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John McCain, in his own way, hitched a ride with Barack Obama

As Barack Obama prepared to embark on his now-completed trek to Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Jordan and three European locales, word from the John McCain camp was that he would use his time alone on the home front to spotlight the issue polls show Americans care most about, by far: the dicey economy.Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain presses the flesh during a recent campaign stop in Pennsylvania

Once Obama's journey was underway, however, McCain and his aides quickly began a running -- and aggressively negative  -- critique of it, as well as what they asserted was rose-colored coverage by the media corps that was along for the ride.

McCain, early in the week, was particularly eager to draw Obama into a debate over the U.S. troop surge in Iraq -- scoffing that his rival was politically craven for refusing to acknowledge the strategy's success.

And by the end of the week, it was clear that rather than try to change the subject to the economy, McCain and his aides had decided their best campaign counter-punching tactic was to treat his rival's trip as a foil.

Our friend Jim Tankersley reflects on this at The Swamp in an item that, in its headline, poses the question: "Obama attention good for McCain."

Jim notes that McCain today, in his new weekly radio speeches, abandoned any pretense of pretending that Obama's travels and his tete-a-tetes with various heads of state had not dominated the news. The Arizona Republican cut to the chase without delay:

Good morning. I'm John McCain, and this week the presidential contest was a long-distance affair, with my opponent touring various continents and arriving yesterday in Paris.

With all the breathless coverage from abroad, and with Sen. Obama now addressing his speeches to 'the people of the world,' I'm starting to feel a little left out. Maybe you are too.

The thinly veiled sarcasm, of course, was intentional. But what about the specific reference to Paris? Perhaps McCain believes that Francophobia remains alive and well in this country, despite the demise of "freedom fries" on Capitol Hill.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: Bloomberg News

Comments () | Archives (19)

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More dirty politics by the repubs., Its quite shameful how they turned on obama after he went on the trip they said he should go on. I have to respect McCain anytime he praises vets, Its the courting of illeagals that burns me up, Has anyone seen this video of McCain falling? I was thinking if McCain takes many more falls he might break his hip. Though It wouldnt slow him down much though because he doesnt do much on the campaign trail as it is. If you want to see the video I think It was at Its not on the home page, but on one of the links there. I thinks its the clip lkni. Hmm. Im not warming to either candidate yet. Meanwhile obama is celebrating his win on a european trip, . I saw the vidoe of Obama smoking a cigar on his europe trip, News hasnt showed it though. I guess its a victory cigar. LOL, IF you want to see the video its at not realated but I dont want to be bias So if anyone wants to see the video of McCain falling? Its so grainy. I havnt heard anything on the news so IM figuring it must be old or something.

The differences in the two campaigns was never more evident than this past week. Obama's team put together a tour de force on stagecraft and preparation. David Axelrod seemed to use each stop to highlight a specific difference between the two men in a way that enhanced Obama's image. While McCain rode in a golf cart with the elder Bush, Obama drained a three point shot. While McCain spoke in front of the cheese section of the dairy case, Obama spoke in front of 200,000 cheering people. The list goes on. In the sales and marketing portion of this campaign, McCain needs a new ad agency.

I thought this was an American presidential election. Does Germany and France have electorates I don't know about?
It seems that this country is in a terrible political cycle. We have President Bush after President Bush. And even though the democratic candidate with the Clinton last name didn't win, the next president will undoubtedly be a charlatan. The republicans suffer from Bob Dole syndrome and I get cheated out of a 'respectable' presidential candidate .

Yes the Manchurian Candidate and his 3 Press secretaries, I mean Network Anchors foreign love fest and photo opportunity concert made for great snip-its. Kind of like Obama's experience. A snip-it of experience. The man who would not take money is spending Rock Star money during the Olympics (more than many fortune 500 companies) spending his snip-it and photo Op message of change at any cost. When we all wake up in January and the Manchurian Candidate is President, you can only blame yourselves. While the Democrats are in a feeding frenzy here in the U.S., the rest of Europe moves in a Conservative direction. Once again, America out of step with the rest of the World. Oh wait, the Manchurian Candidate just got back from his World tour and the 200,000 Germans who make talentless techno singers number one on their charts, long for the JFK days. At least that is what the Manchurian Candidates 3 Press Secretaries from CBS, NBC, and ABC said, hahaha. Congrats LA Times. Maybe like Sister NY Times you too will be out of step with the majority of the populous and be scrambling for your financial security very soon .... blog it ... Manchurian Candidate lovers!!!!!

