Tales from the Trail

Comedian’s challenge aims to give McCain an excitement lift

When Republican presidential contender John McCain delivered a speech in front of a green backdrop in June, comedian Stephen Colbert decided the Arizona senator’s campaign could use a bit more excitement.

Colbert, of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” issued the “Green Screen Challenge” to his viewers, urging them to take stock footage of McCain’s speech and turn  it into something more exciting.

Since then videos portraying McCain have been piling up on the YouTube and ColbertNation Web sites. He’s seen as a pelvis-twisting Elvis, a character in Star Trek and a model in a Madonna video, among other things. He even appears as Colbert himself.

Here are a several, in case you missed them.

McCain revives Czechoslovakia as a country

ST. LOUIS  – Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who prides himself on his national security expertise, has twice in two days referred to recent Russian activities against Czechoslovakia, a country that no longer exists.
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“I was concerned about a couple of steps that the Russian government took in the last several days. One was reducing the energy supplies to Czechoslovakia,” McCain told reporters on Monday in Phoenix.
 
He went on to repeat similar language on Tuesday at a town hall meeting in Albuquerque.
 
He was clearly referring to the Czech Republic, citing that government’s agreement with the United States over missile defense, an action he said prompted Moscow’s retaliation.

Czechoslovakia split into two parts, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, in 1993 after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
 
McCain’s campaign headquarters in suburban Washington D.C. got the distinction correct, issuing a written statement under McCain’s name late on Monday saying that “Russia’s 50 percent cut in oil deliveries to the Czech Republic” was deeply disturbing.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.  

Photo credit: Reuters/Fredy Builes (McCain and wife Cindy arrive in Colombia on a recent visit)
 

Michelle Obama getting more negative coverage than Cindy McCain?

WASHINGTON – Americans are hearing a lot more about Michelle Obama than Cindy McCain, but the news they get about the Democratic presidential candidate’s wife is far more negative than what they hear about thertr209pf.jpg spouse of the Republican candidate, according to a study.
 
The study by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press found that 30 percent of Americans said they had heard a lot about the wife of Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama, while only 9 percent reported hearing a lot about Cindy McCain, the spouse of Republican candidate John McCain.
 
Seventy-eight percent said they had heard at least a little about Michelle Obama, while only 54 percent reported hearing at least a little about Cindy McCain, the study found.
 
Michelle Obama has been more heavily covered by the news media than Cindy McCain. Between Jan. 1 and June 15, Obama has been a significant newsmaker in 102 stories, while McCain has appeared in just 28 stories, according to the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism.
 
In evaluating the coverage of the two candidates’ wives, about half of those questioned said the news had been a mixture of positive and negative.
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But people were much more likely to say the news they had been hearing about Michelle Obama was mostly negative. About 26 percent said Obama’s coverage had been mostly negative, while 21 percent said it had been mostly positive.
 
Thirty-one percent said the news about Cindy McCain had been mostly positive, while only 7 percent said it had been mostly negative.
 
Republicans were much more likely to say the news about Obama had been mostly negative. Thirty-three percent found that to be the case, while only 10 percent of Republicans said coverage of the Democratic candidate’s wife had been mostly positive.

What do you think — has Michelle Obama been getting rougher treatment from the news media than Cindy McCain? Or are they being treated equally?

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo credit:  Top: Reuters/Chris Keane (Barack and Michelle Obama in Raleigh May 6); Bottom: Reuters/Mike Stone (John and Cindy McCain in Dallas March 4)

Sidelined in Chicago, Obama wows 8th grade graduating class

CHICAGO – Barack Obama skipped a trip to Iowa today because he did not want to interfere with flood recovery efforts there. So instead, he surprised a class of eighth graders by showing up at their graduation ceremony.

rtx6lhy.jpgObama was at the Illinois Institute of Technology to hold a roundtable discussion on predatory lending practices. Next door to his event was the graduation ceremony for the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago, a school for disadvantaged youth.

When Obama made his surprise entrance at the ceremony, the children and their parents leaped to their feet and cheered, “Obama, Obama.”