Tales from the Trail

Vice presidential candidates by the numbers

The vice presidential candidates who will take the stage for a debate at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky this week are just as polarizing as their running mates, according to Reuters/Ipsos polls. “Very unfavorable” was the most commonly held view of both men.

According to data collected last week, Vice President Joe Biden is seen “very unfavorably” by 22 percent of respondents, in line with President Barack Obama’s “very unfavorable” score of 27 percent.

U.S. Representative Paul Ryan, the Tea Party darling and Republican budget master, has a corresponding figure of 25 percent. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s “very unfavorable” score is, like the president’s, 27  percent.

When the answers are collapsed into basic “favorable” and “unfavorable” categories, however, Biden looks to be the more popular of the two. “Favorable” responses of some sort — “very favorable,” “lean toward favorable,” “somewhat favorable” — totaled 53 percent for Biden and 47 percent for his counterpart from Wisconsin.

In a head-to-head matchup, Biden came out on top. Respondents said the 69-year-old former senator from Delaware was more qualified to be president than Ryan, 42, by a margin of 39 percent to 33 percent, with 28 percent saying they did not know.

A Number Cruncher could add up to become Romney running mate

Washington number crunchers are finally getting some respect.

Just take a look at Mitt Romney’s search for a Republican vice presidential running mate.

With the economy the top issue in the Nov. 6 elections, Romney’s short list of his possible picks features two of Congress’s most wonkish guys.

One, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, served as President George W. Bush’s budget director, and is now viewed as a top contender.

Washington Extra – Gift of the gas

 

Gasoline drips off a nozzle during refueling at a gas station in Altadena, California in this March 24, 2012 file photo. Picture taken March 24, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

After negotiating a tricky stretch of road, the Obama campaign may be easing into the straightaway in the gas-driven presidential race.

News on Monday of a delay in the planned closure of the largest refinery on the East Coast could mean an end to skyrocketing gas prices. And that would effectively take the wind out of a forceful Republican line of attack — that the president is to be blamed for $4 a gallon gas, arguably the most visible price in the American economy today.

I’m not forcing Bill to eat tofu and I don’t want to be VP- Hillary

Is  she forcing her husband to eat tofu? No.

Did Bill cry at the wedding? Not really.

Does she want to be vice president? Absolutely not.

On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton graciously handled softball questions about her husband’s diet and her daughter’s wedding at Fortune magazine’s  “Most Powerful Women” conference — before moving on to quash persistent rumors that she  might be interested in the vice presidential slot in a second-term Obama administration.

Ann Moore, the chairman of Time Inc., launched a Q+A session at the summit of 400 leading women in politics, business and the arts with an assessment of Bill Clinton’s successful drive to slim down ahead of his daughter Chelsea’s wedding in July.

“He looked so trim, and he said that’s because you and Chelsea were forcing him to eat tofu!”  Moore said.

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.

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.

Cheney: Palin good candidate, can be effective VP

cheney3.jpgROME – Dick Cheney, considered one of the most powerful vice presidents in U.S. history, said Sarah Palin, a newcomer to the national political stage, was a good candidate and can be an effective vice president.
 
Republican John McCain’s surprise choice of the virtually unknown Alaska governor as his running mate in the contest for the White House has raised questions about whether she has the experience for an office that is next in line to be president.
 
“I think she’s a good candidate and I don’t see any reason why she can’t be an effective vice president,” Cheney told reporters travelling with him on a trip to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine and Italy.
 
Cheney, 67, a former congressman and energy executive, is considered to have wielded greater power as vice president than previous holders of that office. He was deeply involved in decision making on the Iraq war and has been one of the harshest critics of Russia in the Republican administration of President George W. Bush.
 
Palin, 44, a self-described “hockey mom,” is a first-term governor of Alaska and prior to that was mayor of Wasilla, a small town in that state.
 
In a fiery speech at the Republican convention last week, Palin touted her small-town roots and attacked her critics as out-of-touch elitists who do not understand everyday life in America.
 
McCain and Palin, the first female Republican vice presidential nominee, are running against Democrats Barack Obama, the first black presidential nominee, and Joe Biden, a Senate veteran, in the race for the White House that will be decided in the Nov. 4 election.
 
“We’ve had all kinds of vice presidents over the years and everybody brings a different set of experiences to the office and also a different kind of understanding with whoever the president is,” Cheney said.
 
“Each administration’s different and there’s no reason why Sarah Palin can’t be a successful vice president in a McCain administration,” he said.
 
“I thought her appearance at the convention was superb. I watched that with great interest. I loved some of her lines – what was the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull? It’s lipstick,” Cheney said with a laugh. 

Photo credit: REUTERS/Konstantin Chernichkin  U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney arrives at Kiev’s airport, Sept. 4, 2008.

Click  here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

Prediction markets place bets on Palin’s permanence

The online prediction market Intrade sees a 12 percent chance that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be withdrawn as the Republican vice presidential nominee before the U.S. presidential election on November 4.

Intrade accepts trades on the probability of events such as whether there will be a recession, whether the U.S. Congress will lift the ban on offshore drilling or whether the United States or Israel will launch a military strike on Iran. It opened the Palin betting market on Tuesday morning after a series of revelations about the Alaska governor whom Sen. John McCain chose as his running mate, including that her 17-year-old daughter was pregnant.

The market opened at 3 percent that she would have to withdraw as McCain’s running mate and climbed as high as 18 percent before settling down to 12 percent on 632 trades as of noon EDT. The markets are priced from zero to 100, with zero meaning investors see no chance an event will happen and 100 meaning it already has happened.

McCain talks up possible VP picks

mccain.jpegSAN DIEGO, Calif. – Republican presidential candidate John McCain had kind words for two of his possible vice presidential picks in recent days but dropped nothing more than hints about his eventual choice.

With the Republican convention starting next Monday, McCain is expected to name his running mate in the coming days — possibly at a rally in the swing state of Ohio on Friday, his 72nd birthday.

At a fundraising event in San Diego on Tuesday evening, he praised Mitt Romney , once a bitter rival for the Republican nomination who has now become a strong advocate for McCain on cable news shows.

Obama, in slip-up, refers to Biden as “next president”

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – Of all the gaffes Democratic White house hopeful Barack Obama probably hoped to avoid, he accidentally introduced Joe Biden as the presidential candidate rather than the No. 2 man on the ticket.rtr21mtc.jpg

He quickly corrected himself but the McCain campaign quickly pounced on the mistake to suggest that Biden, a veteran Delaware senator, might wield the real power in an Obama administration.

As Biden stepped to the podium at his first joint rally with Obama, the Democratic White House candidate said, “Let me introduce to you, the next president — the next vice president of the United States of America: Joe Biden.”