Does Germany and France have electorates I dont know about? From the low amount intregrity and fresh thinking on television these days I though that this was an American presidential election.
It seems to me that this country is in a terrible political cycle. We have President Bush after President Bush. And even though the one with the Clinton last name lost the nomination we will still, undoubtedly, have a charlatan in office come November. Thusly, the Republican suffer from Bob Dole syndrome, and I am cheated out of having a 'decent' candidate for president.
Let me just mark 'lesser of two evils' down in my journal for when my children look back and wonder why.

Hey, Mikey, he doesn't like it! Thinly veiled Rethuglican Mikey (above) probably didn't have any complaints when J McSame was touring Columbia. I forget, did McSame stop by his birthplace, Panama?

Anyone running for president is going to have to prove they can go around the world without starting riots or shoulder massages. That doesn't mean that Obama is going to be a "charlatan." It just means that Mikey needs to learn to express his conservative angst in a new paradigm, where Rush Limbaugh and former college Republican chair Jack Abramhoff have a lot less to say about who the decider is.

Sorry, Mikey. That's life.

Oh, how this liar Obama has you in the media fooled. He already believes he's President of the U.S.A. A fact, his campaign people are already planning the Obamas' move into the White House; Obama has a 'presidential seal'; he said of his visits with the heads of state re his foreign trip that he would "be dealing with these people for the next 8 to 10 years". So now he believes he'll be reelected, but that would be 8 years, what's the extra 2 yrs. for? He's the most arrogant, egotistical pompous selfserving individual to have ever run for the office of president of the U.S. He believes he knows more than our generals or Chief of Staff about the military. What a fake. Reminds me of someone else in history who used to be a great speaker who fooled and left them spell bound. Obama and his wife would probably love it in Germany so why don't they move there and eliminate a potential president who would be a disaster.

All week long Obama looked presidential and failed to fall into the trap McCain set for him when McCain taunted him for his foreign inexperience. Obama is ready for the big league. McCain on the other hand sounded small-minded and reactionary and very un-presidential.

As in the classic story 'The Emperor's New Clothes', I hope that people will open their eyes and admit the Truth: that His Royal Highness Obama is indeed naked...and, that he speaks beautifully about.....nada.

While I'm not particularly fond of McCain as a candidate, I am constantly amazed and dismayed at the kind of treatments he gets in the press. It seems I can hardly pick an article of any kind in mainstream media that doesn't put some negative or derisive spin on him as a candidate.

But then, what should I expect from a blogger? If it's coming from a large organization such as this, I expect a whole lot more. Too bad so many outlets have taken the road of providing opinion thinly veiled as news, rather than just letting readers decide for themselves, or, better, just keeping opinions on the Op-Ed pages.


Why can't Republicans talk like they are intelligent. They make vulgar comments about anyone who disagrees with them. Hate must be one of their strategies.

Now that John McCain's economic expert is banished, does that mean that there is no there there?
Or is Gramm merely working it behind the scenes?

McCain never actually denounced any of Gramm's anti-human positions, just demoted him from front man.

Do you know why Wall street prefers McCain? Because NOTHING will change.

The dollar is going down the rat hole, but the rich wont pay any taxes, and the middle class will bear the costs of John's rise to power.

My how the Mighty have fallen - John McCain and his legions of sour-graped conservative mall walkers crying now about media bias. Amazing really, given that his daily gaffes, and i do mean DAILY, get less attention (sadly) from this biased media than the corruption that has become the true legacy of the Bush Administration. Putin the President of Germany? Czechoslovakia the nation? Suni vs Shia? When DID that surge begin anyway...and where DID the bulk of our troops go? (baghdad, not aanbar) Oh and lets not forget the wife beating and rape jokes of a mid-eighties Senate get the idea. McCain should thank the stars above that this biased media he now whines about displays a memory about as good as his regarding these comments. More to the point, he should spend less time whimpering about Obama's "presidential appeal" and start acting like a presidential candidate himself, lest yet another clear gaffe of his -- the one about him pledging to run a clean and respectful campaign that the american people would be proud of-- get whispered like Leiberman into the ears of the voting public by this criminal biased media.

First McCain chides Obama for not having enough foreign policy experience. When Obama shows his worth as a world figure that can inspire not just our country but also the standing leaders to cooperate against common threats, McCain calls it a political stunt.

Its called taking out the both sides of your mouth and it shows not only that McCain will do anything to win, he will destroy the integrity he once had to do it. McCain has spoken with a forked tongue, and cannot demonstrate the class or leadership qualities Obama has.

He is narrow minded and his views of this world are sorely misguided. He has no concept of where this world is heading or the efforts that are going to be need to get us there.

He would be a poor president.

