Iowa... Where Presidents Begin

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click on each candidate to see today's news stories (caricatures by Linda Eddy)

Monday, June 23, 2008




Karl Rove:

"Obama's the guy at the country club holding a martini making snide comments about everyone else"




Obama drops faux Great Seal

Last week, Barack Obama unveiled a new campaign seal -- and not the kind that swims, barks and balances balls on the end of its nose.

Rather, it was the kind that has a big old eagle on it and some Latin (Vero possumus, which translates very loosely to "Yes we can"). It's also a seal that combined elements of Richard Nixon's White House police uniforms and George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished."

And it went over about as well. Andrew Malcolm at the L.A. Times had some fun with it. And Mickey Kaus predicted it would be disappeared over the weekend. His exact words were: "But unless David Axelrod is insane, the thing will never be seen again." Kaus was right. While we don't have full details, someone at Obama's press center, when asked if the seal would be used going forward said simply, "No."



McCain, Obama trade policy attacks

Republican presidential candidate John McCain ventured to Canada to attack his Democratic opponent on trade, while Barack Obama dismissed McCain's push for U.S. offshore oil drilling as making "absolutely no sense."

The rivals were hammering at each other on economic issues that are key to American voters' ahead of the November election. McCain attacked Obama over his opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement while Obama jabbed at McCain's proposal to allow offshore oil drilling.


Obama's popularity growing among conservatives

They're called the Obamacons -- the conservative thinkers who are disgusted with the Republicans and are rallying to Democrat Barack Obama as the nation's economic and diplomatic savior.

They are joining younger evangelical leaders who see more to their religious mission than slavish devotion to Republican social mores, and fiscal conservatives who reject the war-fueled spending of President George W. Bush.

"The Bush coalition is dissolving," pollster John Zogby told AFP.


Biden: Obama's choice 'doesn't help' financing system

Democrat Barack Obama's decision to bypass taxpayer money for his presidential campaign endangers the public-financing system, Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, a Democrat and Obama supporter, said Sunday.

"In terms of undermining the public financing idea for everyone, it doesn't help," Biden said on NBC's Meet the Press. "It's going to be harder to make the case" for taxpayer funding.




Flip-flops are looking like a hot summer trend

This presidential election year may prove better than most at allowing a candidate to survive charges of flip-flopping. And Senators Barack Obama and John McCain seem to have set out to test their luck...


Unfit for Command, II? First Obama attack book in the works

The same publisher that distributed the 2004 best-seller that took aim at John Kerry’s Vietnam service is planning a summer release of what’s scheduled to be the first critical book on Barack Obama.

Conservative journalist David Freddoso’s “The Case Against Barack Obama” will offer “a comprehensive, factual look at Obama,” according to Regnery Publishing President and Publisher Marjory Ross.

But the book’s subtitle makes clear its perspective: “The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media’s Favorite Candidate.”

Ross contends that the mainstream media has offered insufficient scrutiny of Obama and likens the goal of Freddoso’s book to that of “Unfit for Command,” the scathing assessment of Kerry’s war record that rocketed to number one on the New York Times best-seller list.


Tom Brokaw will host 'Meet The Press'

NBC moved quickly to stanch speculation about who would succeed Tim Russert as moderator of “Meet the Press,” announcing Sunday that Tom Brokaw, former anchor of “NBC Nightly News,” would fill the role for the rest of this election year.

“I volunteered,” Mr. Brokaw said in a telephone interview from his ranch in Montana. “A number of people had suggested it. Steve Capus and I talked about it over the weekend. I looked at my calendar and manipulated a couple of personal things, and I told him I can get us through the election.”

Mr. Capus, president of NBC News, said in a telephone interview, “When Tom proposed this idea, we jumped at it,” adding: “It was a huge relief. It offers us some time.”







John McCain... today's headlines with excerpts

McCain disavows aide's comment about terrorist attack

John McCain distanced himself Monday from a top adviser who said another terrorist attack on U.S. soil this election year would benefit the Republican presidential candidate. Barack Obama's campaign called the comment a "complete disgrace."

Charlie Black, an adviser already in the spotlight for his past lobbying work, is quoted in the upcoming July 7 edition of Fortune magazine as saying such an attack "certainly would be a big advantage to him." Black said Monday he regretted the comment...

McCain offers $300 million for new auto battery

Sen. John McCain hopes to solve the country's energy crisis with cold hard cash.

The Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting thinks the government should offer a $300 million prize to the person who can develop an automobile battery that leapfrogs existing technology.

The prize would equate to $1 for every man, woman and child in the country...

Can McCain claim the Ron Paul votes?

It’s a support base that could make the difference in a close election, and while there’s no guarantee that his supporters will turn out at the polls for GOP standard-bearer John McCain, one thing seems clear: Despite their overlapping anti-Iraq war positions, Barack Obama will not make major inroads among them.

... “A lot of [Paul supporters] are in a quandary over McCain,” said Jean McIver, Paul’s Texas coordinator. “Some will vote for McCain because they don’t want Obama to win.”

... The McCain campaign says they will reach out to Paul’s voters on a personal level and that they will win them over. “Unlike Barack Obama, John McCain does not believe that government is the answer to every problem,” said McCain spokesman Joe Pounder. “At the end of the day, Ron Paul supporters will find that their positions align more often with John McCain.”

see also:

GOP worried about Bob Barr

McCain hampered by missteps

Sen. John McCain is hampered by missteps and self-generated controversy in the early days of the general election campaign for the White House.

Take his most recent trip through several states and the Canadian capital, a five-day span during which he courted conservatives and independents alike, raised more than $10 million and began detailing his considerable differences with Sen. Barack Obama on energy policy.

