Tales from the Trail

How about an Ovaltine Latte with that doughnut Mr. Obama?

Trying to get out the vote for Democrats in danger of losing one or both houses of Congress on Nov. 2, President Barack Obama is pouring it on with up-close campaigning reminiscent of 2008 as he visits coffee shops and works rope lines.

USA/On a five-state Western tour, Obama began his morning on Thursday with a stop at the “Top Pot” doughnut shop in Seattle, which featured such delectables as Ovaltine Latte, honey-glazed doughnuts and assorted pastries.

“Hi guys. How are you? Good to see you,” Obama told the servers before placing an order for two dozen doughnuts that he shared with his staff and traveling reporters. (Those who sampled them gave rave reviews).

In the store with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, patrons snapped pictures of Obama and he made sure to shake every hand as he walked through with Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat who is in a tough race against Republican Dino Rossi for the Senate seat from Washington state. One of the customers asked him to pass along a “hello” to Bo, the first family’s dog.

Following the doughnut stop, Obama held forth at a backyard “town hall-style” event with mostly women voters at the Seattle home of Erik and Cynnie Foss.
With a perceived “enthusiasm gap” in the congressional election that pollsters see favoring Republicans, White House officials say their aim in these stops is to energize supporters and remind them to vote. They see a high-visibility event by Obama as helpful to that effort, especially in states like Washington and California, where he remains popular despite sliding approval ratings nationally.
Obama’s campaign swing took him to Oregon on Wednesday and will include stops in California, Nevada and Minnesota. It’s his last extended tour before Election Day, though he plans to visit Rhode Island next Monday and then campaign in some still-to-be-announced states in the final weekend.

Media relations eclipse rhetoric as bare-knuckle politics


The campaign rhetoric couldn’t be harsher, what with the talk about who’s a whore and who’s a nut job and who cheated on who’s ex-wife. (Remember when ‘who’ was just the guy on first?)

But nowadays the real bare-knuckle politics appears to be between the candidates and the news media.

Take the Senate campaign in Alaska. Tea Party Republican Joe Miller won’t talk to the press about his past as a public official. And when a journalist wouldn’t stop asking about it over the weekend, Miller’s private security team intervened.

Some voters may be losing their taste for Tea Party – poll


Is your tea getting cold? A new poll suggests the Tea Party movement may be losing some of its steam in the run-up to Election Day.

The ABC/Washington Post survey found that only 18 percent of registered voters now say they are more likely to vote for a Tea Party affiliated candidate. That’s down from 30 percent in July. Those less likely to vote for a Tea Party candidate remains at 28 percent.

Overall, 47 percent of the 1,002 Americans polled Sept. 30-Oct. 3 oppose the Tea Party, vs. 40 percent who support it. The split was even among likely voters, according to results that have a 3.5 percentage point margin of error. 

White House adviser says Obama to energize his base for November

USA/President Barack Obama adds a new item to his first-term to-do list: energize his most loyal supporters in a national get-out-the-vote campaign for the November congressional midterm elections.

That’s the message Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett delivered on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where she predicted a robust White House campaign to encourage voters including blacks and Hispanics to get to the polls next month.

Obama has already been out trying to stir up enthusiasm among the younger voters. But that was just for starters.

Washington Extra – Gridlock and the fiscal deficit


The term gridlock may have first entered the vocabulary during the 1980 New York transit strike, reportedly coined by “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz, chief traffic engineer in the city’s transport department.  In those days it was definitely not something to aspire to. It is a different story in 2010.

“Gridlock’s not all bad,” Republican Senator Richard Shelby told the Reuters Washington Summit today, citing the need to “slow things down” politically.  His fellow Senator and Tea Party champion Jim DeMint would probably go even further.

But is that really what lies in store after the midterm elections?

Republican and Democratic speakers on the first day of the summit agreed on one thing above all else: that the other party is to blame for the lack of bipartisanship in Washington.