Tales from the Trail

Big Bird to Obama: Take down your TV ad

Big Bird, a bright-yellow protagonist of children’s television show “Sesame Street,” wants out of his role in a nationwide television advertisement for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

In the 30-second TV ad and an accompanying statement, the president’s re-election team needled Republican challenger Mitt Romney for focusing on cutting government support to “Sesame Street” distributor PBS, which would do little to reign in excess spending, instead of offering specific details about financial regulations needed to prevent financial fraud, such as the Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Bernie Madoff.

“Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about, it’s Sesame Street,” says the narrator in the spot, set to run on cable TV nationwide. “Mitt Romney. Taking on our enemies, no matter where they nest.”

But Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the long-running educational show, wants the ad removed.

“We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down,” according to a statement from Sesame Workshop.

Obama campaign TV spot hits Romney as governor

As President Barack Obama and presumptive nominee Mitt Romney hit up big-money donors on both coasts on Monday, their respective allies waged a public relations blitz to deride each other’s message.

The Obama campaign announced a television advertisement, which can be viewed here, that slammed Romney’s record as Governor of Massachusetts, saying he cut taxes for millionaires, outsourced call center jobs to India, and left the state saddled with debt.

The ad, called “Heard it Before,” cost the campaign approximately $10 million, and is on the air in nine battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the campaign said.

Obama campaign launches voter drive around gay marriage

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, looking to tap support for the president’s embrace of same-sex marriage, launched a voter drive in key electoral states on Wednesday, saying a Mitt Romney presidency would be the “ultimate deal breaker” for proponents of “marriage equality.”

The campaign’s effort to mobilize lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender voters and those who back their rights to wed is called “Obama Pride: LGBT Americans For Obama” and will combine on-the-ground operations in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Nevada, and Florida with an enhanced digital footprint.

“The President fights for our equality because he believes we are equal. Mitt Romney would fight against our equality because he believes we do not deserve it,” said Joe Solmonese, an Obama campaign co-chair and president of the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group. “We can not afford to go back.”

The tunnel to political prominence

NJ Gov. Chris Christie

A new government report shines the spotlight again on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, see here at a presidential campaign event for Republican candidate Mitt Romney on December 30, 2011. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

A new report on the controversy that helped launch New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to national prominence – and make him a vice-presidential contender – has reignited debate over one of the country’s most popular and polarizing Republicans.

A General Accounting Office report on Tuesday examined the impact of Christie’s decision in October 2010 to cancel a multibillion-dollar rail tunnel linking commuters in his state of New Jersey to midtown Manhattan.

Barbour says Clinton’s 1996 strategy might help Obama

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour on Friday offered some advice to the man that he may seek to unseat in next year’s  election, President Barack Obama.

The potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate said he doesn’t expect Obama to follow the lead of a Democratic predecessor and declare, “the era of big government is over.”

But Barbour said if Obama did deliver such a message, as President Bill Clinton did in 1996, “I think his job approval would go up.”

Edwards: the good, the bad and the diapers

If anyone wanted whiplash today, they should have watched the John Edwards story. USA-POLITICS/EDWARDS-WITHDRAW

First thing in the morning Edwards issued a statement confirming what had previously been gossiped but not proven: he was in fact the father of Rielle Hunter’s 2-year-old daughter.

(No need to count backwards, she was an Edwards campaign videographer during his bid for the Democratic nomination for the White House).

How you like me now?!

hillaryRemember during the presidential campaign, when Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was asked about her “likability” compared to that of  rival Barack Obama?

The inference was that people didn’t like her as much as they liked him, even after he told her during a presidential debate: “You’re likable enough.”

That was then.

This is now.

Secretary of State Clinton is more popular (or can we just say likable) than President Obama, according to a Gallup poll released on Thursday.

Obama says Bush “a good guy”

BUSH/PHILADELPHIA – Barack Obama, who pilloried his soon-to-be predecessor’s policies during two years on the campaign trail, said Friday that George W. Bush is a good guy.

“If you look at my statements throughout the campaign, I always thought he was a good guy,” the Democratic president-elect said on CNN about the Republican president whom he replaces Tuesday.

“I mean, I think personally he is a good man who loves his family and loves his country. And I think he made the best decisions that he could at times under some very difficult circumstances.”

Clinton says unlikely to mount another White House bid

WASHINGTON – Democrat Hillary Clinton lost a tough battle for her party’s presidential nomination this year and says she is unlikely to make another run for it.

rtr21qb1.jpgIn an interview with Fox News aired on Tuesday, she was first asked to rate on a scale of one to 10 whether she would become the next majority leader in the Senate, which she put at the bottom of the scale.

“Oh, probably zero,” she said. “I’m not seeking any other position than to be the best senator from New York that I can be.”

Media-battered Clinton calls for greater scrutiny

hillary1.jpgSIOUX FALLS, S.D. – As a Democratic presidential candidate, New York senator and former first lady, Hillary Clinton has had her share of media scrutiny. Still, she says the news media should become a more aggressive public watchdog.

“I really do. I really do,” Clinton told reporters when asked if she sincerely favors greater press scrutiny. 

“On the right things. On things that are important to the future of our country. On things that actually matter. I would love that,” said Clinton, long hounded by the press as one of the nation’s most popular yet polarizing figures.