Still, on Tuesday, he criticized his rival for proposing a windfall profits tax on the oil industry. The attack was complicated by McCain's earlier statement that he would consider the same thing.

The following day, he met with a group of Hispanics in Chicago. Aides who had kept word of the event secret were placed on the defensive within hours after one participant criticized some of McCain's comments.

On Thursday, the Arizona senator flew to Iowa, a likely battleground state in the fall, where he expressed sympathy with victims of severe flooding and pledged support for federal recovery aid. The event was overshadowed by President Bush's appearance elsewhere in the same state on the same day.

Friday's trip to Canada brought more controversy.

McCain arrived aboard his chartered campaign jet, yet told reporters at a news conference, "this is not a political campaign trip." The senator added he didn't feel it was appropriate to have the government to pay "while I am the nominee of my party."...

Newsweek's Cindy McCain story

Cindy McCain talks about long-distance marriage, dirty politics and calls from her son in Iraq...

... Despite decades alongside one of the country's most visible politicians, the new NEWSWEEK Poll shows that 48 percent of registered voters still don't know enough to have an opinion about her. Many know her only as the blonde standing alongside her gregarious husband, lips fixed in a practiced smile, ice-blue eyes serene and adoring, but inscrutable.

Recently, Cindy has set out to show the country that she is no vacant "Stepford wife." She has started doing more press interviews and can be surprisingly candid about her personal life and her feelings. Still, she clearly finds the confessional mode of American politics distasteful, and does not feel the need to overshare. "It's more about … feeling comfortable … and not feeling compelled to do things that I wouldn't normally do," she says.

see also:

Cindy McCain visits Vietnam




Barack Obama... today's headlines with excerpts

Obama criticizes McCain for opposing flood spending

The flood-ravaged communities of the Midwest became a new battleground in the presidential election as Democrat Barack Obama criticized Republican John McCain for opposing federal spending on flood prevention programs, attacks McCain's campaign called typical partisan politics.

... Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, criticized McCain for opposing a measure to spend $23 billion on water projects. It passed Congress overwhelmingly and was vetoed by President George W. Bush because he said it spent too much on lawmaker's pet projects. Congress voted to override the veto, for the first time in Bush's presidency.

Obama moves to reintroduce himself to voters

Jim Margolis, Obama's media adviser, said that, despite the long primary season, Obama still is not well known to voters in many parts of the country. "They don't know the full story," he said. "They don't have a complete sense of what motivates him, what are the biographical points of his life that have made him the person that he is today and what he wants to do as president."

Margolis said the campaign is primarily working to fill an information vacuum, but he acknowledged that combating rumors that could endanger Obama's candidacy is also part of the motivation behind the opening ad...

National push by Obama on ads and turnout

Senator Barack Obama is drawing up plans for extensive advertising and voter-turnout drives across the nation, hoping to capitalize on his expected fund-raising advantage over Senator John McCain to force Republicans to compete in states they have not had to defend in decades.

... Mr. Obama has added several seasoned hands to his advertising team, a harbinger of a multifaceted television campaign that people inside and outside Obama headquarters said would grow well beyond its already large presence in 18 states.

Future commercials could run on big national showcases like the Olympics in August and smaller cable networks like MTV and Black Entertainment Television that appeal to specific demographic and interest groups.

He is also dispatching paid staff members to all states, an unusual move by the standards of modern presidential campaigns where the fight is often contained to contested territories.

To ease gas prices, Obama urges more regulation of speculators

Mr. Obama proposed closing the so-called Enron loophole, a legal provision requested by that company in 2000 that exempts crucial energy commodities from government oversight. He also proposed preventing traders of American crude oil from routing transactions through offshore markets to evade American limits and working with other countries to better regulate oil-futures markets, and he called on the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to investigate market manipulation and oil futures.

“My plan fully closes the Enron loophole and restores common-sense regulation,” the senator said in a campaign statement.

Obama camp closely linked with ethanol

Ethanol is one area in which Mr. Obama strongly disagrees with his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain of Arizona. While both presidential candidates emphasize the need for the United States to achieve “energy security” while also slowing down the carbon emissions that are believed to contribute to global warming, they offer sharply different visions of the role that ethanol, which can be made from a variety of organic materials, should play in those efforts.

... Ethanol industry executives and advocates have not made large donations to either candidate for president, an examination of campaign contribution records shows. But they have noted the difference between Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain.




Obama urges mayors to focus on urban growth, but not to expect increased Federal aid

Senator Barack Obama told the nation’s mayors on Saturday that current urban policy was obsolete and needed to be replaced by a model that focused on rational metropolitan growth rather than chiefly on inner-city crime and poverty.

Drawing on his years as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago, Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, said that while he intended to be a supportive partner if he won the White House, the mayors should not count on significant additional help from Washington. Change, he said, comes from the bottom up, not the top down...

Michelle builds bridges to Hillaryland

Michelle Obama climbed into her charter jet Friday and flew here from Chicago for lunch and a speech -- I clocked it at seven minutes -- before an influential women's group whose board includes key supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Obama's brief appearance before the National Partnership for Women & Families -- she turned around and flew right back home when she was done -- shows how Obama is shaping her role as a potential first lady and how the Obama campaign is working hard to build bridges to the women who supported Clinton over presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama...


MoveOn demands an Obama filibuster

Insisting on a campaign promise that Obama would filibuster any wiretapping bill that included retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that let the government listen in, Obama's allies at MoveOn are asking supporters to "call Sen. Obama today and tell him you're counting on him to keep his word."

Obama won't pick new church for now

Sen. Barack Obama is taking a break from church until after the presidential election.

Campaign staffers told the New York Post that Obama will visit different houses of worship while he campaigns, ending 20 years of attending regular Sunday services. After the election, he will decide on a more permanent church for himself and his family.








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