Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: off-year election day could spell trouble for Obama

It’s been a year since Americans have gone to the polls, but as they do on Tuesday President Barack Obama may be less excited than he was last year, particularly in Virginia and New Jersey where his fellow Democrats are facing trouble.

Republicans are hoping to capture the governors’ mansions in those two states to rebuild some momentum after being trounced by Democrats last year. They also are trying to make it a referendum against Obama’s agenda to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system and financial regulatory structure as well as his plans to address climate change.OBAMA/

In Virginia where Obama won narrowly in 2008, Republican Bob McDonnell has built a sizable lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds while in traditionally Democratic-leaning New Jersey Republican Chris Christie is neck and neck with Democratic incumbent Governor Jon Corzine.

Obama has campaigned for both of his fellow Democrats but that may not be enough for them to win.

While Republicans are salivating at their prospects in those two races, Democrats are eyeing a congressional race in upstate New York to replace a Republican lawmaker who became Obama’s Army secretary. Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman was barely ahead of Democrat Bill Owens in the traditionally Republican district.

Palin: Ready to shake things up in New York

Sarah Palin on Thursday endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over Republican Party choice Dede Scozzafava in a special congressional election in upstate New York that has the GOP divided.

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“I am very pleased to announce my support for Doug Hoffman in his fight to be the next representative from New York’s 23rd Congressional district. It’s my honor to endorse Doug and to do what I can to help him win,” Palin said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“The people of the 23rd Congressional District of New York are ready to shake things up, and Doug Hoffman is coming on strong as Election Day approaches!” she added.

That was awkward…

When President Barack Obama landed in Albany, New York, on Monday, the leader of his welcoming party was a man whose name has been linked with his in some news reports lately — New York Governor David Paterson. Or perhaps he should be referred to as “Governor-for-now.”

USAAccording to recent news reports, the Obama administration is so worried that his fellow Democrat Paterson’s unpopularity will drag down New York’s Democratic members of Congress and the Democrat-controlled state legislature in the November 2010 election that the president asked him to withdraw from the race. According to The New York Times, Obama’s request that Paterson step aside was put forward by his political advisers, but approved by the president.  Paterson said Sunday he was still running for office.

Paterson was standing at the bottom of the stairs to greet Obama when Air Force One reached Albany. The jet engines were so loud that no one could hear their exchange, but they shook hands and had a brief exchange that looked cordial. “Obama did a kind of half-embrace with his back to the press corps, and said something to Paterson, who listened for a moment and then said something back,” a White House press pool report said.

Obama’s Date Night on Broadway

USA/Campaigning for the White House last year, Barack Obama promised his wife, Michelle, he would take her to a Broadway show when he won. Four months after becoming president, Obama did just that on Saturday. 

The Obamas flew to New York for dinner in Greenwich Village and a Broadway play. 

“I am taking my wife to New York City because I promised her during the campaign that I would take her to a Broadway show after it was all finished,” Obama said in a statement issued by the White House.

Is Caroline Kennedy qualified to be a U.S. senator?

Slightly more than half of Americans say Caroline Kennedy has what it takes to serve in the U.S. Senate, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Poll. 

Kennedy, 51, is campaigning to fill the New York senate seat held by Hillary Clinton, who has been nominated for Secretary of State.

The only person who gets a vote is New York Gov. David Paterson, who will appoint any replacemUSA/ent for Clinton. 

Clinton gets a boost from a Kennedy

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN.  – Robert Kennedy Jr. — a Kennedy who is not backing Sen. Barack Obama — campaigned on Thursday for Sen. Hillary Clinton, saying he wanted to explain why other members of his family are wrong and he is right.

bobby.jpg“I am here because I love this woman,” he told a crowd of Clinton supporters in southern Indiana, which holds its presidential nominating primary on Tuesday.

“There are some members of my family who have decided to do the wrong thing and support Barack Obama,” he said. “Let me tell you why they’re wrong and I’m right, because I know Hillary Clinton better than they know Barrack Obama.”