Tales from the Trail

Palin gets a little help from a friend, Cindy McCain

WASHINGTON – The polls and pundits may be giving Sarah Palin a bad rap, but the Republican vice presidential candidate from Alaska has one staunch defender.

“I think she’s been treated very poorly in the press,” said Cindy McCain in an interview with CNN’s Larry King.

The wife of Republican presidential hopeful John McCain dismissed any idea that Palin has been a drag on the Republican ticket.

“She has done nothing but help this ticket. The size of the crowds she gets, the inspiration, the ability to get her message out, to get our message out. She is truly a remarkable woman,” McCain said.

As for the flap over the $150,000 the Republican Party spent on new clothes for Palin, how silly can the press be?

Superstitious Biden sure of Pennsylvania, not others

ZANESVILLE, Ohio – Joe Biden would bet his daughter’s graduate tuition on winning the battleground state of Pennsylvania, but he said he was not so sure of Ohio, Indiana or Missouri.

Speaking to reporters en route to a rally, the Democratic vice presidential candidate was upbeat about Tuesday’s election. But he would not say if he expected Barack Obama to win.

“I am superstitious and so I am not going to comment on us winning or losing,” he said.

Obama leaves no stone unturned, hits up MTV audience

WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama may be in the lead in the polls, but he’s leaving little to chance especially among younger voters.

He went on MTV to answer questions from young voters ranging from student loans and taxes to gay marriage and whether ordinances should be passed prohibiting sagging pants — yes sagging pants.

“I think people passing a law against people wearing sagging pants is a waste of time. We should be focused on creating jobs, improving our schools, health care, dealing with the war in Iraq,” Obama said.

Bush out of sight, but keeping eye on election

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush, who has stayed out of the public eye in the final days before the election to choose his successor, knows his popularity has suffered, but the White House insists he will have no problem looking in the mirror when he returns to Texas.

Bush spent the weekend at Camp David and has no public events on Monday or Tuesday. He last spoke with his preferred successor Republican John McCain on Sept. 25, the day of a White House meeting on the financial bailout.

McCain has actively campaigned to distance himself from the unpopular 43rd U.S. president, rarely appearing with Bush since capturing the Republican presidential nomination in March.

Punk-rock feud extends beyond the grave to presidential race

Punk rock innovators the Ramones made a joyful racket, but offstage they were rarely in tune.

Band members were known to feud about everything, from their song list to politics. Guitarist Johnny Ramone was a conservative, while singer Joey Ramone was a liberal.

Johnny and Joey are both dead now, but their feud lives on in the presidential race.

Last Waltz for McCain in New Hampshire?

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. — On Sunday night, John McCain returned to where it all began.

The Republican presidential candidate flew to New Hampshire for one last question-and-answer session with the voters who put him on the map in 2000 and brought his campaign back from the dead in January of this year.

“I come to the people of New Hampshire … and ask again to let me go on one more mission,” McCain said at the Peterborough town hall.

McCain’s final stop: Prescott, Arizona

For John McCain, the road to the White House ends in Prescott, Arizona.

The Arizona senator caps a frantic, final day of campaigning on Monday with a midnight rally on the courthouse steps in the old territorial capital, where he has concluded his earlier campaigns for Senate.

The courthouse plaza has hosted other notable rallies. Former Sen. Barry Goldwater, the 1964 presidential candidate who McCain regards as a role model, ended his campaigns there as well, as did members of the state’s Udall dynasty.

“It’s got great historical significance in Arizona,” said McCain adviser Mark Salter.

No Republican tricks at polls: McCain camp

WASHINGTON – A flier warning that Republicans could try to intimidate voters on Tuesday in the battleground state of Pennsylvania drew a sharp rebuke from John McCain’s camp.

The flier circulating in Lancaster County tells voters to be on alert for attempts to challenge their eligibility, according to McCain backer and former Sen. John Danforth.

He said the flier warns students and “people of color” they could be targeted, and some people might be told they cannot vote if they did not cast a ballot in the primaries, are delinquent on child support or have outstanding parking tickets.

McCain warns of too many Democrats in Washington

Is John McCain running against Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi?

At two rallies in Virginia on Saturday, the Republican candidate slammed the House Speaker and other congressional Democrats almost as much as his rival for the White House. A President Obama would be unlikely to curb the excesses of a Congress likely to remain in Democratic hands, he warned.

“The answer to a slowing economy is not higher taxes, but that’s what’s going to happen when Democrats have total control of Washington,” McCain told several thousand supporters in Springfield. “We can’t let it happen, my friends.”

McCain hopes voters will opt for partisan gridlock over one-party rule.

Supporters at both Virginia rallies, in Springfield and Newport News, booed lustily at the mention of Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, the acerbic chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. McCain invoked the trio several times as he raised the specter of higher taxes.

Obama, McCain still asking for money just before the election

NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia – Fundraising never stops.

Just before Tuesday’s election, U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain aren’t only trolling for votes, they’re asking for money.

“Make a donation of $5 or more today to expand our efforts in these new battleground states,” Obama campaign manager David Plouffe wrote in an email to supporters on Saturday  — three days  before the election –  referring to new states where the campaign was buying television ads. 

The incentive? Plouffe promised one lucky donor and a guest an all-expenses paid trip to Chicago for Obama’s rally on election night.