Tales from the Trail

Introducing Reuters Elections: our new home for all things 2012

Welcome to Reuters Election 2012, our new hub for the latest political news, analysis, and opinion. With the same commitment to accuracy you’re used to, coupled with the conviction that the exchange of arguments and opinion is a vital component of political coverage, our goal is to build an online resource to help you make sense of the issues and decide which candidates win your votes.

Conceived of and executed by Jim Impoco on the editorial side and Alex Leo on the product side, the page has a number of features new to Reuters.com.

In addition to spotlighting the great homegrown work of our own journalists, we’ll be scouring the web and linking to the best news and commentary about the U.S. elections from around the globe. We’ll also be aggregating the most interesting tweets, and our Polititude widget will measure social sentiment about each presidential hopeful — powered by WiseWindow, a company that analyzes and interprets chatter on social media platforms across the web, rather than merely searching for keywords — to capture each candidate’s social favorability at any given moment.

We’ve revived Tales from the Trail, our erstwhile election-time blog, and started a new video blog, Political Theater, where we’re amassing the most compelling videos from the campaign.

There are individual pages for each candidate, including some of the less-mainstream contenders, so you can dive deeper into their biographies, backgrounds, campaign finances, and stances.

An Obama baby boom?

WASHINGTON – What did you do on election night? 

The youth and enthusiasm of President-elect Barack Obama’s supporters in the wake of his historic election could lead to a baby boom if the feelings last.

Hope and euphoria “are a serious aphrodisiac,” Newsweek magazine says in its Nov. 24 issue, citing interviews with experts, supporters and, admittedly, anecdotal evidence.

An Obama baby boom would hardly be the first tied to a big news event. Upward blips in the birth rate have followed many events, both happy and sad, such as the September 11 attacks or the end of World War Two.

Inside the Tent: Ron Silver talks about terrorism

Director and actor Ron Silver talks about his support for the Bush administration’s response to the attacks of Sept. 11 in New York and Washington and why the issue of terrorism remains important to him now. This video was shot by Inside the Tent contributor John Steward.

Reuters Inside the Tent equipped more than 40 delegates and other attendees in St. Paul and the Democratic National Convention last week in Denver with video cameras to capture the conventions from the ground up. Steward is not an employee of Reuters, and any views expressed are his own.

Click here for a full list of contributors.

Click here for more Inside the Tent blogs.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 election coverage.

Inside the Tent: Rally for the Republic

Former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul drew thousands of supporters to his “Rally for the Republic” event this week in Minneapolis,  across the river from the mainstream Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Jennifer Riley from North Dakota, who attended the rally and the Republican convention, talks about the differences between the two gatherings, and the emerging struggle between the “classic conservatives” and “neo-conservatives.” This video was shot by Inside the Tent contributor Ginny Saville, who is a Ron Paul supporter.

Reuters Inside the Tent equipped more than 40 delegates and other attendees in St. Paul and the Democratic National Convention last week in Denver with video cameras to capture the conventions from the ground up. Saville is not an employee of Reuters, and any views expressed are her own.

Faith on full display at Republican convention

ST. PAUL – Faith was on full display at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night with prayers from a pastor and tunes belted out by a Christian pop star.


Miles McPherson, a senior pastor of The Rock Church in San Diego and former professional football player, evoked patriotism and faith while leading the convention in prayer:

Thank-you God for always being there for us. And thank you for making America the greatest country in the world. We pray these things in Jesus’ name,” he said to warm cheers from the crowd.

Police, protesters clash near convention

ST. PAUL – Police in riot gear used pepper spray and smoke bombs against a few hundred violent protesters on Monday, and at least a dozen were arrested outside the arena where the Republican party opened its presidential convention.

In the video above, a police officer lobs a smoke bomb in the direction of the camera.

Officers on horseback, motorcycles and bicycles chased down a group of rock- and bottle-throwing protesters that had broken off from a larger, largely peaceful, march by as many as 10,000 people. The smaller group smashed police car windows and a Macy’s storefront, and a few threw glass bottles at police.

Greek gods, a birthday billboard and other Denver nuggets

And the Obama campaign thought their biggest worry was getting the right mix of substance and style in tonight’s big speech. Not so much.

rtr21rli.jpgThe task now seems to be either: a) recapturing the attention of 15,000 journalists busy Googling the difference between Doric and Ionic columns, or b) attacking McCain’s lack of global experience because his campaign is mixing up the Romans and Greeks.
Someone should have put a primer on Classical Architecture and History in the DNC convention guide.

The controversy of course is the unveiling of preparations for Obama’s speech at Denver’s massive football stadium, Invesco Field, which has been transformed into what the McCain campaign has called “The Temple of Obama.”

Ever the writer, Obama took hands-on role in preparing big speech

DENVER – Democrat Barack Obama spent long hours crafting the speech in which he will make history by formally accepting his party’s presidential nomination.

The White House contender looked to past nominee acceptance speeches for ideas, including those of Bill Clinton in 1992, Ronald Reagan in 1980 and John F. Kennedy in 1960, according to Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod.

speak.jpgObama worked largely by himself on the first draft, writing it out long-hand on legal pads and then typing it into a computer for review by his top aides.

Kerry takes convention stage again, rips McCain

johnkerry1.jpgDENVER – John Kerry, the failed 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, took the stage at this year’s party convention on Wednesday to praise Illinois Sen. Barack Obama – whose career he helped launch — and lambaste John McCain.

Kerry, who said he had been friends with McCain for nearly 22 years, used tough words to criticize the Arizona senator’s evolution from a maverick legislator to a presidential candidate.

“Before he ever debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself,” Kerry said, listing what he described as McCain’s shifts on tax cuts, immigration, and climate change.

Somebody please buy this candidate a coffeemaker

coffee.jpgSEDONA, Arizona – Taking a few days off from the presidential race, Sen. John McCain nonetheless keeps the media on its toes with a daily, early morning trip for coffee.

The Republican presidential candidate, who is staying at his comfortable home in the hills near Sedona, has been driven with staff, Secret Service, reporters, photographer and a television crew in tow to a Starbucks.

There, he quickly gets a cup to go and returns home.

On Friday, the six-vehicle motorcade — four SUVS and two vans– drove him 19 miles roundtrip to a Starbucks in Sedona.