WASHINGTON – What a popular guy.
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama is so popular that some “tough decisions” had to be made about which members of the press corps would fly on his plane during the final days of the campaign.
Off the plane this weekend will be the Dallas Morning News, New York Post and Washington Times. Among those taking seats will be staffers from the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, according to a campaign official.
Flying with the candidate is crucial because it expedites getting to campaign events, eliminating the hassles of commercial travel, as well as provides access to the candidate or other officials on the plane.
“Unfortunately, demand for seats on the plane during this final weekend has far exceeded supply, and because of logistical issues we made the decision not to add a second plane,” said Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
“This means we’ve had to make hard and unpleasant for all concerned decisions about limiting some news organizations and in some cases not being in a position to offer space to news organizations altogether,” she said.
A campaign official said adding a second plane would have cut a city a day from the schedule and that also larger news outlets were facing new limits on the number of seats on the plane, such as for columnists and extra correspondents.
Conservative outlet DrudgeReport highlighted the fact that all three newspapers losing their spots on the plane endorsed Republican rival John McCain for president.
Tales from the Trail
WASHINGTON – What a popular guy.
NEW YORK- Former presidential contenders Gary Hart and Bob Kerrey on Wednesday weighed in on media coverage of the 2008 U.S. presidential race, agreeing that certain weaknesses in contemporary coverage are the result of the prolific new forms of media while others are simply timeless.
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Political rallies are usually ideal for reporters to chat with party activists, but the campaign of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin took an unusual step by appearing to limit access to her supporters.
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is happy to discuss her views on social issues like abortion and homosexuality, but reluctant to list what she usually reads to keep up on world events.
That’s the takeout from a series of interviews the Alaska governor did with CBS anchor Katie Couric, which aired on Tuesday night.
Palin, whose opposition to abortion rights has ignited support among social conservatives, some of whom were wary of presidential nominee John McCain, discussed whether rape or incest victims should be allowed to have an abortion.
“Personally, I would counsel the person to choose life, despite horrific, horrific circumstances that this person would find themselves in,” she said. “If you’re asking, though, kind of foundationally here, should anyone end up in jail for having an … abortion, absolutely not.”
When asked about her views on homosexuality, Palin talked about a close friend who is gay.
“One of my absolute best friends for the last 30 years happens to be gay, and I love her dearly,” Palin said. “She is one of my best friends, who happens to have made a choice that isn’t a choice I would have made. But I am not going to judge people.”
Palin has faced criticism for lacking experience in foreign policy. Before becoming governor some two years ago she was the mayor of a small town.
Couric asked Palin what newspapers and magazines she read regularly before becoming McCain’s running mate “to stay informed and to understand the world.”
Here is her response, according to a transcript provided by CBS:
Palin: I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.
Couric: What, specifically?
Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.
Couric: Can you name a few?
Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where it’s kind of suggested, “Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?” Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.
TOKYO – Mike Huckabee is not running — or maybe he is.
The marathon man, who lost 110 pounds (50 kg) by hitting the road and advocating healthy living after he was diagnosed with diabetes in 2003, has a painful inflammation of the heel known as plantar fasciitis, and he is walking around the Imperial Palace in the Japanese capital gingerly.
Whether he will take a walk with presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, as vice presidential nominee is another question requiring equally careful footwork.
Speaking with Reuters less than five months before the U.S. presidential election and three months ahead of the Republican convention, the former Arkansas governor was interested but self-deprecating when asked if he would be the party’s No. 2.
“I don’t truly believe that’s probably going to happen and I’ve moved on to doing other things.”
Those projects include the trip to Japan and lectures at Tohoku University in northern Miyagi Prefecture, as well as Fox News, which hired the former Republican presidential hopeful as a political commentator leading up to the national election.
But Huckabee quickly noted that did not preclude being on the other side of the camera in November.
“I’m very happy and proud to be able to do some commentary and develop a programme with the Fox News Channel,” he said.
“But that doesn’t mean if there was an opportunity to run somewhere out in the future, if not this year some other time — I’m not going to take myself completely off the stage.”