Tales from the Trail

First words from First spokesman: it wasn’t about Obama

The First spokesman has spoken: Tuesday’s elections were not about the president after all.

OBAMA/In the New Jersey and Virginia governor races, which Republicans won, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says voters were working through “very local issues that didn’t involve the president.”

For his part, President Barack Obama, who campaigned for both Democrats who lost, received updates on the races but didn’t watch the election returns last night.

Gibbs warns not to make too much of that: “I wouldn’t read a ton into that since he didn’t actually watch election returns when he was running.”

And then he plugged the HBO documentary about Obama that ran last night (a sure sign they liked what they saw). “If you did watch the movie on HBO, we called him and told him he won Iowa. He did not watch election returns.”

The First Draft: Elections East-West

Elections in the East, elections in the West.

Hot off the wire: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been declared re-elected.

AFGHANISTAN/Afghanistan’s election commission made the declaration after Karzai’s opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew and a run-off election was canceled. “The Independent Election Commission declares the esteemed Hamid Karzai as the president,” the commission’s chief said.

This will no doubt increase the pressure on President Barack Obama to roll-out his new Afghanistan strategy earlier rather than later, now that he knows who the United States will be dealing with.

Matthew Hoh, the former State Department employee who quit last month in protest over U.S. policy in Afghanistan, told NBC’s “Today” show that the Karzai news was “disappointing” and despite the investment of  a lot of U.S. resources, “we didn’t get what we put our troops there for.”