Tales from the Trail

Obama: Russia, U.S. should not ‘charge into’ other countries

LYNCHBURG, Virginia – Democrat Barack Obama scolded Russia again on Wednesday for invading another country’s sovereign territory while adding a new twist: the United States, he said, should set a better example on that front, too.

The Illinois senator’s opposition to the Iraq war, which his comment clearly referenced, is well known. But this was the first time the Democratic presidential candidate has made a comparison between the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Russia’s recent military activity in Georgia.

“We’ve got to send a clear message to Russia and unify our allies,” Obama told a crowd of supporters in Virginia. “They can’t charge into other countries. Of course it helps if we are leading by example on that point.”

Foreign policy has become a dividing line in the race for the White House.

Obama favors a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq over 16 months, while John McCain, his Republican rival for president, opposes a timeline and says U.S. forces must stay to finish and win the war.

McCain, an Arizona senator, sought to highlight his foreign policy credentials during the Russia-Georgia crisis last week, giving a series of harsh statements directed at Moscow soon after the conflict began.

Schwarzenegger says “maybe” to GOP convention

arnold.jpgCalifornia Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to help kick off the opening night of the Republican Convention on Sept. 1, but the “governator” says his appearance is contingent on whether a state budget agreement is reached between Republicans and Democrats. 

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon where the governor rolled out his budget compromise plan, Schwarzenegger said he “made it very clear” to Arizona Sen. John McCain that he’s “honored” to speak at the convention — but the budget comes first. 

“The state of California and the budget is the most important thing,” Schwarzenegger said to reporters. “If I do not have a budget, I cannot speak at the convention.”

Veeps are anyone’s guess, and everyone’s guessing

WASHINGTON – With the expectation that Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain will announce their vice presidential running mates any day (or hour) now, rumors are flying fast, many of them contradictory.rtr218ur.jpg

Taegan Goddard over at Political Wire has a good summation of who is saying what on the VP hunt, while the candidates themselves are keeping their lips sealed.

The Palmetto Scoop (from South Carolina) is citing a source saying that Virginia officials were called into an emergency meeting to discuss a line of succession for possible Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine if he’s picked.

72 Candles and a Running Mate

mccain1.jpgWASHINGTON – Republican White House hopeful John McCain may unwrap a surprise of his own when he celebrates his birthday next week in the battleground state of Ohio.

The Arizona senator turns 72 on Aug. 29 and plans to celebrate by naming his vice presidential pick at a rally in Dayton with 10,000 supporters, Politico.com reported .

McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan would not comment on the report when reporters asked about it after his campaign plane landed in New Orleans on Monday evening.

Obama, with sniffles, reassures Democrats about White House win

obama2.jpgALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – Democrats are getting nervous — and Barack Obama seems to sense it.

The Illinois senator, fresh from a trip to Hawaii where he picked up a cold, has been rallying supporters in the past two days, urging them not to be anxious about Republican attacks that have helped lift Arizona Sen. John McCain in the polls.

“Everywhere I go people have told me, ‘Oh, I’m getting nervous. The Republicans — they’re so mean … What are we going to do?’” Obama told a town hall meeting with some 1,800 people on Monday.

American troops put their money on Obama

WASHINGTON – Republican John McCain‘s warning that Barack Obama isn’t ready for the awesome job of commander-in-chief may not be registering with a key constituency: the American military.troops.jpg

According to a study released by the Washington watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics, U.S. troops, and especially those deployed abroad, are talking with their wallets and saying they want Democrat Obama as the next president.

Obama has received nearly six times as much money from troops deployed overseas at the time of their contributions than McCain and the “fiercely anti-war Ron Paul,” another Republican presidential candidate, CRP said.

Cindy McCain’s wrist hurt by a campaign handshake

LIVONIA, Mich. – Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain said on Wednesday that his wife, Cindy, had become the victim of an overenthusiastic
supporter.

“An individual shook her hand very vigorously at the last event we were at and she has a minor sprain,” McCain told a press conference during a day of fund-raising in this cindy.jpgbattleground state.

Cindy McCain was X-rayed at a local hospital and treated for the sprain.

Appearing beside her husband with her arm in a blue sling, she said she was absolutely fine.

Georgia on my mind — McCain

WASHINGTON – What does it mean to be Georgian? To President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is looking toward the United States for help in his battle with Russia, it is more than just words.saak.jpg“Yesterday I heard Sen. (John) McCain say we are all Georgians. Well very nice … but of course it’s time to pass from words to deeds,” Saakashvili said in an interview with CNN.

The Republican presidential candidate in a strongly worded statement against Russia’s military operations in Georgia on Tuesday said the United States and its allies “must stand united” in trying to persuade Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgia.

McCain told reporters after he spoke by telephone with Saakashvili that the Georgian president knew that the “brave little nation” had the thoughts and prayers of Americans.

Lieberman: Obama shows “inexperience” over Georgia

TEANECK, N.J. – Former Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Lieberman slammed Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday over the Russian invasion of Georgia and said that the Democrat still wasn’t experienced enough for the White Housejoe.jpg.
“We’ve got a real clear choice to make. And I say it respectfully to Sen. Obama because he’s a gifted young man. But he’s not ready to be president on Jan. 20th of 2009,” Lieberman, of Connecticut, told a fund raising event for Republican hopeful John McCain.

“As the Russians move into Georgia as aggressors, and if you read the statements from the beginning, from Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama, one had a kind of moral neutrality to it that comes I think from inexperience.

“The other’s — Sen. McCain’s — was strong and clear and principled and put America where America always want to be, on the side of freedom,” he said while introducing McCain.

McCain wants to do better with the youth vote

YORK, Pa. – John McCain, teased as “that wrinkly, white-haired guy” by Paris Hilton, said on Tuesday he knew he wasn’t connecting with young voters but urged them to give him a hearing.

“I need to do a better job … with young voters in America and I want to reach out to them,” he told a former Sen. Hillary Clinton supporter now pondering whether to support him or his Democratic presidential opponent Barack Obama.

The questioner said during the town hall meeting in York, Pennsylvania he wasn’t sure what McCain stood for on issues like education that mattered to young voters.