You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

Inside Politics Weekend

- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 15, 2008

Outbursts and all, Sen. James Webb of Virginia is rumored to be on the short list as Sen. Barack Obama's potential running mate.

"Is Jim Webb a vessel for the kind of righteous indignation the Democrats need - or is he just too angry to be vice president?" asksEve Fairbanks of the New Republic.

"In the end, if Obama picks Webb to be his running mate, it will probably be more on the basis of their affinity than on Webb's power to win white votes - or Webb's capacity to balance Obama's laid-back vibe with some pugnaciousness. It will be a unity-loving, proud-to-be-black man acknowledging just how much he has in common with an anger-loving, proud-to-be-white one."

Days of yore

July 15, 1992: Today marks the 16th anniversary of Dan Quayle's infamous "potatoe" mash-up moment. Then vice president, Mr. Quayle misspelled "potato" during a spelling bee at a New Jersey elementary school and never quite lived it down.

"It was a defining moment of the worst kind imaginable," he wrote in his autobiography. "Politicians live and die by the symbolic sound bite. ... The media's obsession with my small verbal blunders went beyond the bounds of fairness."

Life got a little complicated for William Figueroa, the sixth-grader who spelled the word correctly, then went on to appear on late-night TV and lead the pledge of allegiance at the Democratic National Convention later that year.

By 1997, Mr. Figueroa was "a 17-year-old high school dropout who had fathered a child and was working a low-paying job at an auto showroom," according to an update from the Trentonian.

One more thing. Mr. Quayle may have had spelling issues - but Sen. Barack Obama has number challenges. Lest we forget, the presidential hopeful solemnly informed a recent audience that he had paid a visit to all "57 states."

By the numbers

756,281: Number of mentions Sen. Barack Obama received in the mainstream press since Feb. 5

476,885: Number of mentions Sen. John McCain received.

268,916: Number of mentions Mr. Obama received on blogs and other "social media" since Feb. 5.

160,410: Number of mentions Mr. McCain received.

The data is from Dow Jones Insight, an election blog that examined press activity between Feb. 5 and June 6. The analysis aptly illustrates the frantic news media landscape:

"Methodology: Mainstream press sources included 1,933,870 total mentions in 1,296,597 unique documents identified from more than 6,000 newspapers, wires, magazines, radio and TV transcripts and more than 13,000 current-awareness news Web sites. Social media sources included 635,131 total mentions in 418,234 unique documents found on 2 million of the most influential blogs and more than 6,000 message boards."

Need to be mindful

The Los Angeles Times suggests that conservatives are really a bunch of misogynists.

"They loved to hate Hillary Rodham Clinton. They loved to hate Teresa Heinz Kerry. And now, it appears, conservative voices are energetically taking on Michelle Obama. 'Mrs. Grievance' bellowed the cover of a recent National Review, which featured a photo of a fierce-looking Obama. The magazine's online edition titled an essay about her stump speech 'America's Unhappiest Millionaire,'" the paper says.

"In a Washington studio, a conservative outfit called Citizens United is scrambling to finish a 90-minute anti-Obama documentary. According to the group's president, David Bossie, it will probably include the Michelle Obama 'proud of my country' clip.

"Bossie, a longtime Republican operative, bridled at the charge that singling her out is uncivil. 'Nobody's picking on her; nobody's being unfair to her,' he said. 'She needs to be mindful that those types of statements will be used against her husband.'"

Quote-a-rama

"Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us." - columnist Mark Morford in the San Francisco Chronicle

"There is no list." - Clinton spokesman Phillipe Reines to the New York Times on whether Sen. Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton track their enemies

"What if they threw an impeachment and nobody came?" - writer Choire Sicha in Radar Magazine

Today's talking points

It's a gas: Politicians pontificate about the pump.

McCain vs. Obama: Let the mudslinging begin.

Brace for impact: Vice-presidential hopefuls get media scrutiny.

Spousal abuse: Candidate wives influence the campaign.

Command performance: Scott McClellan goes before Congress, maybe peddles book.

•Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.