Tales from the Trail

Palin gets a little help from a friend, Cindy McCain

WASHINGTON – The polls and pundits may be giving Sarah Palin a bad rap, but the Republican vice presidential candidate from Alaska has one staunch defender.

“I think she’s been treated very poorly in the press,” said Cindy McCain in an interview with CNN’s Larry King.

The wife of Republican presidential hopeful John McCain dismissed any idea that Palin has been a drag on the Republican ticket.

“She has done nothing but help this ticket. The size of the crowds she gets, the inspiration, the ability to get her message out, to get our message out. She is truly a remarkable woman,” McCain said.

As for the flap over the $150,000 the Republican Party spent on new clothes for Palin, how silly can the press be?

Obama, McCain still asking for money just before the election

NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia – Fundraising never stops.

Just before Tuesday’s election, U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain aren’t only trolling for votes, they’re asking for money.

“Make a donation of $5 or more today to expand our efforts in these new battleground states,” Obama campaign manager David Plouffe wrote in an email to supporters on Saturday  — three days  before the election –  referring to new states where the campaign was buying television ads. 

The incentive? Plouffe promised one lucky donor and a guest an all-expenses paid trip to Chicago for Obama’s rally on election night.

Palin’s apple picking lesson: It’s about immigration, not China

NEW PARIS, Penn. – What is the biggest competition for an apple orchard owner in rural Pennsylvania?
Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin thought she knew the answer when talking to Matthew Boyer of Boyer Orchards.
“So is your competition imports from China?” Palin asked Boyer, as she stood in a barn in front of bushels of all different kinds of freshly picked apples at the family-owned orchard.
Not quite.
While it’s true that China is a huge apple producer and the United States’ share of world exports continues to decline, competition from China wasn’t Boyer’s biggest concern.
Boyer told Palin he was more worried about apples from Washington state, which produces some 60 percent of the apples grown in the United States.
In fact, the issue on Boyer’s mind was immigration.
Boyer employs migrants to pick his apples, and it is becoming harder to find people willing and able to do the work.
“We need workers. We can’t get any local person for it. It’s hard work,” he said.
“It’s increasingly difficult to find legal help. People don’t understand this immigration issue.”
Palin quickly turned the conversation to one of her preferred topics — the need to cut taxes, especially for small business owners.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Move over, Tina Fey, John McCain’s coming to Saturday Night Live

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio – It’s official. Republican John McCain is making an appearance on the popular comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live this weekend, just days before the November 4 election.

SNL has seen its ratings surge this season on the popularity of its political skits, especially actress Tina Fey’s portrayal of McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin

Palin, who bears a striking resemblance to Fey, appeared on the show two weeks ago, boosting ratings and drawing positive reviews.

Fashionistas prescribe tweezers for McCain, eye cream for Obama

In the wake her $150,000 wardrobe flap, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has complained that male politicians largely escape the scrutiny that she undergoes from the fashion police.

Not so fast. The Grooming Lounge, a Georgetown hair salon that coiffs many of Washington’s most powerful players, has weighed in with beauty tips for the men in the race.

Here’s what they have to say.

Republican John McCain: Slather on some “self tanning product” to exude a healthy glow, and tweeze the eyebrows. “Our research shows that the last five elections have been won by the candidate with more well-trimmed eyebrows,” the Grooming Lounge says.

Is internal strife rippling through McCain-Palin campaign?

WASHINGTON – As the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign enters its final week, reports are bubbling up about internal strife within the Republican ticket that suggest vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is trying to distance herself from the top of the ticket, John McCain.

Palin over the last few weeks has publicly expressed her differences with McCain on issues such as a constitutional ban on gay marriage, the campaign’s decision to no longer contest Democrats in Michigan and her distaste for automated calls that have drawn scrutiny.

Politico.com reported this weekend that Palin has also cast aside advice from former George W. Bush aides assigned to help her on the campaign trail, citing their handling of her debut. She was roundly criticized for her poor performance in her initial national media interviews.

Palin grabs her own coat on the trail

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Republican vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin took a shot at her own party while campaigning solo in the battleground state of Iowa on Saturday.

Poking fun at the Republican National Committee for buying her and her family over $150,000 worth of clothing for the campaign, she said when she stepped off the plane in a chilly Iowa that she’d grabbed “my own jacket”.

Her reference to the controversy drew applause and whistles from the crowd.

In Des Moines Palin argued that her running mate John McCain, was more “worthy” of the presidency, saying he was “someone who inspires us with heroic and trustworthy deeds and not just words.” 

A taxing question on Palin’s clothing allowance

Sarah Palin’s $150,000 clothing allowance from the Republican National Committee raises questions about whether John McCain’s vice presidential pick will have to pay federal income taxes for the items she bought with the money.  palin2.jpg

Maybe, according to one congressional tax expert.

The McCain campaign says the clothing, which according to Politico.com was purchased at stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks, will go to charity after the campaign.

If everything is handed over to charity once the last ballot is cast, Palin could argue that she never actually owned the clothes and that they were more like costumes or uniforms used for work, the tax expert said.

Who needs foreign tourists? Luxury chains have Palin!

palin11.jpgAlaska Gov. and hockey mom Sarah Palin, who’s not only John McCain’s vice presidential pick, but a luxury fashion maverick.

The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 since late August to outfit Palin and her family in the fanciest of duds from department stores like Saks and Neiman Marcus, says politico.com.

The financial disclosure records, included under the line item “itemized coordinated expenditures,” show RNC expenditures at Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York of $49,425.74 in September. Based on Saks’  September comparable-store sales of $273.2 million,  Palin accounted for .018 percent of sales.

Obama backer takes musical aim at Palin as VP pick

ROANOKE, Va. – Warming up a crowd for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama in the Blue Ridge mountain region of Virginia, Sen. Jim Webb on Friday took aim at Republican vice presidential pick Sarah Palin’s qualifications.

Webb, who has deep roots in the Appalachian region, invoked a popular country music song about a romantic encounter gone bad to suggest that John McCain may regret his selection of the Alaska governor as his running mate.

rtx9nve.jpgAt a convention center before 8,000 supporters, Webb praised the judgment of Obama, a first-term Illinois senator.