Tales from the Trail

GOP presidential field – looking Perry promising?

With polls showing President Barack Obama beating any current 2012 Republican presidential hopeful, some party leaders are casting around for additional contenders, especially those who are well-known and might appeal more to the party’s most conservative wing.

One name that has come up repeatedly is Texas Governor Rick Perry, a conservative Republican and rising star in the Tea Party movement who fueled speculation last year that he might run for the White House by going on a national tour to publicize his book “Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington,” which takes aim at what he sees an intrusive and expansive federal government.

Perry has in the past emphatically said he will not run, but he more recently has seemed to be leaving the door slightly open by saying for now he is focused on Texas’ legislative session, which ends on May 30.

“I have said multiple times I’m not going to get distracted from my work at hand and I’m not going to get distracted today,” he said on Tuesday when he was asked if he would run.

He also is known for saying in 2009 that Texas might secede from the United States, a remark that Democrats criticized as unpatriotic, but which has endeared him to many conservatives, particularly in southern states where many Republicans are particularly hostile to Washington.

Live: President Obama’s “Arab spring” speech

President Obama will lay out a vision for his policy toward the Middle East at 11:40 am ET.

Will Obama be a $1 billion man? Democrats say not so fast

A persistent theme of President Barack Obama’s nascent re-election bid has been an expectation that the Democratic incumbent – who amassed a $750 million war chest when he won the White House in 2008 — will break his record this time and become the first candidate to raise $1 billion in campaign funds for 2012. 

The logic behind that figure? One bit of reasoning is that Obama and his then-rival Hillary Clinton together raised far more than $1 billion in 2008, showing there are plenty of Democratic wallets out there waiting to be opened this time.

Democratic Party officials have issued repeated dire warnings about Republicans’ fund-raising prowess, especially in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision that allowed unlimited spending by corporations, labor unions and other groups. Democrats say secret donations allowed under Citizens United helped fuel the Republicans’ huge success in the 2010 mid-terms.

URL mischief crops up on the campaign front

It’s early in the 2012 presidential election campaign, but dirty tricks are alive and well, at least on the Internet.

In the days after President Barack Obama announced the killing of Osama bin Laden, someone bought a new Internet URL, “GutsyCall.com,” and set it to redirect to Obama’s BarackObama.com campaign re-election website. The reference was to reports that John Brennan, a White House counterterrorism adviser, had characterized Obama’s order to send troops after bin Laden as “one of the most gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory.”

The connection was seized upon by conservative-leaning media, which portrayed it as an attempt by campaign officials to politicize bin Laden’s death despite their assertions that they did not intend to do so. The problem with that assertion? The campaign and the Democratic National Committee insisted they had nothing to do with the URL and knew nothing about it.

Live coverage: President Obama’s speech on debt reduction

President Obama will explain his vision for tackling the long-term U.S. deficit and debt in a speech in Washington at 1:35 p.m.

Live coverage: Budget battle

Facing a midnight deadline, the White House and Congress are working furiously to break a budget deadlock and prevent a federal government shutdown that would idle hundreds of thousands of workers.

Petraeus says budget delays not affecting Afghan war… yet

The commander of international forces in Afghanistan is keeping a wary eye on budget battles in Congress these days.

General David Petraeus says failure to pass a budget this year has noUSA/t yet complicated the war effort against al Qaeda.

But there’s a point at which it will begin to have an impact, he told an event  sponsored by the National Journal on Friday at the Newseum.

Obama remembers Gandhi, and King, in Mumbai

INDIA-OBAMA/

U.S. President Barack Obama spent part of his first day in India visiting a museum dedicated to the memory of one of his heroes, Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, and walking in the footsteps of another, U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King, as he did so.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visited the Gandhi Museum in Mumbai on Saturday afternoon, located in a home where Gandhi stayed during his nonviolent campaign for India’s independence from the British.

The two Obamas were given a tour of the museum, stopping in the library in front of a bronze relief of Gandhi’s face to sign a guest book.

from Reuters Investigates:

How to make friends and influence people

White House correspondent Caren Bohan's special report out today examines President Barack Obama's testy relationship with the business community.

OBAMA/After Tuesday's election, Obama was faced with the prospect of legislative gridlock. Republicans pushed Democrats decisively from power in the House of Representatives and strengthened their ranks in the Senate as voters vented frustration over the economy.

Now that the election is over, one idea that could gain traction is a payroll tax holiday to give consumers and businesses some extra cash. Obama had considered proposing it before the election but rejected it because of its cost. There is some openness at the White House to it now but much would depend on whether it seemed likely to gain bipartisan support.

Voters may like the healthcare plan after all, poll shows

Pundits may want to reconsider the conventional wisdom that U.S. voters are sour on President Barack Obama’s sweeping healthcare overhaul, at least according to a new survey released Tuesday.

rallyA majority — 54 percent — of all voters said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported the healthcare overhaul, the Public Religion Research Institute found in its American Values Survey of more than 3,000 voters.

Among women voters, 60 percent said a candidates’ support for the new healthcare law made them more likely to vote for that candidate, Dan Cox, the institute’s research director, said.