Tales from the Trail

The Day After: everyone’s got an opinion

Everyone’s got an opinion about what happened Tuesday when Senator Arlen Specter — long-term Republican, newly turned Democrat — lost the Pennsylvania primary, Tea Party candidate Ron Paul won the Senate Republican primary in Kentucky, and neither Democrat in the Arkansas Senate primary could muster 50 percent of the vote so they have to do it all over again in June.

USA-POLITICS/In all of the contests, there was only one person who won an actual seat in Congress on Tuesday night — Democrat Mark Critz who took the special election for the Pennsylvania district seat left vacant by the death of Rep. John Murtha earlier this year.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs @PressSec tweeted “Sort of says it all…” with a link to a Politico story headlined “The GOP’s special failure.”

Talking Points Memo wrote that National Republicans were the “big loser.”

Interesting take in a Washington Post blog by Jonathan Capehart who said the Democrat win in Pennsylvania’s special election might actually be a problem for President Barack Obama because Critz is pro-life, pro-guns, and against the new healthcare law.

Pennsylvania primary: undecideds may decide it

The Pennsylvania Democratic primary may end up decided by the undecideds.

Senator Arlen Specter and Congressman Joe Sestak are vying for the Democratic vote in Tuesday’s primary, which will determine who  runs against the Republican candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate seat in November. SPORT BASEBALL

A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday shows the race is too close to call — with Sestak at 42 pecent versus Specter at 41 percent. Add to the mix 16 percent undecided and 25 percent saying they might change their mind, and the vote could go any which way.

“Sen. Arlen Specter has the party organization behind him, which should help with turnout. But Congressman Joe Sestak could benefit from the relatively large group of undecided voters.  Generally, incumbents don’t do all that well with undecideds, who are more likely to vote for the challenger or not vote,”  said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Bunning pitches fit, Republican team uncertain how to play it

Senator Jim Bunning has put his foot down. And his own Republican teammates are trying hard not to call a foul.

The former professional baseball player who is retiring from his Kentucky seat this year has basically decided this is where he draws the line. BASEBALL/

If we were to mix sports metaphors, Bunning has become a football lineman – a one-man blocking machine of legislation to renew jobless benefits, highway construction and other programs that expired on Sunday night. His reasoning is that until there is a definite way to pay for the bill, he does not want to add to the debt.

Cheney to do a little last-minute campaigning in Wyoming

UPDATED – Adds Laura Bush event

WASHINGTON – Vice President Dick Cheney will take a different approach than his boss to the presidential campaign this last weekend before election day — he will spend it at a public rally in his home state.

Cheney will attend a Get-Out-the-Vote rally in Laramie, Wyoming on Saturday, a rare public sighting on the campaign trail by Cheney or his boss, President George W. Bush. Both have attended numerous fundraisers around the country this election cycle but with their job approval ratings hovering around record lows, they have almost all been closed-door affairs.

Unlike Cheney, Bush is spending the last weekend of the 2008 campaign season secluded at the Camp David presidential retreat.

Clinton in the past tense? Almost with Obama

obama-smiles.jpgROSEBURG, Oregon – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama appears ready to put his opponent, Hillary Clinton, into the past tense of the grueling primary campaign.

When asked on Saturday at a rally in Roseburg about party unity, the Illinois senator acknowledged people’s concerns about the length of the nominating process but assured them that Democrats would come out united in the end.

“It was pretty tough and hard fought,” he said about the primary season, describing the former first lady as a “formidable opponent.”

If you have a job, Clinton may not be for you

supporter.jpgLORETTO,  KENTUCKY  -   Sen.  Hillary Clinton, campaigning in rural Kentucky, on Saturday blasted critics telling her to drop out of the presidential race as America’s advantaged and well-heeled trying to tell the rest of the nation what to think and do.

“All those people on TV who are telling you and everybody else that this race is over and I should just be graceful and say, ‘Oh, it’s over,’” she said in Loretto, Kentucky. “Those are all people who have a job. Those are all people who have health care. Those are all people who can afford to send their kids to college. Those are all people who can pay whatever is charged at the gas pump.

“They’re not the people I’m running to be a champion for,” she said after touring a bourbon distillery. “I’m running to be a champion for all of you and your children and your grandchildren.”

Hillary the Fighter versus Hillary the Uniter?

boxer.jpgLOUISVILLE, Ky. – As Barack Obama gains momentum in his battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential nomination, there are signs that the scrappy New York senator’s inner fighter may be giving way to the uniter who will knit the fractured party back together once the bruising nomination process ends. 

But parsing her recent campaign speeches from West Virginia and South Dakota to Oregon and Kentucky, Clinton does not appear ready to give up the fight just yet.  

At a speech late on Friday here, Clinton appeared initially to aim for a conciliatory tone toward Obama, only mentioning her challenger to draw comparisons between women and blacks — two groups that she said had suffered greatly under the original U.S. Constitution written by America’s founders.