Tales from the Trail

Witchgate? Another day, another Palin video …

DALLAS – Another day, another video showing Sarah Palin in church.

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The latest Palin You Tube video to show up on the Internet features grainy footage of John McCain’s vice presidential running mate receiving a blessing against witchcraft in a Pentecostal church in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska.

You can see the video here. Palin says nothing in it and keeps her head bowed throughout the blessing that was reportedly given by a Kenyan pastor and witch hunter.

The video, like a previous one in which Palin tells a congregation that U.S. troops in Iraq were on a “task from God,”  has been widely reported and commented on. It reportedly was made in 2005 before she was elected governor of Alaska. It began circulating on the Internet this week.

Palin is an evangelical who has ignited the Republican Party’s conservative Christian base. But incidents such as this one have raised eyebrows in some quarters, especially among foreign media covering the U.S. campaign in the run-up to the Nov. 4 election between McCain/Palin and Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

The online edition of Britain’s Telegraph newspaper said the incident recalled the damaging reports that Obama faced over his links to pastor Jeremiah Wright, who made stridently anti-American sermons.

Media gets a lashing at McCain event

bristol1.jpgSCRANTON, Pa. – The news media got a brisk scolding from a supporter of Sen. John McCain at the Republican presidential nominee’s town hall meeting on Tuesday.

A woman in the audience thanked the Arizona senator for choosing Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate and accused the media of putting more effort into investigating Palin than  the Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama.

“We want the media to start doing their jobs and stop picking on little children because of their age and their pregnancies,” she said, in reference to Palin’s unwed, pregnant 17-year-old daughter Bristol. “Shame on you. Shame on you.”

Palin sees debate with Biden as ‘quite a task’

WASHINGTON – Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin sounds a bit wary about her upcoming debate with her really, really, really experienced Democratic rival.
 
“Senator (Joe) Biden has a tremendous amount of experience,” she told Fox News. “I think he was first elected when I was like in the second grade.”
 
If her running mate John McCain, 72, wasn’t hoping to be the oldest person to begin a first term as president, one might think Palin was suggesting Biden, 65, was old. 
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“He’s been in there a long, long, long time,” Palin said. “So he’s got the experience. He probably has the sound bites. He has the rhetoric. He knows what’s expected of him. He is a great debater, also.”
 
“So yes, it’s going to be quite a task in front of me,” she said.
 
Palin also said she didn’t mean to insult Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in her nominating speech when she belittled his experience as a community organizer. 

“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities,” she told the Republican convention.
 
“I certainly didn’t mean to hurt his feelings,” Palin told Fox News. “Didn’t mean to offend any community organizers either.”
 
She said she did it because Obama had taken a shot at small town mayors.
 
The Alaska governor, little-known before being chosen as McCain’s running mate, said she respected former Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton but disagreed with her on the issues.
 
Clinton has been campaigning on behalf of Obama since losing the Democratic nomination, but she has avoided direct confrontation with Palin.
 
Clinton planned to speak at a demonstration against the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, near the United Nations which convenes its annual General Assembly next week but she canceled the appearance on Wednesday after learning Palin would also address the crowd.
 
A Clinton adviser said the protest had not been billed as a partisan political event.
 
Organizers of the demonstration subsequently announced Thursday they had decided not to let any American political personalities appear.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Hagel questions Palin experience

Sarah Palin has energized the Republican base since John McCain picked her as his vice-presidential running mate, but one prominent Republican is not impressed.hagelobama.jpg

Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican, is questioning whether Palin has enough foreign-policy experience to serve as the country’s second-in-command. “She doesn’t have any foreign policy credentials,” Hagel told the Omaha World-Herald. “You get a passport for the first time in your life last year? I mean, I don’t know what you can say. You can’t say anything.”

“I think they ought to be just honest about it and stop the nonsense about, ‘I look out my window and I see Russia and so therefore I know something about Russia,” he added. “That kind of thing is insulting to the American people.”

Palin offers to play “stump the candidate,” but game doesn’t happen

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said on Wednesday she would be ready to deal with foreign policy if she and John McCain win the White House and offered to play “stump the candidate” to test herself on specific policy issues.

In their first joint “town hall meeting” with Palin taking questions from voters, an audience member asked Palin to dispel concerns that she lacked foreign policy experience. She responded by saying she expected critics to look for things to attack. “I think because I’m a Washington outsider that opponents are going to be looking for a whole lot of things that they can criticize,” she said.

palin.jpg“As for foreign policy, you know, I think that I am prepared and I know that on Jan. 20, if we are so blessed as to be sworn into office as your president and vice president, certainly we’ll be ready,” Palin said.

Never mind polls, McCain says he’s still the underdog

mccain16.jpgMIAMI – The polls may show him advancing past Democrat Barack Obama, but Republican John McCain is still holding on to one of his favorite titles: underdog.

The Arizona senator told a Republican fundraising event that raised some $5.1 million on Monday that he and running mate Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, were still coming from behind in the race toward the Nov. 4 presidential election.

“We’ve got a strong headwind and we’ve got a lot to do,” he said to a group of donors. “No matter what you see in the polls recently, Governor Palin and I are the underdogs. We’re the underdogs. That’s where we like to be.”

Hillary Clinton: Happy to stump for Obama-Biden

rtr21rk6.jpgWASHINGTON – Given the rise of Sarah Palin’s political star, is Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama regretting his decision not to choose Hillary Clinton as his running mate?

Palin, the Republican vice presidential running mate to White House hopeful John McCain, thinks so and even Obama’s running mate wondered whether Clinton would have been a better choice instead of Joe Biden. But what about Clinton herself?

“We have a great Democratic vice-presidential candidate,” Clinton said when asked about Palin’s comment in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that will air on Tuesday.

Biden ramps up attack dog role in Obama campaign

CHICAGO – Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, trying to step up his role of attack dog, on Monday labeled Republican John McCain as a “profoundly out of touch” politician using dishonorable tactics to try to win the White House.rtx88ms.jpg

In excerpts from a speech he is to give in Michigan, Biden, running mate to presidential hopeful Barack Obama, said both McCain’s policies and his campaign strategies mirror those of the unpopular U.S. President George W. Bush.

“We’ve seen this movie before, folks. But as everyone knows, the sequel is always worse than the original,” Biden will say in the speech he will give in St. Clair Shores, Mich.

Obama presses sharper message against McCain, despite Ike

MANCHESTER, N.H. – As Hurricane Gustav threatened to wreak havoc on the Gulf Coast two weeks ago, Democrat Barack Obama made a point of toning down his campaign rhetoric during a swing through the Midwest, saying it was not a time for politics.

The White House hopeful and his Republican opponent John McCain also took a day off from battling each other on Thursday to observe the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in a solemn ceremony at Ground Zero in New York City.

But Obama, who has faced complaints from some supporters that he is not fighting back hard enough against McCain’s attacks, was undeterred in his determination on Saturday to keep up a more aggressive tone to his campaigning as Hurricane Ike raked Texas.

from Environment Forum:

Palin asks Schwarzenegger to terminate shipping fees

palin3.jpgCalifornia environmentalists are in tizzy this week, accusing Republican Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin of telling their governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, how to do his job.

At issue is a letter Palin sent to Schwarzenegger last month, asking him to veto a bill that would raise shipping container fees to pay for pollution-reduction programs at three major California ports.

The letter, which Palin sent to Schwarzenegger a day before she was announced as John McCain's running mate, began circling on the Web on Thursday.