McCain Seeks Message, Targets Obama

"Her tax records, her hair and clothes, even the authenticity of "family" recipes posted on the campaign's Web site, have become the subject of intense attention on the Internet and cable TV (it turned out that an intern lifted some of the recipes from the Food Network). The talk shows spent hours last week teasing up a feud between her and Michelle Obama, after Cindy chided Michelle for saying, months ago, that she is proud of her country 'for the first time' in her life. 'I have always been proud of my country,' Cindy responded, repeating comments she'd made when Michelle first made the remark."

Even the casual political observer knows by now that Mrs. McCain is an heiress to the beer empire, Hensley & Co. -- and as the race heats up, the company may face some scrutiny for arguing against Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and opposing reforms that may have been intended to help Americans drink responsibly. That story from Los Angeles Times reporter Ralph Vartabedian.

In other news...

Vietnam veterans who served with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., have stepped up to a challenge to disprove the charges made against Kerry in 2004 by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The veterans sent a letter to oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens -- who helped finance the Swift Boat Veterans operation -- saying they will take on the challenge he issued last November to pay $1 million to anyone who could disprove a single charge the group made against Kerry.

As he prepares for his annual climate change summit meeting in Miami, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, R-Fla., took a moment to be profiled in the New York Times. He's of Greek origin, if you're wondering. The family name was Cristodoulos. Oh, and as for a question about whether the single governor prefers living alone: "I got married and divorced because it didn't work out. I haven't found the right one since. It's really that simple." To that, reporter Deborah Solomon responded, "You can't find one woman in all of Florida?" Crist's response: "Maybe I have. Stay tuned. "

Ohio Democrats and the Kansas governor (the daughter of a former Ohio governor) rallied the old party faithful at a dinner over the weekend. "The door of the White House only opens through Ohio," said Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, per the AP's Julie Carr Smyth. Enthusiastic Clinton supporters during the primaries, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland fired up the crowd, and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones appeared in a video presentation.


The McCain surrogates who appeared on the Sunday programs aggressively went after Obama for his public money flip, hoping to keep the story alive at the start of the new week. Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham argued Obama's word is forever broken. "Sen. Obama looked in cameras all over the country, literally signed his name, 'I will accept public financing,' and now, for whatever reason, he has broken his word."

Speaking on Obama's behalf on the same program, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., admitted Obama's move was reverse, but also said that the point is that special interests are not influencing his campaign. "The irony is, although he has changed his position -- I'm not going to color that, he's changed his position -- the fact of the matter is he has 1,400,000 contributors, the vast majority of whom contribute less than a hundred bucks a piece. So, the effect of campaign financing is in place, but it's not campaign financing."

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