Tales from the Trail

from Environment Forum:

Campaign ad equating global warming with weather gets “pants-on-fire” rating

MILKEN/By now, almost everybody -- with the possible exception of Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina -- realizes there's a difference between climate and weather. Fiorina, running in the California primary and ultimately aiming to unseat Democrat Barbara Boxer, paid for and appeared in a campaign ad slamming the sitting senator for being "worried about the weather" when there are serious concerns like terrorism to deal with.

Take a look here:

A few problems with this ad earned it the not-so-coveted beyond-false "Pants on Fire" rating from Politifact, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalism website that checks on the truthfulness of political advertising. First off, Boxer didn't say she was worried about the weather. She said that climate change was "one of the very important national security issues" -- a position in line with the Pentagon and the CIA. The site also found that it's not an either/or thing, that focusing on climate change doesn't necessarily mean neglecting national security. They took a look at Boxer's record and found she has supported at least six bills against terrorism.

"Fiorina casts climate change as something you need to pack an umbrella for, or that prompts you to curse at the TV weatherman -- which strikes us as not only a trivialization of climate change but also a failure to distinguish between two well-established scientific specialties," Politifact said. "She also ignores Boxer's lengthy record supporting bills against terrorism. So we have to light up the meter (the site's Truth-o-Meter): Pants on Fire!"

OBAMA/Not surprisingly, Boxer's campaign fired back in a press release, saying that, "during Fiorina’s tenure at HP, the company sold millions of dollars worth of high tech gear to intermediary shell companies selling to Iran, despite trade sanctions against Iran, a country that the U.S. State Department has named as a State Sponsor of Terror."

Should be an interesting race. The California primary is on June 8.

Photo credits: REUTERS/Fred Prouser (Carly Fiorina at "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" panel Beverly Hills, California April 26, 2010. REUTERS/Fred Prouser)

Conservative challenger daubs John McCain “Avatar” blue in primary attack ad

Avatar_DrudgeBannerAn attack ad this week daubing Arizona Senator John McCain with blue face-paint like a cobalt-toned creature from the sci-fi blockbuster film ”Avatar” triggered a row in the desert state’s increasingly heated Republican primary race.

Fiery conservative challenger J.D. Hayworth launched the ad this week attacking McCain as a fake conservative, with a tag line that reads “John McCain, nominee for Best Conservative Actor.”

The ad, showing a slightly uneasy looking McCain tinted blue, channels the 3-D epic “Avatar” about the battle for survival of a turquoise-hued alien species, which is up for a Best Picture Oscar at this weekend’s Academy Awards. In the political spectrum, blue represents the Democratic Party.

The First Draft: Reading tea leaves in Virginia

USA-POLITICS/The year after a presidential election, there’s typically few electoral contests on the calendar as politicians focus on getting some work done so they’ll have something to brag about to voters during the next election.

The few races that do occur tend to be heavily scrutinized as pundits look for something to chew over in the slow period before next year’s congressional midterms.

Today, Democrats in Virginia go to the polls to pick a candidate for the governor’s mansion, as incumbent Tim Kaine is constitutionally limited to one term. On the Republican side, Robert McDonnell faces no opposition for his party’s nomination.

U.S. Republican Senator Specter in tough race

specter5Republican U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, 79, of Pennsylvania appears to face a tough run next year for reelection to a sixth term.
    
And he can blame his problems largely on his decision last month to break ranks with fellow Republicans and vote for President Barack Obama’s $787 economic stimulus package.
    
Those are the findings of a Quinnipiac University poll of about 1,000 Pennsylvania voters released on Wednesday.
 
The Connecticut-based university found that Specter, viewed as a moderate, trails former conservative congressman Pat Toomey, his likely Republican primary challenger, by a margin of 41 percent to 27 percent. Specter narrowly defeated Toomey in a 2004 primary battle.
 
Another and somewhat smaller poll by Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania was a mixed bag for Specter.
 
While the survey showed Specter leading Toomey 33 percent to 18 percent, it found that 49 percent of respondents were undecided or favored others.
    
That survey of 662 people also found that less than half — 40 percent — believe Specter deserves another term, with 46 percent saying it is “time for a change.”
    
The Quinnipiac survey showed Democrats and independents backed Specter’s support of Obama’s stimulus package. But Republicans opposed it — 70 percent to 25 percent.
 
Both surveys were conducted in recent days and had a margin of error between plus or minus of three to four percentage points.
 
“Pennsylvania Republicans are so unhappy with Sen. Specter’s vote for President Barack Obama’s stimulus package and so-called pork barrel spending that they are voting for a former congressman they hardly know,” said Clay Richards, assistant director of Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
 
Richards added, however, if Specter survives the primary, he would have a lot going for him in the general election since there currently seems to be no strong Democratic contender.
 
But Specter faces other problems.
 
He stepped into a political hornet’s nest on Tuesday when he opposed a bill to make it easier for workers to unionize, a top legislative goal of organized labor but anathema to many in the business community and his own party.
 
