Weekend Report, July 5-6, 2008
GENERAL NEWS HEADLINES with excerpts
Obama back-pedals on Iraq in second news conference
“Let me be as clear as I can be,” he said. “I intend to end this war. My first day in office I will bring the Joint Chiefs of Staff in, and I will give them a new mission, and that is to end this war — responsibly, deliberately, but decisively.
“And I have seen no information that contradicts the notion that we can bring our troops out safely at a pace of one to two brigades a month, and, again, that pace translates into having our combat troops out in 16 months’ time.”
Mr. Obama added that when he had spoken earlier about possibly refining his policies, he was referring to questions about how big a residual force should be left to train Iraqi forces and conduct counterterrorism operations, not the overall timeline for withdrawal.
Obama's Iraq quagmire
Vets For Freedom launches TV ad campaign next week
Next week, Vets for Freedom (vetsforfreedom.org) — a 20,000-member, nonpartisan organization established by combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — plans to begin spending more than $1 million on a TV campaign that will include Ohio, Virginia and New Mexico.
The group plans to spend millions more and to add other states to the roster over the next four months.
The ad, the largest independent expenditure on a national-security theme in the general election so far, features a number of vets speaking about the success of the surge and the need to finish the job.
The buy is part of what the group is calling the "Four Months, For Victory" media and grass-roots campaign that focuses on a dozen key swing states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Vets For Freedom letter to Wesley Clark
McCain's new message machine - maybe not til Monday?
This guidance comes from the McCain campaign, about what to expect when he turns his attention to the economy full-bore starting Monday:
“John McCain will set the stage for the week by announcing his jobs-first economic plan in Colorado, kicking off five days of economic themed activity in critical battleground states. Be on the lookout for local campaign activity in states where Barack Obama is traveling, to highlight Obama’s vote to raise income taxes on people making as little as $32,000 per year. We have learned over the past few weeks that it is important to examine the actions behind Obama’s words, and these events will point out his record on the issue of taxes.”
McCain winds up Latin trip in Mexico
From the white roses he laid before a likeness of Mexico’s blessed saint, the Virgin of Guadalupe, to the endorsement he gave for an overhaul of American immigration laws, Senator John McCain used a visit to Mexico on Thursday to appeal to residents of both sides of the border: Mexicans and, more urgently, their voting relatives and other Latinos in the United States.
... Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, has faced criticism from some of his fellow Republicans for spending time in Colombia and Mexico just as the general election battle heats up, but his campaign officials feel that the trip could resonate among voters back home by promoting his support of free trade, while highlighting his immigration views during his time in Mexico.
Obama celebrates a small town 4th
BUTTE, Mont. -- With John McCain taking July Fourth off, Barack Obama had the campaign trail to himself for Independence Day, taking in a small-town July Fourth parade here and inviting his family and a thousand of his closest friends to a picnic in the Rockies.
It was the last leg of the Illinois senator's week-long values tour of largely Republican territory. And after hitting the themes of patriotism in Missouri, faith in Appalachian Ohio, service in Colorado, and veterans care in North Dakota, the Fourth was given over to family.
In Montana, Obama tries to rally support on Iraq
One day after Mr. Obama said he would consider refining his plan to remove troops from Iraq within 16 months, he offered no timetable for withdrawal as he criticized the Bush administration’s Iraq policy, which he said “has not made us more safe and has fanned anti-American sentiment all around the world.”
... Mr. Obama’s statements about Iraq on Thursday continued to reverberate. First, he said he might “refine” his plan for withdrawing troops after meeting with military commanders in Iraq this summer. Later, he emphasized his commitment to removing combat troops within 16 months of his taking office.
His Republican rivals were unusually quiet on Friday, with neither the McCain campaign nor the Republican National Committee seeking to amplify their criticism of Mr. Obama’s views on Iraq. Yet it was a subject of conversation among some voters who came to see Mr. Obama at a parade in downtown Butte and at a picnic on the edge of town.
“I think he should be careful about what he says,” said Bob Evans, 67, a Butte native who now lives in Wisconsin.
Obama, Clinton will fundraise in NYC next week
Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton will collect cash together for his campaign and the Democratic National Committee in New York City next week.
Mr. Obama, who is in the midst of a spree of pricey fund-raisers across the country as he seeks to raise more than $200 million for the general election, will appear with Mrs. Clinton — once considered the top money collector in the Democratic Party before Mr. Obama shattered fund-raising records in their primary clash — on Wednesday and Thursday.
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