Obama: "It's possible that I'm a little too awesome." "I feel right at home here because it's often been said that I share the politics of Alfred E. Smith and the ears of Alfred E. Newman." "Barack is actually Swahili for 'that one.' And I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn't think I'd ever run for president." "I do love the Waldorf-Astoria, though. You know, I hear that from the doorstep you can see all the way to the Russian tearoom."
McCain: "He even has a pet name for me -- George Bush." "We know the press is really an independent-minded, civic-minded, non-partisan group, like ACORN." "I can't shake the feeling that some people here are voting for me. Nice to see you, Hillary." And he said he was firing his campaign staff: "All of their positions will now be held by a man named Joe the Plumber."
From the concert of the year: "The Boss and The Piano Man raised the roof at the Hammerstein Ballroom Thursday night for the Democratic Party's main man," George Rush and Bill Hutchinson write in the New York Daily News. "Singing together for the first time, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel belted out Springsteen's 'Thunder Road' and Joel's 'A Matter of Trust' to the delight of 2,500 people at the Barack Obama fund-raiser."
"After an introduction by Caroline Kennedy, Springsteen told the gathering, 'Billy and I have rehearsed a little, but I hope you consider this more like the vice presidential debate.'
" 'You have to sort of Palin-ize your expectations,' he said to applause and laughter. 'We seem like we know a lot, but we don't, really.' "
Barack Obama is in Virginia on Friday -- the beginning of the campaign's "red-state tour." He holds a rally in Roanoke at 12:30 pm ET.
President Bush speaks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Friday at 8:40 am ET.
Also in the news:
Stevens on the stand: "Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska took the witness stand in his own defense yesterday and immediately denied charges that he lied on financial disclosure forms to conceal gifts and extensive home renovations he received from a business executive," Del Quentin Wilber reports in The Washington Post.
Still MIA: "By this time four years ago, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth had pumped millions of dollars into television advertising, seeking to discredit Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry's military record and making 'Swift Boating' part of the political lexicon," the Washington Times' Jennifer Haberkorn reports. "But this year, no one has taken the Swift Boaters' place, and overall spending by outside political groups -- which arguably helped Republicans more than Democrats in 2004 -- is down dramatically."
Saddle up for 2012: "Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana governor widely seen as a Republican rising star, will keynote a high-profile Christian conservative fundraising dinner next month in Iowa, his office confirms," Politico's Jonathan Martin reports.