So if Specter wins the Republican primary, he can expect to be opposed by energized union supporters in the general election. 
 
Click here for more Reuters political coverage

Clinton receives thanks from American Indians

FLATHEAD INDIAN RESERVATION, Montana – Hillary Clinton took her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to an Indian reservation where she received applause, thanks – and new footwear.

“You’ve gone a million miles for the Indian people — here are a pair of moccasins to help you on your journey,” Joe McDonald, president of Salish Kootenai College, said on Tuesday in presenting Clinton the gift.clinton1.jpg

A crowd of several hundred roared approval.

Drawing more applause, Clinton said, “We need a president next January who understands the obligation that the United States government has to the tribes that represent the first people of the United States.” 

Baby gets baptised, with a visit from Clinton

hillary-smile.jpgBOWLING GREEN, Kentucky – Katelyn Jenkins got a surprise visit from Sen. Hillary Clinton on one of the biggest days of her life so far. But odds are, she didn’t even notice.

The eight-week-old girl was getting baptised on Sunday morning at the State Street United Methodist Church, where the Democratic presidential contender paused in her campaigning to attend services.

At the sight of the former first lady, the baby’s father said: “I was pleasantly surprised and amazed.”

Clinton in the past tense? Almost with Obama

obama-smiles.jpgROSEBURG, Oregon – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama appears ready to put his opponent, Hillary Clinton, into the past tense of the grueling primary campaign.

When asked on Saturday at a rally in Roseburg about party unity, the Illinois senator acknowledged people’s concerns about the length of the nominating process but assured them that Democrats would come out united in the end.

“It was pretty tough and hard fought,” he said about the primary season, describing the former first lady as a “formidable opponent.”

No endorsement coming from John Edwards

WASHINGTON – Remember John Edwards
    He ran a spirited campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, never caugJohn Edwardsht much fire and dropped out of the race about, oh, it feels like 10 years ago (actually it was January).
    The former North Carolina senator has kept a low profile ever since and has resisted entreaties from the remaining Democrats, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, for his endorsement.
    And he is still resisting, as voters cast ballots on Tuesday in his home state’s Democratic primary election, according to People Magazine, which tracked down Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth.
    Edwards, who was John Kerry’s vice presidential running mate in 2004, told People he likes Clinton’s “tenacity” but sees “a lot of the old politics” in her.
    He likes Obama, too, but “sometimes I want to see more substance under the rhetoric.”
    Bottom line, according to People, rather than endorse one or the other, Edwards and his wife will save their political capital for causes such as fighting poverty and improving U.S. health care.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

http://www.reuters.com/news/globalcoverage/2008candidates

Photo credit:  Reuters/Lee Celano (Edwards, with wife Elizabeth on the right, announces his withdrawal from the Democratic presidential race in January.)

To Obama, it’s Sweet Home Indiana

KEMPTON, Indiana – Barack Obama, vying for support from Hoosiers before Indiana’s Tuesday primary, reconnected with his roots in the state with a visit to a farmhouse owned by his family for generations.
    
The white Victorian home in rural Kempton sits on land owned by Obama’s fourth great-grandfather, who passed it down several generations within the family of Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham. Ann Dunham obama2.jpgwas from Kansas but she later moved to Hawaii, where Obama was raised.
    
The Kempton farmhouse was built by William Riley Dunham, a great uncle of Obama. After the Dunham family gave it up, it was used at one stage as a funeral home and was recently purchased by Sean Clements, who plans to spruce it.
    
As part of an effort to show a folksier side of the Illinois senator, the campaign planned the visit to the house as an outdoor potluck dinner with Clements and his family and friends.
    
But the weather didn’t cooperate. It was chilly with big gusts of wind that toppled the foldup tables set up in the back yard. So the tables had to be taken down and the dinner was scrapped in favor of a walk-around tour by Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters, Sasha, 6, and Malia, 9.
    
But there were no shortages of other opportunities to show the “regular guy” side of Obama, who has said he is determined to counter efforts by his opponents to portray him and his wife as “elitist, pointy-headed intellectual types.”
    
The Obamas visited a picnic gathering in Noblesville at lunchtime. In the evening, they stopped by a roller-skating rink for an “ice cream social” with supporters. Obama did not skate, though his daughters did.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

Photo: Reuters/Jason Reed

Obama: You don’t have to talk tough to be tough

NEW ALBANY, Ind. – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Wednesday brushed aside Hillary Clinton’s attempts to portray him as someone who lacked toughness and could not stand the heat of the media glare.obamatough.jpg

Clinton, who depicts herself as a fighter in her campaign speeches, has pounced on the Illinois senator’s critique of a television debate last week in which he was put on the defensive about issues such as whether he wears a flagpin and the fiery rhetoric of his pastor. She accused him of not being able to handle media scrutiny.

But Obama said it was the New York senator and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who have been thin-skinned about press questions.