Politics

Another staffer bails on Thompson

Republican Fred Thompson sidestepped questions Monday about the departure of yet another high-level aide to his presidential campaign-in-waiting.

Linda Rozett, a longtime U.S. Chamber of Commerce official, is gone from the former Tennessee senator’s committee to “test the waters” of a presidential bid after spending the last several weeks as communications director.

“I don’t know what the story is,” said Thompson, who was asked about the departure while campaigning at the Minnesota state fair. “I don’t know what to say about it except that she’s a wonderful lady.”

Obama: ‘I’ll work with some Republicans’

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama often says he will be a candidate that will bring both parties together and Saturday he named a few of the Republicans he would reach out to if elected.

“There are some very capable Republicans who I have a great deal of respect for,” Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press. “The opportunities are there to create a more effective relationship between parties.”

Among the Republicans he would seek help from are Sens. Richard Lugar of Indiana, John Warner of Virginia and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Obama said.

Thompson likes his position

All-but-declared GOP candidate Fred Thompson said Saturday he is in a sound position to make a run for the nomination even though others announced their candidacies months ago.

“We have done within a few months what other people have spent much longer periods of time doing,” Thompson told reporters before delivering a keynote speech to the Midwest Republican Leadership Conference, which has drawn party activists from 12 states.

Hillary trots out the celebs

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton returned to her favorite family vacation spot Saturday to raise money for her presidential campaign at a celebrity-studded event where she took some pointed swipes at President Bush.

Clinton — accompanied by her husband and their daughter Chelsea — smiled broadly and swayed to the music as singer Carly Simon and her two children, Ben and Sally Taylor, sang “Devoted to You” for a Martha’s Vineyard crowd of more than 2,000.

Huckabee: Republicans have failed

Presidential contender Mike Huckabee says his party took a beating in the 2006 election because too many of its candidates didn’t act like Republicans.

“We didn’t fight corruption like we should, we didn’t curtail spending, we didn’t resolve problems,” the former Arkansas governor told reporters Friday before a speech to the Midwest Leadership Conference.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney touted his views on health care in a dinner speech Friday night, continuing a theme he had begun earlier in the day while campaigning in Florida.

Except for actor and former Sen. Fred Thompson, who was scheduled as the keynote speaker Saturday night, others in the crowded GOP field were skipping the event.

Clinton under fire for terror comment

Democratic rivals criticized Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday for her comment that a terror attack before the election would help the Republicans.

On Thursday, the New York senator told supporters in Concord that she could defeat any Republican nominee, in part because she already knows how her opponents will go after her and because she is good at handling the unexpected.

The Godly Democrats

In Sunday’s Democratic presidential candidate debate on ABC, the most interesting yet least-publicized exchange came in the form of the candidates’ responses to a question on religion.

As wildly unpopular as President Bush now is, with approval ratings dipping into the high 20s, it should be obvious his most disastrous policy decisions were driven either by his zeal to appeal to the religious right or by his innate belief (and those of some of his advisers) that his policies were sanctioned by God.

The return of big labor

After the 2004 elections some pundits declared big labor dead, killed by its own inability to influence elections.

Organized labor spent millions trying to defeat George W. Bush and put Democrats back into power.

It failed. Nobody wanted to look for the union label.

That was then, this is now. Big labor is back and it is looking to flex its muscles in 2008.

Obama presidency a stretch for some

Barack Obama knows it’s a stretch to think of him as president.

Just 46 years old and three years out of the Illinois legislature, the freshman senator also understands that the clock is ticking on his chance to surmount that “certain threshold” and convince voters he’s ready for the White House.

“The challenge for us is to let people know what I’ve accomplished at a time when the campaign schedule is getting so compressed,” Obama said in a recent interview. “I just don’t have much time to make that case.”

Dissatisfaction fuels Presidential race

Don’t assume that 2008 will represent an easy Democratic win over the Republicans.

It may be far more interesting than that.

Whenever dramatic change undermines America’s broad political consensus, the familiar two-party system fractures into a multi-sided contest. What has turned out to be a long hard slog in Iraq may produce an echo of other presidential-election years in which broad dissatisfaction fueled a serious challenger to the two major parties.