The Washington Times - July 28, 2008, 03:04PM

Team Obama today sent out another fundraising email for people to donate to win a backstage pass to his convention acceptance speech next month, but the candidate’s pitch wrongly claims it would be his “biggest public event.”



The email to supporters comes with a video from Sen. Barack Obama — back home after his trip abroad — outlining the contest.


He says on the final day of the convention he’ll formally accept the nomination and “I want as many people as possible to be a part of it.”


“So that day we’re moving the entire convention out of an arena and into a stadium that will accommodate more than 75,000,” he said. “It will be the biggest public event of this election so far.”


Well, not quite. I guess he shot the video before he drew more than 200,000 to Berlin.


Here’s video:




Speaking of Obamania overseas, lots of folks have been weighing in on the band Reamonn that opened up for Obama in Berlin, suggesting he only drew that crowd because he offered free music. I’ve also gotten notes that accuse the campaign of giving Germans free brats and beer to boost their numbers, but sadly, that was not true.


The concert-as-hook for political speech is a dubious claim for several reasons. The configuration of the Victory Column area did not allow people to just wander up. Attending the speech was to make a several-hour commitment on a work day and to endure intense security screening. Not to mention standing in the sun for hours with no room to sit or set up lawn chairs. It also meant you had to stay for a 25-minute political speech, in English.


There was genuine excitement for the speech, simple as that. The band made for nice background music while people waited, but certainly wasn’t the draw. The campaign didn’t even advertise that a band would be there.


Despite McCain going after Obama for scrapping a visit with troops, the trip arguably went off without a hitch.


I got lots of hate mail for pointing that out in this story on Sunday’s front page:


LONDON - David Axelrod could not have scripted a better week for his candidate.

Sen. Barack Obama was pressured by his Republican rival to visit two war zones, and he traveled to eight countries amid fears he would make some crippling foreign-policy gaffe.

Instead, European leaders fawned over the Democratic presidential candidate, who was greeted by excited fans everywhere and attracted record crowds in Berlin. He got an added boost from key Iraqi officials and even his opponent as they embraced a timetable for troop withdrawal.

There were few errors or dust-ups over the nine-day trip as Sen. John McCain and Republican operatives back home hammered Mr. Obama for seeming to take a “premature victory lap.”

“It is hard for me to understand Senator McCain’s argument. He was telling me I was supposed to take this trip,” Mr. Obama told reporters during a press conference Saturday in front of 10 Downing Street after a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.


Read the full story here.


We’re less than 100 days from the election, and about to enter the slow days of summer. Both McCain and Obama will have named their vice presidential picks by the end of August.


In this interesting Q&A McClatchy’s Margaret Talev did with Obama on the long plane ride home, she tries to get him to bite on VP timing, but no luck.


Finally, for all the buzz about the new search engine Cuil, I’m not a fan. It looks good because it’s graphics heavy, but the results for my name, for example, brought up really old articles and nothing from 2008.


Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter,
The Washington Times

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