Tales from the Trail

Obama ad fires celebrity charge back at McCain

combo.jpgWashington – Barack Obama is firing back against John McCain’s ad ridiculing the Democratic candidate’s popularity. Obama’s campaign on Monday released a counter attack ad accusing McCain of being “Washington’s biggest celebrity.”

The ad features McCain’s guest appearances on NBC’s comedy show “Saturday Night Live” and on talk shows that usually host celebrity guests.

It is unclear whether the new ad will prompt the kind of news coverage generated by McCain’s ad accusing Obama of being a celebrity like Paris Hilton, but Obama’s hard hitting ad accuses McCain of embracing Washington lobbyists “running his low road campaign.”

The 30-second ad also shows pictures of McCain hugging President George W. Bush and accuses him of “lurching to the right, then the left, the old Washington dance, whatever it takes.”

Click here to see Obama ad, which will start airing on U.S. cable stations on Tuesday.

Obama appearance with Bayh spurs VP talk

obama1.jpgPORTAGE, Indiana – A visit by White House hopeful Barack Obama to Indiana set off speculation that he might be leaning toward picking Sen. Evan Bayh as his running mate.

Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, has long been seen as a strong candidate for the No. 2 slot on the Democratic ticket.

Like Obama, Bayh has an even temperament, but he would also bring to the ticket foreign policy experience as a member of the Armed Services and Intelligence committees. As a former governor, Bayh also has executive experience.

Obama meets on No. 2 pick: Kaine? Biden? Bayh?

WASHINGTON – With the clock ticking on his hunt for a running mate, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama spent nearly three hours on Monday meeting with his vice presidential search team and campaign advisers.obama-mon.jpg

Obama visited the downtown office of Eric Holder, a former deputy attorney general who is leading the process of researching and analyzing potential vice presidential picks, and emerged with little to say.

Asked by reporters who he met with, Obama replied: “Some guys.” As he got into his car, he asked reporters how they were doing then told them: “Get back on the bus.”

Former smoker McCain talks cigarettes, cancer with Lance Armstrong

posterobamamccain.jpgCOLUMBUS, Ohio – Republican John McCain  added a pledge on Thursday to his list of goals if he wins the White House: help people quit smoking. 

McCain, who smoked two packs of cigarettes a day before ceasing 29 years ago, told a summit organized by cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong that preventive measures were key to keeping people healthy. 

“So as president, I will work with business and insurance companies in support of programs to help people quit smoking,” he said. 

McCain says Obama would rather lose a war than lose an election

mccainbushsr.jpgEPPING, New Hampshire – Though his rival may be on another continent at the moment, John McCain isn’t holding back from taking shots against Barack Obama

 The Republican presidential candidate came out on Tuesday with one of his sharpest attacks yet on Obama’s policies regarding the Iraq war, shortly after the Illinois senator wrapped up a visit to Baghdad. 

McCain pounded the Democratic presidential hopeful for opposing an increase in U.S. troop levels in Iraq — known as the “surge” — which has been credited with helping stabilize the country. 

Two potential VP picks to join Obama at Indiana event

obama.jpgCHICAGO – Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama is determined to keep his process for choosing a running mate a closely guarded secret, but he will appear in public on Wednesday with two men, Evan Bayh and Sam Nunn, who are widely thought to be under consideration for the No. 2 slot.

Bayh, an Indiana senator, and Nunn, a former Georgia senator, will appear with Obama at an event in Lafayette, Indiana that will focus on national security.
The event, billed as a “Summit on Confronting 21st Century Threats,” will cover such topics as nuclear non-proliferation, bioterrorism, cyber security and emerging national security threats, the Obama campaign said.

The Lafayette appearance comes a day after Obama renewed his call for an end to the Iraq war in a speech in Washington in which he urged the United States to refocus attention on Afghanistan and other national security priorities.

Obama jokes about being ‘too black’

CHICAGO – Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama went to church on Sunday and joked about being “too black.”
 
In a Father’s Day speech to several thousand people at the predominantly black Apostolic Church of God, Obama talked about how people need to have high expectations for themselves then shared a few anecdotes about running for president.obamachurch.jpg
 
“You remember at the beginning, people were wondering — how come he doesn’t have all the support in the African American community. You remember that?” he said to shouts of “oh yeah.”
 
“That was when I wasn’t black enough. Now I’m too black,” he said to laughter and applause.
 
Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president if elected in November, is the son of a Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo credit: Reuters/John Gress (Obama speaks at the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago on June 15, 2008)

McCain: It can be “tough” to be proud of USA

mccainus.jpg WASHINGTON – Republican presidential candidate John McCain admitted on Saturday it can be difficult at times to be proud of the United States.
 
“I’ll admit to you … that it’s tough in some respects,” McCain said when asked by a questioner at a town hall meeting how to be proud of the country.
 
“We have not always done things right and we mismanaged the war in Iraq very badly for nearly four years.”
 
McCain’s wife, Cindy, pounced on Michelle Obama, the wife of presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama, for saying in February that she was proud of her country “for the first time in my adult life.”
 
The Arizona senator said it was important for the United States to be more humble and inclusive.
 
“I think we can be proud of America because of what we’ve achieved and accomplished in this world,” he said.
 
“What we have to do is tell our friends around the world that we will be proud of America because of what we’re going to do.”

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

 - Photo credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton (McCain speaks during a town hall meeting at Federal Hall in New York on June 12). 

Fox News calls Obama’s wife “baby mama”

Fox News Channel has raised the ire of Barack Obama supporters again, this time for referring to the Democratic candidate’s wife Michelle as his “baby mama.”

Fox ran a graphic reading “Outraged liberals: Stop picking on Obama’s baby mama!” during a June 11 segment about planned Republican attacks on the candidate’s outspoken spouse.

According to the Urban Dictionary, “baby mama” is slang for the unmarried mother of a man’s children.

McCain the reluctant hero inspires young

mccain-hero.jpgNEW YORK – Republican John McCain, who spent several years in a prison camp in Vietnam and declined offers to be released before his comrades, said on Thursday he did not consider himself a hero. 

Modesty? Say what you will about the Arizona senator, but he appears to sincerely feel that way. 

Which is why the question continues to come up. At fundraisers and town hall meetings, supporters — especially younger people — ask the 71-year-old why he doesn’t spend more time talking about his own personal story.