Tales from the Trail

Arizona immigration law controversy hits border governors’ conference

The simmering row over Arizona’s tough-as-nails immigration law has led to a shift in venue for the U.S.-Mexico border governors’ meeting, an annual event usually characterized by unity and good will.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, canceled the bash she was due to host after six border governors from Mexico pulled out in protest at the desert state’s crackdown on unauthorized immigrants she inked into law in late April.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a Democrat, stepped in this week to save the meeting which is now set to take place in Santa Fe in late September — although full attendance looks doubtful in the poisoned atmosphere that lingers.

“Governor Richardson is working with other governors to craft a tight, but productive agenda that focuses on the most pressing issues in the border region,” Gilbert Gallegos, Richardson’s deputy chief of staff, told Reuters on Friday.

“Obviously, all border governors are welcome and encouraged to attend, although the governors of Arizona and Texas have said they are not interested in joining a dialogue with their border colleagues,” he added.

Weather looks good for most of U.S. on Election Day

WASHINGTON – Election Day is finally here, the final opinion polls are in and now it’s time for Americans to make their way to the voting booth — but will weather be a factor?

According to the latest forecast maps, most of the country will not have adverse weather conditions, but there could be rain showers in two battleground states.

Good weather historically has helped Democrats.

Virginia, which has voted Republican since 1964, is now a toss-up state between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama and will likely see showers most of the day stretching from Newport News north to the suburbs outside Washington, D.C., and west toward Roanoke.

Obama, with sniffles, reassures Democrats about White House win

obama2.jpgALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – Democrats are getting nervous — and Barack Obama seems to sense it.

The Illinois senator, fresh from a trip to Hawaii where he picked up a cold, has been rallying supporters in the past two days, urging them not to be anxious about Republican attacks that have helped lift Arizona Sen. John McCain in the polls.

“Everywhere I go people have told me, ‘Oh, I’m getting nervous. The Republicans — they’re so mean … What are we going to do?’” Obama told a town hall meeting with some 1,800 people on Monday.

Democrats may need time to heal, Richardson says

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Democrats will eventually unite once the hard-fought presidential nomination battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is resolved but that process may take time, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said on Monday. 

billrichardson.jpg“There’s going to be a need for healing,” Richardson, a former White House hopeful who is backing Obama. 

Richardson, who had served as energy secretary and ambassador to the United Nations in former President Bill Clinton’s administration, remained on the fence for several weeks before deciding to support Obama, an Illinois senator, two months ago.

Bush money train to hit the road, nary a sighting

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush will hit the campaign trail next week to rustle up some badly needed cash for Republican candidates — including presidential hopeful John McCain — but catching a glimpse of him in action will be fleeting.

rtr1zmjx.jpgBush will crisscross the Rocky Mountains Tuesday through Thursday from New Mexico to Arizona to Utah to Kansas raising money for McCain at three events and Republican congressional candidates at two others. They are all closed to the media.

“The reason that they’re closed is that the McCain campaign has a practice of having their fundraisers as closed press,” said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. Bush has permitted the media attend fundraisers at hotels and other similar venues but not at private residences (like the other two fundraisers on the trip).

Richardson endorsement: just for Hispanics?

obama-richardson.jpgSALEM, Ore. – Conventional wisdom suggests New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama ‘s bid for the Democratic nomination matters most among Hispanic voters where, as a Hispanic himself, Richardson could have most influence.

Following that logic, the endorsement would have made more impact before Texas primary on March 5 or, even better, before Super Tuesday’s primary in California. Sen. Hillary Clinton won the big Hispanic vote in both states handily.
The point was made by Clinton’s campaign strategist Mark Penn.

“You know, I think New Mexico is a state that, actually, we won,” he said. “And if Senator Obama’s campaign wanted to follow what they tell everyone, they certainly would be telling Governor Richardson to be casting his pledged delegate to us.