Tales from the Trail

Conservative Rubio pulls ahead in Florida Republican primary


Conservative Republican Marco Rubio is building a lead over moderate Governor Charlie Crist in Florida’s Republican Senate primary, a contest highlighting the perils facing party moderates in this rambunctious election year, a poll shows.

A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely Republican primary voters released this week showed Rubio, a former Florida House Speaker, with 54 percent support against Crist’s 36 percent. A poll in January had Rubio ahead by 13 points.

The primary race has echoes in Arizona, where veteran Senator John McCain faces his strongest challenge yet from fiery conservative J.D. Hayworth, who is attacking his “moderate record” on taxes, social issues and the bank bailout.

Rubio, who like Hayworth is a favorite of Tea Party conservative activists who hope to make a splash in the 2010 congressional election and beyond, is campaigning on issues including opposition to “excessive and wasteful spending in Washington” and big government.

He is assailing Crist for taking funds from the $787 billion federal government stimulus, and for his willingness to work with Democratic President Barack Obama — a definite no-no with Republican hard-liners.

Republicans say Obama’s press conference plan presumptous

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Republicans accused Barack Obama of arrogance on Sunday after he referred to plans to hold a press conference the day after the election.

As Obama was boarding his campaign plane to fly to rally in Columbus, a reporter asked him what kind of instructions he would give his Treasury secretary for implementing the $700 billion financial rescue package.

“We’re on a tarmac,” the Democratic White House contender replied to ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper.

Democrats mix criticism of McCain with praise

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Republican Sen. John McCain’s personal narrative as a war hero in Vietnam has Democrats treading carefully when they criticize him. 

Instead of trading barbs with each other, Democratic White House hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton this week have trained their attention on McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee. 

mccain21.jpgObama, an Illinois senator, and Clinton, a New York senator, have assailed McCain for his support for the Iraq war and his backing of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.