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EARLYBIRD

Campaign News

McCain uses Georgia-Russia conflict to tout foreign policy credentials and Leach & Chafee seek to unify Obamacans. Plus: Dems try to woo pro-lifers.

• "If John McCain's campaign operatives were looking for strategic advice for the fall campaign against Barack Obama, they could click on the Atlantic Monthly's Web site," the Washington Post reports. "There they would find a raft of memos from Mark J. Penn, Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief strategist, outlining possible ways to try to defeat the presumptive Democratic nominee."

• The Politico reports that "for all the breathless analysis and number-crunching that has convinced observers Obama is en route to an epic victory, there is one key historic fact that is often overlooked--most popular vote landslides were clearly visible by the end of summer. And by that indicator, 2008 doesn't measure up."

 

• McCain "quickly took a hardline stand against Russia after it sent troops and tanks into the former Soviet state of Georgia." Obama's "initial condemnation of Russia was tempered by a call for diplomacy and restraint on all sides. The crisis offers opportunities and risks for both presidential candidates and their reactions could provide a window on the next commander-in-chief," AP reports.

• "Millions of TV viewers are seeing negative political ads during the Olympics, a gamble by" McCain "that the sheer size of the audience outweighs any potential backlash against sharp rhetoric during a feel-good event," USA Today reports. Obama, "the target of the two McCain ads running with the Olympics, is taking a different tack. His Olympics offering is a gauzy spot about new types of energy jobs."

• For more on political advertising, see NationalJournal.com's Ad Spotlight blog.

 

• "When" McCain and Obama "appear on the same stage Saturday at the sprawling religious campus of Orange County's Saddleback Church, their presence will vividly underline the reach that has made Pastor Rick Warren among the most significant evangelists of his generation," the Los Angeles Times reports. "But the joint appearance -- one of Warren's highest-profile endeavors -- will also underscore a tension that is central to his role."

• "Ohio has created a window in the election calendar that would allow residents instant gratification -- register one minute, vote the next," AP reports. "The move will benefit Obama, who enjoys a 2-to-1 lead over McCain among 18- to 34-year-olds, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released last month."

• The Politico looks at the most influential of the infamous political boogeymen who have bedeviled American campaigns in recent history, from Willie Horton to Jack Abramoff.

Dems 2008: Warner Slated to Deliver Keynote Address At Convention

• "Hawaiian vacations aren't usually money makers, but" Obama's "has been, as his home state supporters contributed $1.3 million to his campaign at a sold-out fundraiser Tuesday," AP reports. "Obama interrupted his weeklong family getaway for the event at the Kahala Hotel & Resort, where 500 people donated at least $2,300 apiece to his presidential campaign to hear him speak."

 

• "Senate candidate and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner is scheduled to deliver the Tuesday night keynote address at this year's Democratic National Convention -- the same role that launched" Obama "to national prominence four years ago," AP reports.

• "Talk of Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel as a potential running mate for" Obama "tends to confound partisans in both parties," AP reports. "The American Conservative Union, which examines voting records on everything from abortion to national security, pegs the Nebraska Republican as a conservative."

• "The careful negotiations between" Obama's "campaign and his one-time rival about her role at the Democratic National Convention are winding to a close, while" Clinton's "supporters demand she be formally recognized," the Washington Times reports. "What is yet to be determined is whether her name will be placed into a roll call vote, and whether she will accept the symbolic gesture."

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• "A trio of Republicans have defected from their party's likely presidential nominee and kicked off an effort to garner support for" Obama, the Wall Street Journal reports. "The group, called Republicans for Obama, is led by two moderate Republicans -- James Leach, a former U.S. representative from Iowa, and Lincoln Chafee, a former U.S. senator from Rhode Island -- along with Rita Hauser, a prominent fund-raiser for" President Bush.

• "Democrats aiming to woo pro-life voters have added new language to the party platform calling for taxpayer-funded efforts to reduce the number of abortions," the Washington Times reports. "The platform language calls for more government programs, income assistance and adoption services to aid a woman's decision to have a child."

• "Few hunters are pining for a day in the woods with" Obama "but a surprising number of sportsmen say they'll vote for him -- far more than backed Al Gore or pheasant-hunting John Kerry," the Politico reports. "According to a Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation poll to be released" today, McCain "leads Obama by 45 to 31 percent."

• The New York Times reports that Jerome Corsi, the author of a 2004 book, "Unfit for Command," that attacked Kerry's war record, hopes that his new book, "The Obama Nation," will have the same effect on this year's Democratic nominee.

John Edwards' "infidelity to his cancer-stricken wife and the lies leading up to his confession have sent him into the political wilderness, delaying, if not destroying, any chance of regaining a place on the political stage," AP reports.

GOP 2008: McCain Revives 'Bitter' Talk In Pennsylvania

• The Washington Post looks at McCain's efforts to display his foreign policy expertise during the crisis in Georgia. "For McCain's team, it has become the latest incarnation of what" Clinton "once called the '3 a.m. moment,' an opportunity to showcase for voters his longstanding skepticism about Russian leader Vladimir Putin while emphasizing" Obama's "lack of experience dealing with foreign affairs."

• "While virtually every other world leader called for calm in Georgia last Thursday morning," McCain "did something he's done many times over his career in public life: He condemned Russia," the Politico reports. "McCain's confrontational stance on the Caucasus crisis stems from a long, personal skepticism of Russian intentions, one that dates back to the Cold War and which eased only briefly in the early 1990s."

• McCain "said Tuesday he would support Georgia's bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) if he is elected president in November," Agence-France Presse reports. "Georgia's bid to join NATO has divided the alliance."

• As McCain's "top foreign policy adviser prepped his boss for an April 17 phone call with the president of Georgia... a lobbying firm partly owned by the adviser, Randy Scheunemann, signed a $200,000 contract to continue providing strategic advice to the Georgian government in Washington," the Washington Post reports. "Ethics experts have raised concerns about former lobbyists for foreign governments providing advice to presidential candidates about those same countries."

• McCain "reminded Pennsylvanians Tuesday that" Obama "said the state's small-town voters 'cling to guns and religion' because they are 'bitter,' a gaffe that possibly contributed to Mr. Obama's loss in the state primary and might haunt his general election campaign in this battleground," the Washington Times reports.

• "Advocates for greater federal funding of embryonic stem cell research are worried that" McCain "will do an about-face on the controversial issue if he wins the presidency," The Hill reports. "McCain's presidential campaign has sought to win over religious conservatives and other factions, including activists who oppose abortion rights and stem cell research."

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