Tales from the Trail

McCain says Obama would rather lose a war than lose an election

mccainbushsr.jpgEPPING, New Hampshire – Though his rival may be on another continent at the moment, John McCain isn’t holding back from taking shots against Barack Obama

 The Republican presidential candidate came out on Tuesday with one of his sharpest attacks yet on Obama’s policies regarding the Iraq war, shortly after the Illinois senator wrapped up a visit to Baghdad. 

McCain pounded the Democratic presidential hopeful for opposing an increase in U.S. troop levels in Iraq — known as the “surge” — which has been credited with helping stabilize the country. 

 ”When we adopted the surge, we were losing the war in Iraq, and I stood up and said I would rather lose a campaign than lose a war,” McCain told reporters. 

 ”Apparently Sen. Obama, who does not understand what’s happening in Iraq or fails to acknowledge the success in Iraq, would rather lose a war than lose a campaign.” 

Comedian’s challenge aims to give McCain an excitement lift

When Republican presidential contender John McCain delivered a speech in front of a green backdrop in June, comedian Stephen Colbert decided the Arizona senator’s campaign could use a bit more excitement.

Colbert, of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” issued the “Green Screen Challenge” to his viewers, urging them to take stock footage of McCain’s speech and turn  it into something more exciting.

Since then videos portraying McCain have been piling up on the YouTube and ColbertNation Web sites. He’s seen as a pelvis-twisting Elvis, a character in Star Trek and a model in a Madonna video, among other things. He even appears as Colbert himself.

Is the media in love with Obama?

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain apparently feels just a little jilted by the media lately given all the attention being paid to the trip by Democratic White House rival Barack Obama to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Europe.rtr20ejl.jpg

All three broadcast networks sent their anchors overseas to interview Obama during his travels. McCain has been maintaining his domestic campaign schedule, raising money and attending rallies in Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
McCain this week also tussled with the New York Times over an opinion piece he penned to respond to an op-ed Obama wrote about the Iraq war that ran in the newspaper. The Times sought revisions to his proposed piece, a request that McCain’s campaign rejected.

“The media is in love with Barack Obama,” the McCain campaign said in an e-mail to his supporters. “If it wasn’t so serious, it would be funny.”
To generate a little of his own buzz, the Arizona senator’s campaign pieced together clips of television news talking heads (lots of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews) professing how enamored they were of Obama and discussing the media’s purported love affair with the Democratic candidate.
They put the video to the music of two different love songs — Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “My Eyes Adored You.” They asked supporters to vote for their favorite, and the campaign said the winning one would be aired.
Is the media infatuated with Obama or covering a legitimate news story?

Bush Sr. praises McCain, muses about history and his son

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine – Former President George H.W. Bush doesn’t advise his son, won’t criticize Barack Obama and wants John McCain to be the next occupant of the White House.

That was the gist on Monday after he hosted the presumptive Republican presidential candidate at the lush Bush family compound in Maine.

Bush, the 41st president of the United States, had nothing but praise for McCain, the man he hopes will succeed his son, George W. Bush.

While Obama does Afghanistan, McCain does…baseball

NEW YORK – It’s a Sunday, Democrat Barack Obama is abroad, and John McCain is where? At a baseball game.  

The Republican presidential candidate, who is hoping to draw some attention away from his White House rival’s high profile trip to john-rudy.jpgEurope and the Middle East, kicked off his week by taking in an afternoon of America’s favorite game.

Who needs to go to the Middle East to be hot?

Dressed in a cap and sunglasses on a boiling day, McCain joined his friend and former rival Rudy Giuliani at Yankee Stadium, signing baseballs for surprised fans and enjoying a hot dog. 

TV anchors hunt for Obama exclusives on foreign trip

WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama drags with him a gaggle of reporters (wire services, newspaper, radio and television) wherever he goes, but when he heads overseas soon, he will have some television news stars accompanying him.

rtx5hvb.jpgAll three broadcast television network anchors, ABC’s Charlie Gibson, CBS’s Katie Couric and NBC’s Brian Williams, are negotiating to tag along, and according to the Washington Post they could each have an exclusive interview in different countries.

Obama is expected to travel through Europe (there has already been a kerfuffle about where he speaks in Berlin) and the Middle East, and he is also expected to make stops in Iraq and Afghanistan to see firsthand the status of the wars. He has been an outspoken critic of the conflicts, arguing the Bush administration took its eye off al Qaeda in Afghanistan to go to war with Iraq.

McCain glad Obama taking Hagel with him on foreign trip

OMAHA, Nebraska – U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain considers Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel a friend.

rtr1lk90.jpg“A very dear, close friend of mine, and I’ve cherished his friendship for many, many years” is how McCain put it on Wednesday.

So what does he think about Hagel, an outspoken Iraq war opponent, going with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on a visit to Iraq and Afghanistan?

Two potential VP picks to join Obama at Indiana event

obama.jpgCHICAGO – Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama is determined to keep his process for choosing a running mate a closely guarded secret, but he will appear in public on Wednesday with two men, Evan Bayh and Sam Nunn, who are widely thought to be under consideration for the No. 2 slot.

Bayh, an Indiana senator, and Nunn, a former Georgia senator, will appear with Obama at an event in Lafayette, Indiana that will focus on national security.
The event, billed as a “Summit on Confronting 21st Century Threats,” will cover such topics as nuclear non-proliferation, bioterrorism, cyber security and emerging national security threats, the Obama campaign said.

The Lafayette appearance comes a day after Obama renewed his call for an end to the Iraq war in a speech in Washington in which he urged the United States to refocus attention on Afghanistan and other national security priorities.

McCain revives Czechoslovakia as a country

ST. LOUIS  – Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who prides himself on his national security expertise, has twice in two days referred to recent Russian activities against Czechoslovakia, a country that no longer exists.
“I was concerned about a couple of steps that the Russian government took in the last several days. One was reducing the energy supplies to Czechoslovakia,” McCain told reporters on Monday in Phoenix.
He went on to repeat similar language on Tuesday at a town hall meeting in Albuquerque.
He was clearly referring to the Czech Republic, citing that government’s agreement with the United States over missile defense, an action he said prompted Moscow’s retaliation.

Czechoslovakia split into two parts, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, in 1993 after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
McCain’s campaign headquarters in suburban Washington D.C. got the distinction correct, issuing a written statement under McCain’s name late on Monday saying that “Russia’s 50 percent cut in oil deliveries to the Czech Republic” was deeply disturbing.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.  

Photo credit: Reuters/Fredy Builes (McCain and wife Cindy arrive in Colombia on a recent visit)

McCain: Quality of candidates makes VP search tough

ALBUQUERQUE – Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Tuesday his search for a vice presidential running mate is proving difficult because he has many qualified candidates.

rtr1ytqq.jpgA host of high-profile names have been circulating for weeks who McCain might be considering for vice president, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

At a town hall meeting in Albuquerque, McCain specifically took a question from a youngster described as a reporter, and the youth asked him about his vice presidential search.