Tales from the Trail

Obama hopes doesn’t step on wife’s toes at Balls


Barack and Michelle Obama will be making the rounds of the inaugural balls on Tuesday night after his swearing-in ceremony, and if tradition is any guide, they will take some time to dance the night away.

So USA Today asked President-elect Obama in an interview whether he had been practicing his dancing in between his work on his inaugural address.

He joked that his wife has been ribbing him a bit about his dancing.

“Michelle keeps knocking my dancing in public in ways that have hurt my feelings, so I probably should practice just ’cause she’ll tease me mercilessly if I step on her toes,” he said.

REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci (Tango competition in Buenos Aires)

White House declares inauguration a D.C. emergency

WASHINGTON – It’s official. The inauguration is an emergency for the District of Columbia.


President George W. Bush declared the emergency Tuesday, a week before the Jan. 20 swearing-in of the 44th president, Barack Obama.

Millions of people are expected to swarm the streets of Washington on inauguration day. Streets will be closed, bridges open only to taxis and the like, and security will be tight.

Mom wants them to make their beds, but…

The Obama girls had other ideas during their first visit to the White House since their father was elected the next president of the United States. Aided and abetted by President George W. Bush’s daughters, Barbara and Jenna, Malia and Sasha Obama did a little bed jumping during their visit.

First Lady Laura Bush told the story ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday.

“It wasn’t the Lincoln Bedroom,” she explained. “It was another bedroom with a very tall bed that we usually put a step out for people to step into when they stay in that room. But instead the little girls did the running jump, and Barbara and Jenna of course aided and abetted that jumping.”

The First Draft: Wednesday, Nov. 26

The economic crisis clearly has some folks feeling a little Grinch-like as the holiday season approaches.
President-elect Barack Obama, for one.
He told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that bankers should forego their bonuses this year.
“That’s an example of taking responsibility,” he said.
Not only that, daughters Malia and Sasha are going to have to make their beds and do other chores when they move into the White House.
“They have to learn these things,” Michelle Obama said.
The networks also report Barbara Bush, the 83-year-old former first lady, spent the night in the hospital after suffering from stomach pains.
The hospital stay was precautionary, officials say. Bush, the mother of President George W. Bush, is expected to be released sometime Wednesday.
President Bush will pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey at the White House before heading off to Camp David for the holiday.
Upstaging the president and the turkey, Obama will make an economic announcment at 10:45 a.m.
He will name former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker to chair a panel to advise him on measures to stabilize financial markets and maneuver the country out of a recession, aides say.
Obama also is reportedly close to asking Roberts Gates to stay on as defense secretary. Many of Gates’ deputies would be replaced under the deal, The Washington Post said.
Newspapers mainly led with the government’s plan for $800 billion in new lending programs to ease the lending crisis and make it easier for consumers to get loans for homes, cars and education.
Despite new moves by Washington, China and Europe to stimulate the economy, markets overseas were struggling Wednesday and U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower opening on Wall Street.
For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama and Volcker at a Florida event Oct. 21)

Details for Obama White House tour on Monday emerge

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush and wife Laura will greet their successors Barack and Michelle Obama at the South Portico of the White House at 2 p.m. EST on Monday before giving them a tour of their new home.

They will tour the White House and Bush and the president-elect will stroll over to the Oval Office along the Colonnade between the White House residence and the West Wing. Their wives will have their own private meeting in the White House Residence.

“We are gratified by the invitation. I’m sure that, in addition to taking a tour of the White House, there’s going to be a substantive conversation between myself and the president,” Obama said during his first news conference as president-elect.

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.

Michelle Obama brings Republican date to the debate

rtr20fdd.jpgIt’s no surprise that Michelle Obama will be rooting for her husband, Barack Obama, when the Democratic presidential candidate squares off against Republican John McCain in their final debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York tonight.

What is a little startling, however, is that sitting right next to her will be Lilibet Hagel, the wife of Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel.

The Obama campaign said Lilibet Hagel, a Republican who has endorsed the Democratic presidential candidate, will attend the debate as Michelle Obama’s “special guest.”

Gores host post-debate fundraiser for Obama

obamas.jpgNASHVILLE, Tenn. - Democrat Barack Obama wasn’t quite ready to call it a night after his debate on Tuesday night with Republican John McCain.

Obama stopped by the home Al and Tipper Gore in Belle Meade, just outside of Nashville, where the former vice president and his wife were holding a fundraiser on his behalf.

The soiree raised more than $900,000 for Obama’s campaign coffers.

Gore said he didn’t want to take anything for granted but introduced Obama as the “next president of the United States.”

Biden hails Michelle Obama’s speech as pivotal

As far as vice presidential candidate Joe Biden is concerned, Michelle Obama has given what will prove to be the most pivotal speech at the four-day Democratic Convention.


And Biden predicted on Tuesday that her prime-time address at the opening of the convention on Monday will help propel her husband, Barack Obama, to the White House.

“Wasn’t that the most incredible speech you ever heard,” Biden, who addresses the convention on Wednesday, a day before Barack Obama steps to the podium, told a breakfast meeting of convention delegates from Biden’s home state of Delaware.

Michelle Obama getting more negative coverage than Cindy McCain?

WASHINGTON – Americans are hearing a lot more about Michelle Obama than Cindy McCain, but the news they get about the Democratic presidential candidate’s wife is far more negative than what they hear about thertr209pf.jpg spouse of the Republican candidate, according to a study.
The study by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press found that 30 percent of Americans said they had heard a lot about the wife of Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama, while only 9 percent reported hearing a lot about Cindy McCain, the spouse of Republican candidate John McCain.
Seventy-eight percent said they had heard at least a little about Michelle Obama, while only 54 percent reported hearing at least a little about Cindy McCain, the study found.
Michelle Obama has been more heavily covered by the news media than Cindy McCain. Between Jan. 1 and June 15, Obama has been a significant newsmaker in 102 stories, while McCain has appeared in just 28 stories, according to the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism.
In evaluating the coverage of the two candidates’ wives, about half of those questioned said the news had been a mixture of positive and negative.
But people were much more likely to say the news they had been hearing about Michelle Obama was mostly negative. About 26 percent said Obama’s coverage had been mostly negative, while 21 percent said it had been mostly positive.
Thirty-one percent said the news about Cindy McCain had been mostly positive, while only 7 percent said it had been mostly negative.
Republicans were much more likely to say the news about Obama had been mostly negative. Thirty-three percent found that to be the case, while only 10 percent of Republicans said coverage of the Democratic candidate’s wife had been mostly positive.

What do you think — has Michelle Obama been getting rougher treatment from the news media than Cindy McCain? Or are they being treated equally?

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo credit:  Top: Reuters/Chris Keane (Barack and Michelle Obama in Raleigh May 6); Bottom: Reuters/Mike Stone (John and Cindy McCain in Dallas March 4)