Campaign notebook

Obama adviser likens Bill Clinton's comments to McCarthy's

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March 23, 2008

MEDFORD, Ore. - An adviser to Barack Obama accused Bill Clinton of questioning his candidate's patriotism and said comments by the former president were reminiscent of anticommunist crusader Joseph McCarthy.

Clinton said yesterday in Charlotte, N.C., that it would be great if the US presidential election were between his wife, Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton, and Republican Senator John McCain, "two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country."

Introducing Obama yesterday at a town hall in Medford, Ore., retired four-star General Merrill "Tony" McPeak said Clinton should know better than to employ the same tactics that were used against him when he ran for president 16 years ago.

"Both Barack Obama and John McCain are great patriots who love this country and are devoted to it," McPeak, an Obama campaign co-chair, said. "So is Hillary Clinton - any suggestion to the contrary is flat wrong."

When approached by reporters after a rally yesterday in Salem, Ore., McPeak said Clinton's comments were "more like McCarthy," referring to the Wisconsin senator who in the 1950s branded political rivals, government employees, and some celebrities as being communist sympathizers, spies, or otherwise unpatriotic.

McPeak's comments are a "deliberate misreading" and "an outrage," Howard Wolfson, Hillary Clinton's communications director, said on a conference call.


Clinton adviser to plead guilty to drunken driving
NASHUA, N.H. - A senior adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has agreed to plead guilty to drunken driving and will lose his right to drive for 16 months, police said.

Sidney Blumenthal of Washington was arrested Jan. 7, the day before the New Hampshire primary, and charged with aggravated drunken driving. Police said Blumenthal was traveling 70 miles per hour in a 30-miles-per-hour zone.

In addition to the suspended license, police will recommend a fine of $750 when Blumenthal is sentenced April 18. He also will be required to undergo an alcohol intervention program, Nashua police Captain Peter Segal said.


Views of McCain's pastor in line with GOP beliefs
HOUSTON - John McCain's Phoenix pastor, Dan Yeary, is a folksy patriotic Southern Baptist who opposes abortion and believes homosexuality to be a biblical sin, but says Christians have an obligation to love such sinners.

That puts Yeary, who heads the church attended for the past 15 years by the Republican presidential candidate, firmly in the US Southern Baptist mainstream, and in line with the Republican Party.

He offers a sharp contrast to Democratic contender Barack Obama's former preacher, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who has stirred controversy with his fiery comments on race and America.

Obama had been seen by some analysts as having an edge over McCain on issues of faith because of his adult conversion experience and his ease in talking about his faith. But his spiritual leader has proven a political liability.


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