Tales from the Trail

Huntsman’s big day out

Jon Huntsman knew coming into Tuesday that low name recognition was a problem.

But the former Utah governor might not have expected it in the heart of his campaign on the day he announced a run for the White House.

Media traveling with the just-hatched candidate in New Jersey were handed press passes which touted the “John Huntsman for President Announcement Tour” (that’s an extra H in the first name). Staff quickly scrambled to retrieve and replace the errant IDs.

By Huntsman’s second stop of the day, a rally in Exeter, New Hampshire, aides had opted instead for the generic tag of  “Governor Huntsman.” Less chance of a blunder.

President Barack Obama’s former envoy to China spoke for 13 minutes to an enthusiastic crowd of several hundred who packed the historic Exeter town hall.

Many were undecided voters participating in the popular New Hampshire sport of “kicking the tires.”

Will the real Sarah Palin please stand up

There can be no denying that Sarah Palin is a rock star among conservatives. Even a fake version managed to gain some attention at a conservative conference that heard from some potential presidential wannabes.

USA-POLITICS/A woman who resembled the former Alaska governor — similar hairstyle, glasses, red outfit — got a warm welcome as she wandered around greeting people during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

One observer found at close range it was obvious she wasn’t the real former Republican vice presidential candidate, but not a bad likeness form a little distance.

from Reuters Investigates:

Spoiling the party

Last month The New York Times had a story about Arizona Republicans putting up homeless people as candidates for the Green Party in elections there. Now Murray Waas, our Barlett & Steele award winner, has a special report about Democratic Party shenanigans. 

USA-ELECTIONS/TRICKSWaas went to Pennsylvania's 7th district to show how Democrats helped get Tea Party activist Jim Schneller (left) on the ballot, hoping to siphon off votes from the Republican candidate.

This is what one Democrat involved in the scheme had to say:

Abu Rahman, the president of the Delaware County Asian American Democratic Association and a Lentz supporter, who admits he gathered signatures for Schneller, said in an interview that he had some mixed feelings about what he was doing. "I remember thinking to myself that this is not clean," Rahman said, "But it is not illegal."   

Say hello to an average American citizen

christineChristine O’Donnell says her  “I Am Not A Witch” ad is an attempt  to reintroduce herself to the public… after some old video put a damper on her national debut.

Delaware’s Republican U.S. Senate nominee was still savoring her stunning primary victory when the video clips from her past television appearances resurfaced.

Let’s just say, the old Christine wasn’t exactly the image the new Christine wanted to project — thus the reintroduction.

Nicolle Wallace’s novel about White House: Eighteen Acres

Tucked inside Washington is a fenced-in, heavily guarded complex housing the president, the vice president and all their top aides. It is 18 acres of important turf and that is why Nicolle Wallace entitled her novel, “Eighteen Acres.” 

Nicolle is a Republican who was a top communications adviser to President George W. Bush and a senior campaign adviser to John McCain in 2008. She has drawn from those experiences to write a novel about three powerful women: the president, the White House chief of staff, and a White House correspondent. USA-POLITICS/

In the book, President Charlotte Kramer’s administration is at risk of imploding over rumors of her husband’s secret affair.

Arizona immigration law controversy hits border governors’ conference

The simmering row over Arizona’s tough-as-nails immigration law has led to a shift in venue for the U.S.-Mexico border governors’ meeting, an annual event usually characterized by unity and good will.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, canceled the bash she was due to host after six border governors from Mexico pulled out in protest at the desert state’s crackdown on unauthorized immigrants she inked into law in late April.

6
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a Democrat, stepped in this week to save the meeting which is now set to take place in Santa Fe in late September — although full attendance looks doubtful in the poisoned atmosphere that lingers.

Bush, Cheney meet for first time since leaving office

Former President George W. Bush and his former vice president, Dick Cheney, got together Thursday for the first time since they left office in January 2009.

The meeting took place at Cheney’s house in McLean, Virginia, just three days after the former vice president suffered a mild heart attack and was hospitalized overnight. An ABC News camera captured the moment.
BUSH
“Mr. President, welcome,” Cheney said as Bush stepped from the back of a sport utility vehicle.

“Looking good,” Bush said.

“Holding up alright,” Cheney replied.

“Looking good,” the former president said again as the two shook hands warmly.

Dueling Carly Fiorina websites do battle

The California Democratic Party launched a website parodying former Hewlett-Packard Co chief Carly Fiorina’s credentials to run as the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from California.

POLITICS-FIORINA-SENATE/Fiorina was the driving force behind HP’s controversial 2002 acquisition of Compaq Computer, turning the Silicon Valley pioneer into a behemoth with billions in annual revenue in line with that of IBM, although she was ousted three years later owing to the firm’s poor performance.  She wants to run to unseat liberal Democrat Barbara Boxer later this year.

If she secures her party’s nomination, Fiorina, 55, would likely be the underdog against Boxer, who has served four terms in the Senate and has an edge in Democratic leaning California.

McCain vows to press fight against Democratic deal-making on health reform

A Senate healthcare vote in the wee hours Monday morning got Senator John McCain riled up and quoting Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones.

The 60-40 procedural vote let Democrats limit debate on the healthcare bill and quashed any Republican hopes for a filibuster, where they could grab control of the floor and talk the measure to death.
OBAMA-MCCAIN/
The move prompted Republicans to cry foul. War hero McCain gave notice that he wasn’t letting go. He invoked war hero and naval Captain John Paul Jones, who famously rejected suggestions of surrender and told his British opponent, “I have not yet begun to fight.”

McCain was rather less pithy. He vowed to travel the country, visiting town halls, senior centers and Rotary Clubs to rally opposition to the healthcare reform bill.

Palin says not focused on 2012

The 2012 presidential campaign is not on her radar screen, says 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.  But she didn’t exactly shut the door on the the possibility of making a run for the White House during her first interview to promote her book, “Going Rogue: An American Life.”

sarah1Palin told TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey that right now it’s all about the 2010 elections.

“I’m concentrating on 2010 and making sure that we have issues to tackle,” Palin said in the interview taped last week and broadcast Monday. “I don’t know what I’m going to be doing in 2012. (Running for president is) not on my radar screen right now.”