It is very easy to see that there is so much bias towards Obama's trip overseas. I think it is good to show that at least here someone not only intelligent and thoughtful, but also he can work with the world body if elected. I am not sure how his trip becomes such a negative point. Obama is very intelligent and thoughtful. Most of the candidates I have seen are either utterly stupid or are scripted, but wrong headed to even sell their story. Here we have for the first time in US history we have someone running for office with an IQ of God knows and with so much decency and humbleness and proud American, and some people have nothing to say but feed so much negative and personal attack. I think racism and prejudice ideology are well and alive and this stage seems to me an outlet for those people. I don't know about you folks, I listened Oriley and Rush L. a few times, but they remind me of bigotry and ignorance. Well, so much for intelligence and thoughtfulness. What is amazing is even Germany has changed so much from Hitler's time!

Does this country, really, want to be represented on world-stage by another self-absorbed, submediocre and dishonest person? Mr. Mc Cain has gotten on a slippery slope when in front of the cameras shows (or want to show) the piousness of a soft-spoken Pope while in reality, he is just a ruthless careerist. He is not a leader, he is a person to whom nothing is sacred as to his personal goals are concerned. He needed an Admiral grandfather and an Admiral father to get into the Naval Academy, and finish near the bottom of his class. He does certainly deserve our respect for his military service, and sufferings as a POW. While at least the same respect is due to ALL, THE MANY THOUSANDS OF OTHER, AMERICANS WHO HAD GONE THROUGH THE SAME HARDSHIPS, yet they do not use it as a vehicle to get unfair advantage throughout their life. Mr. McCain marriages decorated with infidelities "that are just youthful indiscretions"; his associations with corrupt businessmen, lobbyists, etc. are not only "bad judgments"; his flip-flop-flips are not just miunderstandings, his hugging G.W. Bush, and Judas' kiss by Bush are not innocent accidents; his wearing the "presidential Commander in Chief baseball cap" is not a mission accomplished; and his increasingly dirty and untrue statements are not just a slip of tongue BUT pieces of a mosaic of which the real McCain's picture emerges. This man, unfortunately, has not an own idea but ready to attach his name to everything that offers itself, is unable to do more than parroting some buzz-phrases that his speechwriters put in front of him again and again, and is acting like a well-lubricated weather-cock that wants to respond to every little breeze. Mr. Obama is not a perfect candidate either (To avoid misunderstanding, I am not a perfec creature of Nature either, nor am I a person who is ready to criticize everyone and inept to creatively move things forward). He has gotten to this point not by himself, and would not hurt him to learn the difference between hearing and listening! And, perhaps, there are quite a number of bright women in our society, and at least one had made him a viable contender more than his God-given talent alone. A GOOD LEADER IS NEVER AFRAID OF CHOOSING COWORKERS BRIGHTER THAN HIMSELF IN A GIVEN AREA. Yes, he does not have an earth-shaking experience either in several areas. Therefore, he should not try to lecture people when he himself is just a kind of student of his craft. He, occasionally, arrogant and overestimates himself (G.W. BUSH syndrome), and, of course, makes mistakes. Not one. HE HAS TO LEARN TO ACKNOWLEDING (NOT EXPLAINING) MISTAKES, swiftly and in plain English. Not in legalese or politicalese [the latter coined for purpose]. Regardless of these, Mr. Obama appears to be able to reach, bring together, talk to and inspire communities, groups and individuals alike, and, I hope, LEAD THE NATION. We need a President who does deserve being written with capital P again, who is able to work together with all people of the world, and EARN the trust of other nations to team up with us. To achieve this goal, a tall order, the future U.S. president MUST BE DEMOCRATIC WITHIN THE COUNTRY AND DEMOCRATIC IN ITS FOREIGN RELATIONSHIPS. McCain, who wants to be a G.W. Bush the Second, and establish a U.N. of elite nations — is certainly not offering a promising alternative for a future U.S. president.

So McCain coaxes Obama into this trip to begin with and now he criticizes him for doing it. He criticizes Obama for not meeting with troops even though he did in Kuwait, Afganistan and Iraq. He offers us nothing economically and only wants to talk about the surge. The list goes on and on. What happened to the McCain who couldn't stand George W. Bush in 2000 and was a real straight talker and maverick? Seems he decided to become W. It's sad to see.

May God deliver us from another Repugnant administration this November.
McCain should be laid to rest politically, the man is spent and has totally lost his bearings. What exactly does he stand for? ...all he does these days is to critic. Obama. It is beginning to get very nauseating ......and I am really beginning to think the dementia issue for him is real. He does not seem to remember where he stood or what he said a feww days ago....all he remembers is Vietnam and war....this is crazy.

Just Compare and contrast:
The difference is CLEAR....Thank God ,for once in a long time we actually have an intelligent man running, i hope he wins.Yes, even Germany has come a long way from Hitler so what the heck are we taliking about in this country about the man's skin color at this time. WAKE UP AMERICA.!!!!!!!!!!


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
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