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By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
Topic - Charles Black
Any kid who ever tap-danced at a talent show or put on a curly wig and auditioned for "Annie" can only dream of being as beloved - or as important - as Shirley Temple.
Finger waggling and earnest talk: It's time for Republican soul-searching and a GOP gut check, say observers who found little nobility in the extended effort by some conservative Republican lawmakers to defund the Affordable Care Act at all costs. There's a price to pay, warns Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, and it starts in 2014.
The Republican National Committee's new special panel to study where the party went wrong in this year's election is already taking heat from leaders who say the RNC's first priority should be addressing its own ineptitude and cronyism and reining in the rampant profiteering of consultants.
In the days since Republicans lost an election many in the party thought was theirs, chatter has been bubbling about what the party should do to recover.
As the Republican Party hurtles toward a possible Animal House-like climax at their confab in Tampa Bay in late August, the national discussion has turned to controversial GOP conventions of the past, most missing the meaning of each and how these ideological food fights sometimes changed the face and future of the party.
Sen. John McCain tweaked his campaign Wednesday by elevating aide Steve Schmidt to oversee day-to-day operations, in a move to give his presidential bid the stability and direction that many in his party feared were lacking.
As Americans kick off Memorial Day weekend, Sen. John McCain today will release 400 pages of his medical records to a handpicked group of reporters who can neither walk out with the documents nor photocopy them, illustrating the campaign's sensitivity about the 71-year-old candidate's age and health.
That was Jordanian Ambassador Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein and his Texas-born wife Princess Sarah Zeid hosting a Washington observance for Jordan's 62nd Independence Day at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel yesterday.
As Americans kick off the first holiday weekend of the summer Friday, Sen. John McCain will release 400 pages of his medical records to a handpicked group of reporters who can neither photocopy nor keep the documents, illustrating the sensitivity the campaign places on the 71-year-old candidate's age and health. For more than a year, the four-term senator has repeatedly promised to release his recent medical records, but has not yet done so. The McCain campaign has selected a handful of news organizations to review the records today in a conference room at the Copper Wynd Resort in Fountain Hills, Ariz., near the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. Reporters from all five major news networks CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN and Fox will be allowed to take notes from the records, as will wire reporters from the Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg news agencies. Just two print newspapers will be among the pool: The Washington Post and the Arizona Republic. McCain campaign officials said yesterday that the high level of interest in the records meant they had to limit access by reporters. "We had to do it at the Mayo Clinic and the doctors there probably didn't want 200 reporters running around," said senior McCain adviser Charlie Black. "It's not a perfect situation, but its the best available." No independent doctors will be allowed to examine the records, although McCain officials said Thursday that most networks are flying in their medical correspondents, some of whom are doctors. The records dump comes as Americans head in to a three-day weekend, and just days after Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was diagnosed with a grave form of brain cancer. But Mr. Black said the campaign's communications director and others have been working on the release "for weeks," and is not timed to reduce the impact of whatever the records contain. Mr. McCain, for his part, said reporters will be underwhelmed by the medical findings. "There are going to be no surprises, he told reporters last Friday aboard his campaign bus on a trip to West Virginia. His doctors "have told me that everythings fine," he said. The medical records released Friday will cover the years 2000 to 2008. In 1999, during his first campaign for president, the senator released 1,500 pages of in-depth medical and psychiatric records, some collected during a a Navy project to gauge the health of former prisoners of war. Mr. McCain spent more than five years in a Vietnam prison camp and suffers long-term effects from his incarceration: He cannot lift his arms over his above shoulder height and underwent months of rehabilitation to renew flexibility in his legs. The Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, one of the best medical facilities in the country, was the site where Mr. McCain underwent nearly six hours after he was diagnosed with Stage 2A melanoma, a form of cancer that kills a third of sufferers within 10 years. Doctors incised a dime-sized discolored blotch from his left temple, but also made an incision down his left cheek to remove lymph nodes in his neck, even though they later found the cancer had not spread there. Mr. McCain left cheek is still puffy and laced with the large scar he likes to joke on the campaign trail that "I'm older than dirt and I've got more scars than Frankenstein." Still, the candidate's age at 72, he would be the oldest president ever to take office and especially his health threaten to become campaign issues. At just 46, Sen. Barack Obama, Mr. McCain's likely opponent, is young enough to be his son, and he has highlighted his health by doffing his shirt at the beach and sprinting up and down the basketball court, all, of course, in front of news cameras. The Obama campaign insists it will not make age an issue in the campaign, and in some ways the one-term senator faces the same danger Walter Mondale did when he sought to portray President Reagan as too old for the demanding job of president. In a memorable debate line, Mr. Reagan, 73, said of the 56-year-old Democrat: "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience." On the campaign trail, Mr. McCain is a dynamo, often tiring out reporters half his age from his dawn-to-well-past-dusk schedule. Whenever age comes up during a town hall meeting with voters, he points to his 96-year-old mother, Roberta as proof that he comes from hearty genetic stock. "If there's any question about any age problem we might have in this campaign, there's my genes," Mr McCain said at a campaign stop in Iowa in January. "Last Christmas, she went to France. She landed in Paris and wanted to rent a car. They told her she was too old so she bought one. Way to go, Mom!"
The results from a poll conducted last month by the New York Times so surprised top editors that they ordered a new survey, but the results were the same the second time around: More Americans now think that President Bush was right to send troops into Iraq.
President Bush has invested the bulk of his dwindling political capital to push through an unpopular immigration-reform bill, which is being seen as a last-ditch effort during his remaining 19 months in office to leave behind a domestic achievement.
Charlie Black, a top campaign adviser, said Mr. Schmidt will function "basically as the chief operating officer under Rick and will do more day-to-day management."
Although more second-tier staff will be hired, Mr. Black said, "no one at the senior level would be coming into or leaving the McCain campaign."