Tales from the Trail
Who will lead the Republican Party in the 2012 presidential race?
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.
WASHINGTON – 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.
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 asked 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.
BURBANK, 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.
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.
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.
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.