IN THE PAPERS
Looking to make up ground in national polls, the presidential campaign of Republican Sen. John McCain continues to highlight recent shifts in rival Barack Obama's positions. The goal is to cut into excitement around Obama's candidacy and cast the Democratic senator as an opportunist who cannot be trusted.
McCain and his surrogates cite recent flips on public financing and terror surveillance, as well as careful maneuvering on the D.C. handgun ban -- a far-reaching law that was shot down by the Supreme Court last week -- as proof Obama cannot be trusted.
The Obama campaign counters that it is McCain who has realigned his positions in the wake of the presidential campaign.
McCain is certainly not without reversals. Critics point to a shift in rhetoric on immigration reform, support for offshore oil drilling and the Bush tax cuts. But the McCain campaign sees a real opportunity to bring down Obama's image as a change agent.
"The candidate of change has changed some of his own positions in recent weeks, raising the risk he'll be labeled a flip-flopper on hot-button issues that look as if they will play a central role in the general election," writes Ginger Adams Otis of the New York Post.
Over the weekend, at a Louisville fundraiser, the Arizona senator kept the heat on Obama for position flips. "You know, this election is about trust, and trusting people's word," McCain told donors, according to ABC's Bret Hovell. "And unfortunately, apparently, on several items, Sen. Obama's word cannot be trusted."
The Obama realignment is typical for a candidate at the beginning of a general election contest. Presidential hopefuls know elections are usually won in the center. But McCain and his allies have come down hard on Obama.
McCain supporter, Sen. Sam Browback of Kansas told Jonathan Weisman of the Washington Post, "It does seem to reflect a willingness . . . to change on positions, to be more liberal in the primary, to moving more conservative in the general election." He continued, "I guess I should welcome that, but it looks like, to me, either inexperience or incredible flip-flopping."
Expect this storyline to go on for a while, as the Republican National Committee continues to feed reporters examples of Obama flips.
Upcoming Campaign Events
Obama will travel to the Middle East and Europe next month, his first foreign trip as a White House contender, the Obama campaign announced Saturday. The senator will visit Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and the UK.
ABC News' Jake Tapper has learned that, on a separate congressional trip, Obama will visit troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, though the Obama campaign announcement did not include information about those trips. This will be Obama's second visit to Iraq.
On Sunday, McCain met with Christian evangelist leader Billy Graham and his son in North Carolina. After the meeting, McCain issued a short statement. "Today, I met with Rev. Billy Graham and his son, Franklin. We had a very excellent conversation, and I appreciated the opportunity to visit with them. Billy Graham recalled that, during the Vietnam War when I was a prisoner, he visited my parents twice in Honolulu, and he and my father prayed together for me. And I expressed my appreciation for that a long time ago."
As for Obama, he planned a quiet Sunday with no campaign events.