In an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America" Monday, Sen. Barack Obama sternly warned the collective news media to keep his wife out of their sights — or else.
"If wives are off limits in the politics theater, then are Democrats not guilty of the same sin by attacking Cindy McCain for not releasing her tax returns?" countered Jake Tapper of ABC News yesterday.
"It was just this month that the Democratic National Committee issued a press release saying that by 'failing to release Cindy McCain's returns, the McCain campaign is raising serious concerns about his own credibility, about how McCain's position as a U.S. Senator may have benefited John and Cindy McCain's business ventures, and about how McCain's political career has benefited from her personal wealth.' "
Look to June 3
Victory may not be imminent for Sen. Barack Obama , predicted Michael Barone of U.S. News & World Report.
"If I were the Obama campaign, and I had a passel of superdelegate votes putting me over the top that I wanted to announce, would I want to do it during the daytime of May 20? It hardly seems sporting to do that while Kentuckians and Oregonians are voting, and when no one can be sure exactly how many delegates Obama has won in those states," he wrote yesterday.
"Would I want to do it in the evening, when Kentucky has announced and Oregon hasn't? It seems kind of weird to announce victory after you've been shellacked in two primaries within a week. Would I want to wait till the Oregon count is in? At that point, virtually everyone in the Eastern and Central time zones will be in bed. Would I want to wait till the next day? Probably so. But you then let Hillary Clinton have an opportunity for a victory speech after the Kentucky results are in.
"And the Clinton campaign will claim, as it has been doing lately, that the number of delegates required for the nomination is not 2,025, but 2,209. Which is true if the Florida and Michigan delegations vote at the convention — which the rules committee won't begin deciding, at least publicly, until May 31. Which gives Clinton a warrant to go on campaigning — and to fight to seat Florida and Michigan — right up through June 3."
Keep in mind that just 28 American reporters covered the entire Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II, according to a 1944 column by revered war correspondent Ernie Pyle.
We are suffering from journalistic inflation six decades later.
Officials at both the Republican and Democratic national conventions expect 15,000 journalists — each — at their shindigs in St. Paul, Minn., and Denver, respectively, later this year. There is one difference, though. The GOP is twice as generous with their space for the roiling news media.
The Democrats have allocated 200,000 square feet to their press area. And their rivals?
"The convention staff is in the process of allocating more than 450,000 square feet of working space for the media," said spokesman Matt Burns, noting that press attendance will no doubt rival that at the Olympics.
"When SenatorJohn McCain takes to the podium in September to accept our party's nomination, the entire world will truly be watching," he added.
Friends of George
"It takes little courage — or brains — to join the mob vilifying President Bush. But the Democrats (and Republicans, too) depicting him as villain will one day regret it," noted an Investor's Business Daily editorial yesterday.
Mr. Bush has done right on several fronts, the magazine said.
"For the resilience of this economy, we can thank the president. He pushed substantial tax cuts on income and investment through Congress, which were followed by four years of growth, generating over 8 million jobs. The president also can be thanked for appointing Ben Bernanke, chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers, to succeed Alan Greenspan as Federal Reserve chief. Bernanke has moved on several fronts to keep the economy afloat — including creatively making more credit available to combat the subprime mortgage crisis.
"As for national security, Obama keeps saying the war in Iraq and the rest of the administration's foreign and defense policy have, as he put it last week in South Dakota, 'prevented us from making this country safe.' But the country is safer than anyone expected after 9/11.
"There has not been a single terrorist attack on the homeland, and we have instead foiled multiple terrorist plots to kill innocent Americans. America has succeeded in foiling these plots because Bush gave the National Security Agency the authority to monitor any and all communications of suspected terrorists, by telephone, e-mail or other means.
"The president also gave authorization for the CIA to employ tough interrogation methods on terrorists in custody, to the extent of transporting those detainees to secret locations abroad.
"This is the supposed albatross Republicans are so intent on distancing themselves from and which Democrats believe to be the key to victory in November. The facts of the last seven years tell a different story."
The challenge of family spats over politics is common enough to warrant an appearance in "Dear Prudence," a manners and morality advice column at Slate.com
"My family members are staunch Democrats and love to bad-mouth Republicans every time the conversation turns to politics. This is heartbreaking, because I myself am a secret Republican. My mom already knows that I'm in love with a Republican, and she won't stop condemning him behind his back for his beliefs, calling him names like 'right-wing whack job' and 'little lord Republiroy,' " wrote one teenager this week.
"Dear Republican," came the reply from columnist Emily Yoffe. "Start with your mother and tell her you thought one essential precept of the Democratic Party's principles is that all people deserve to be treated with respect, whatever their race, creed, or stature. Explain that if your family thinks its political views give them a claim to moral superiority, they undercut it every time one of them ridicules your boyfriend for his beliefs. Let her know her insults aren't changing your feelings for him — or your own beliefs — they're only causing a breach between the two of you."
• Contact Jennifer Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202/636-3085.