Tales from the Trail

Mitt Romney’s Late Show Top 10 Redux

It was like deja vu with Mitt Romney when the Republican presidential candidate presented the “Top Ten” list on the “Late Show with David Letterman” Monday night.

The script was different, and so were the clothes – but Romney’s latest late night TV performance looked and sounded a lot like the the previous one he gave  back in February.

This time, the former Massachusetts governor revealed the “Top Ten Things Mitt Romney Would Like to Say to the American People.”

Here’s the list (in reverse order):

    – “Isn’t it time for a president who looks like a 1970s game show host?”
    – “What’s up gangstas… it’s the M-I double-tizzle
    – “I have no proof, but I have a feeling Canada is planning something”
    – “Actually I’m only here to meet Tom Cruise”
    – “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night”
    – “My new cologne is now at Macy’s. It’s Mitt-stified”
    – “I just used all my campaign money to buy a zoo with Matt Damon”
    – “I can do a lot, but even I can’t fix the Indianapolis Colts”
    – “Newt Gingrich? Really?”
    – “It’s a hairpiece”

Romney’s first star turn as Top Ten reader was on Feb. 1.  It was a presentation of  the “Top Ten Things You Don’t Know About Mitt Romney.”

Here’s the clip.

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing (Romney at CPAC convention in February)

Bachmann mixes up Elvis tribute

Right day. Wrong message.

As fans of  Elvis Presley were observing the 34th anniversary of  his death Monday, Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann joined those paying tribute to the late king of rock and roll.

At the start of a stump speech in  Spartanburg, South Carolina, the Minnesota congresswoman’s tribute message was just a tad off.

With the sound of Presley’s   “Promised Land”  drifting from the loudspeaker,  Bachmann gave Elvis a shout-out with a “happy birthday” greeting.

McConnell sees 2012 presidential race wide open, no Republican heir apparent

Who will lead the Republican Party in the 2012 presidential race?

USA/Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says plenty of Republicans will throw their hat into that ring, especially if Democratic President Barack Obama’s popularity stays on the low side.

What about Sarah Palin? The Tea Party favorite appears to be positioning herself for a possible run — she’s endorsing candidates in this year’s midterm elections and taking on Democrats when there’s an opening.

“I think she’s going to be one of a number of Republican leaders who are going to be looking at the presidential contest after the election,” McConnell said in a Reuters interview. “They’re all viable.”

McCain “disappointed” that media declared debate a tie

mccain3.jpgWASHINGTON – Republican White House hopeful John McCain, fresh from his first debate with Democratic rival Barack Obama in Mississippi, expressed regret on Saturday that his performance didn’t win over all the pundits in the press.
“I was a little disappointed the media called it a tie but I think that means, when they call it a tie, that means we win,” McCain said during a telephone call that was caught by cameras filming him at his campaign headquarters.
Both camps claimed victory after the 90-minute debate on Friday.
Meanwhile, Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, sought to lower expectations for the next debate in Tennessee on Oct. 7. It will be conducted in a town-hall style with questions from an audience.
“We will be a decided underdog in that encounter, and John McCain is the undisputed town hall champion,” Plouffe told reporters on a conference call, noting that McCain — who is fond of the format — had challenged Obama to do joint town hall meetings throughout the summer.
“He clearly feels, even more than the foreign policy debate, this is his home turf. So if we can just escape relatively unscathed against the undisputed town hall champion in Tennessee, we’ll be thrilled.”
Obama has held regular town halls of his own throughout the 2008 campaign and does not appear to struggle with the format.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder (McCain talks on the phone at his campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, on Sept. 27)

Lets Talk About Spain, Or Not

WASHINGTON - John McCain’s campaign insists the Republican presidential candidate’s response to an interviewer’s question about Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was neither a gaffe nor a dodge.
McCain knew exactly what he was saying, a campaign spokesman said on Thursday.
In the interview this week on Radio Caracol in Miami, McCain was askedmccain.jpg about Latin America and South America and then the reporter moved on to Spain and questioned him about meeting with Zapatero.
“I would be willing to meet with those leaders who are friends and want to work with us in a cooperative fashion. And, by the way, President Calderon of Mexico is fighting a very very tough fight against the drug cartels. I intend to move forward with relations and invite as many of them as I can, of those leaders, to the White House,” McCain responded.
McCain was well aware that the reporter had moved on to another leader in another hemisphere, senior campaign advisor Randy Scheunemann said.
“The questioner asked several times about Sen. McCain’s willingness to meet Zapatero, and I-D’d him in the question so there is no doubt Sen. McCain knew exactly to whom the question referred,” Scheunemann said.
“Sen. McCain refused to commit to a White House meeting with President Zapatero in this interview,” Scheunemann said.
Within weeks of taking office in 2004, Zapatero withdrew Spanish troops serving in Iraq. The move by Spain’s Socialist government put a chill on relations between Washington and Madrid.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

Photo credit: Reuters/Aaron Josefczyk

McCain: always ready with a quip about his age

mccain3.jpgBURBANK, Calif. – Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who turns 72 on Friday, is used to jokes about his age, so when he appeared on NBC’s Tonight Show on Monday he had no trouble countering suggestions he was around for some of the big moments in history.

Host Jay Leno suggested McCain saved Washington, D.C. from British forces in 1814.

“A lot of people think I shouldn’t have,” the Arizona senator joked, playing on widespread disillusionment with all branches of U.S government.

Comedian’s challenge aims to give McCain an excitement lift

When Republican presidential contender John McCain delivered a speech in front of a green backdrop in June, comedian Stephen Colbert decided the Arizona senator’s campaign could use a bit more excitement.

Colbert, of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” issued the “Green Screen Challenge” to his viewers, urging them to take stock footage of McCain’s speech and turn  it into something more exciting.

Since then videos portraying McCain have been piling up on the YouTube and ColbertNation Web sites. He’s seen as a pelvis-twisting Elvis, a character in Star Trek and a model in a Madonna video, among other things. He even appears as Colbert himself.

McCain revives Czechoslovakia as a country

ST. LOUIS  – Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who prides himself on his national security expertise, has twice in two days referred to recent Russian activities against Czechoslovakia, a country that no longer exists.
“I was concerned about a couple of steps that the Russian government took in the last several days. One was reducing the energy supplies to Czechoslovakia,” McCain told reporters on Monday in Phoenix.
He went on to repeat similar language on Tuesday at a town hall meeting in Albuquerque.
He was clearly referring to the Czech Republic, citing that government’s agreement with the United States over missile defense, an action he said prompted Moscow’s retaliation.

Czechoslovakia split into two parts, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, in 1993 after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
McCain’s campaign headquarters in suburban Washington D.C. got the distinction correct, issuing a written statement under McCain’s name late on Monday saying that “Russia’s 50 percent cut in oil deliveries to the Czech Republic” was deeply disturbing.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.  

Photo credit: Reuters/Fredy Builes (McCain and wife Cindy arrive in Colombia on a recent visit)

McCain: Quality of candidates makes VP search tough

ALBUQUERQUE – Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Tuesday his search for a vice presidential running mate is proving difficult because he has many qualified candidates.

rtr1ytqq.jpgA host of high-profile names have been circulating for weeks who McCain might be considering for vice president, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

At a town hall meeting in Albuquerque, McCain specifically took a question from a youngster described as a reporter, and the youth asked him about his vice presidential search.