Campaign Notebook

Obama regrets allowing daughters' TV interview

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July 10, 2008

WASHINGTON - Don't expect to see more of Barack Obama's young daughters on television any time soon.

The Democratic presidential candidate and his wife, Michelle, allowed the syndicated program "Access Hollywood" to interview their daughters, Malia and Sasha, as Malia celebrated her 10th birthday. The four-part interview began airing Tuesday.

Yesterday, Obama said he had second thoughts after seeing how much attention the interview had received.

The Obamas had been keeping Malia and 7-year-old Sasha out of the media spotlight.

"It was an exception, it was Malia's birthday, we were in Montana, everybody was having a good time," he told "Good Morning America" on ABC. "I think we got carried away a little bit. Generally, what makes them so charming is the fact that they're not spending a lot of time worrying about TV cameras or politics, and we want to keep it that way."


Jesse Jackson apologizes for 'crude' Obama remark
NEW YORK - The Rev. Jesse Jackson apologized yesterday for making crude remarks about Barack Obama that were picked up during an interview with Fox News on Sunday.

The civil rights leader apparently did not know that his microphone was on when he whispered the comments to another guest as he prepared for an interview on "Fox & Friends."

"Barack, he's talking down to black people," Jackson said in a short clip the network aired yesterday on "Special Report With Brit Hume."

Hume reported that Jackson also "threatened to cut off a certain part of Obama's anatomy."

Jackson gave an interview to rival news network CNN expressing regret for his comments, which he said were made as part of a discussion about Obama's calls for more personal responsibility during appearances before black churches.

"I said it can come off as speaking down to black people," Jackson said on CNN's "The Situation Room."

"And then I said something I felt regret for - it was crude," he added. "It was very private and very much a sound bite - and a live mike. And so I feel - I find no comfort in it, I find no joy in it. So I immediately called the senator's campaign to send my statement of apology to repair the harm or hurt that this may have caused his campaign because I support it unequivocally."

Bill Burton, Obama spokesman, said the Democratic presidential contender accepted Jackson's apology.

CNN did not report the exact words Jackson used during the Fox interview.

Anchor Wolf Blitzer said the language was "so crude" that the network could not air it.

The comment triggered condemnation from an unexpected source: Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr., Democrat of Illinois and Jackson's son.

In a statement, the younger Jackson said he was "deeply outraged and disappointed in Reverend Jackson's reckless statements about Senator Barack Obama."

"Reverend Jackson is my dad, and I'll always love him. . . . I thoroughly reject and repudiate his ugly rhetoric," he said. "He should keep hope alive and any personal attacks and insults to himself."


Union raps McCain's stance on Iraq, veteran issues in ad
WASHINGTON - The AFL-CIO plans to begin airing an ad in six presidential battleground states yesterday that features a Vietnam combat veteran criticizing John McCain's stance on the war in Iraq and on veterans issues.

The ad is part of a new union political effort to reach the 2.1 million military veterans or active-duty personnel who are members of the AFL-CIO.

"Every vet respects John McCain's war record," Navy veteran Jim Wasser says in the ad. "It's his record in the Senate that I have a problem with."

Wasser, an electrician from Illinois, served with John F. Kerry in Vietnam and helped the Massachusetts senator rebut attacks on his war record during the 2004 presidential campaign.

In the ad, Wasser says McCain "wants us to keep spending $10 billion a month in Iraq. Just like Bush."


Obama's speech plans generate unease in Berlin
BERLIN - Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has signaled unease over the prospect of a possible speech by Barack Obama at Berlin's historic Brandenburg Gate, a spokesman said yesterday.

Merkel has "only limited understanding for using the Brandenburg Gate as an election campaign backdrop, as it were, and has expressed skepticism about pursuing such plans," Thomas Steg, a spokesman for the chancellor, told reporters. But Steg stressed that the chancellor is "very happy" for Obama to visit Germany.

Berlin city officials said this week that Obama's campaign staff contacted them about permission and security issues.


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