Tales from the Trail

After a year’s respite, lipstick-wearing pig returns to US politics

The lipstick-wearing pig is back, making its annual appearance in the political discourse of the country.

The last time it was out and about, eerily enough, was a year ago Wednesday , tripping from Barack OBAMA/Obama’s tongue as the U.S. senator campaigned for the presidency.

Republicans don’t know what real change is, he told a crowd in Lebanon, Virginia.

“You know, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” Obama said. “You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called ‘change.’ It’s still gonna stink after eight years.”

The line prompted people to jump to their feet and cheer — apparently taking it as a direct slam at Governor Sarah Palin, the newly minted Republican vice presidential candidate.

The First Draft: Before Obama’s speech, Sarah Palin brings up “death panels”

PALIN/As Washington focuses on President Barack Obama’s address to Congress on healthcare reform, another voice is demanding to be heard — or at least read — on this same subject.

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and former Republican vice-presidential candidate, weighed in on her “fundamental” disagreement with the president’s plan. And yes, she brought up those “death panels” that raised such a furor when she mentioned them in a Facebook post in August.

Writing in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, Palin took aim at the Obama administration’s idea for a congressionally appointed Independent Medicare Advisory Panel, saying this would be “an unelected unaccountable group of experts charged with containing Medicare costs.”

Is Sarah Palin trading Alaska for Rhode Island?

Talk about a political football.

The Anchorage Daily News in Alaska is reporting, and The Providence Journal is repeating, a tantalizing rumor that Sarah Palin is going to move to Rhode Island.

No one has confirmed that (including us, and we tried). Even the Anchorage paper which started the speculation says it’s probably not true.

But frankly, Sarah Palin — the former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor — is a queen of surprises so one never knows…

Obama gets personal on Palin’s “death panels”

OBAMABarack Obama seems to have taken personally Sarah Palin’s accusations that his administration wants to set up “death panels” for the elderly.

At a town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado on Saturday the president got personal — citing his own grandmother, who died shortly before he was elected last year — when refuting charges by the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee about his healthcare reform plans.

“I just lost my grandmother last year.  I know what it’s like to watch somebody you love, who’s aging, deteriorate, and have to struggle with that,” Obama told the crowd.

Hang on a sec, Mr. President — Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin has issued a robust — and lengthy! — response to President Barack Obama after he accused her of trying to scare old folks for raising questions about “death panels.”

We’ll get to Palin in just a minute because when she talks, people listen. But first, what are death panels, you might ask?

Well, we read through a section of healthcare legislation being considered by the House of Representatives — section 1233 of H.R. 3200 called Advance Care Planning Consultation. It seems vague enough that you can read into it what you want. We’ll link to the section at the bottom for those who want to read more about it. It would allow Medicare to pay for consultations with physicians about end-of-life care while not requiring them.

White House calls Sarah Palin distributor of bad healthcare info

The White House is singling out gone-but-not-forgotten Sarah Palin for whipping up some of the opposition to Democratic healthcare proposals. PALIN/

You’ll recall that last week, the former Alaska governor and Republican star said on her Facebook page that the Democrats want to create “death panels” in which bureaucrats would decide end-of-life care issues for old folks. Some of us read about this in the newspaper, because we don’t have a Facebook page.

Obama called this an example of the “scare tactics” that opponents of his healthcare overhaul have come up with and that the last thing he wants to do is pull the plug on grandma, or something like that.

Obama doesn’t want to pull plug on grandma

This just in: President Barack Obama opposes pulling the plug on your sick grandmother.

In a sign of how twisted the healthcare debate has become, the president of the United States was forced to stand up in public and say definitively that he did not favor killing off the elderly when their care became too expensive.

The dramatic declaration came in New Hampshire in response to one of the wilder accusations circulated by opponents of his efforts to overhaul healthcare.

The First Draft: health care heat wave

USA/The temperature’s heading toward 100 in Washington, and things are getting hotter in the debate over health care too, even with Congress out of town for the traditional August recess and President Barack Obama in Mexico for the so-called Three Amigos summit.

Taking aim at the orchestrated — or not — attacks on congressional supporters of the Obama health care plan, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer struck back in an opinion piece in USAToday: “Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.”

The two top House Democrats aren’t commenting in a vacuum. Obama’s Saturday radio and Web address focused on the “outlandish” tactics of some opponents of health care reform.

Media barred from Palin’s post-gubernatorial debut

rtr263c1Sarah Palin is expected to make a visit next week to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in California, in what would be her first public appearance outside Alaska since resigning as governor, and the sponsors said on Wednesday the event will be closed to the media.

Palin, the self-described hockey mom turned politician, is slated as “our expected guest” on Aug. 8 for a 50th anniversary gala hosted by the Simi Valley Republican Women, Federated, a nonprofit group of GOP volunteers, according to an e-mail from the group’s president Peggy Sadler. An accompanying notice states bluntly: “No press or other media allowed.”

The group is renting space for the invitation-only event at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, a suburb north of Los Angeles. Tickets for the gala reportedly were going for $100 per person for members and $150 for invited non-members. Up to 900 people were expected to attend. Sadler said the party is “not a fundraising event” and that proceeds would go to pay for the event itself.

Palin exit poll shows dip, but high party marks

palinwave2 Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is leaving office with a dip in her favorability ratings and public doubts over her leadership skills and understanding of complex issues, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

But she got higher marks for being honest and trustworthy.

Overall, 53 percent of Americans view Palin negatively while 40 percent view her positively, according to the poll.

That’s the lowest level she’s hit in a Washington Post-ABC poll since stepping into the national spotlight as John McCain’s running mate last year, the Post said.