisphere, senior campaign advisor Randy Scheunemann said.
 
“The questioner asked several times about Sen. McCain’s willingness to meet Zapatero, and I-D’d him in the question so there is no doubt Sen. McCain knew exactly to whom the question referred,” Scheunemann said.
 
“Sen. McCain refused to commit to a White House meeting with President Zapatero in this interview,” Scheunemann said.
 
Within weeks of taking office in 2004, Zapatero withdrew Spanish troops serving in Iraq. The move by Spain’s Socialist government put a chill on relations between Washington and Madrid.

Palin sees debate with Biden as ‘quite a task’

September 18, 2008

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. 

Controversial Obama ad revives immigration issue

September 18, 2008

Immigration has been absent from the presidential campaign for months, but it came to the front again this week in a controversial television spot for Barack Obama.

Hagel questions Palin experience

September 18, 2008

Sarah Palin has energized the Republican base since John McCain picked her as his vice-presidential running mate, but one prominent Republican is not impressed.hagelobama.jpg