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Campaign Notebook

McCain highlights his military heritage

- Actress Sela Ward told Senator John McCain about US foster care problems at Hope Village for Children in Meridian, Miss. He spent yesterday campaigning in Meridian, the hometown of McCain Field, named for his grandfather. - Actress Sela Ward told Senator John McCain about US foster care problems at Hope Village for Children in Meridian, Miss. He spent yesterday campaigning in Meridian, the hometown of McCain Field, named for his grandfather. (Marianne Todd/Getty Images)
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April 1, 2008

MERIDIAN, Miss. - John McCain opened a new chapter yesterday in his presidential campaign, casting himself as an "imperfect servant of my country," descended from a family of warriors devoted to honor, courage, and duty.

In remarks personal and philosophical, McCain recalled ancestors buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and mused about "the honor we earn and the love we give when we work and sacrifice with others for a cause greater than our self-interest."

A prisoner of war in Vietnam at a time his father commanded all US forces in the Pacific, McCain said, "He prayed on his knees every night for my safe return. . . . Yet, when duty required it, he gave the order for B-52s to bomb Hanoi, in close proximity to my prison."

The presumptive GOP nominee and Arizona senator spoke at Mississippi State University near a naval air field named for his grandfather. It was the first stop on a weeklong biographical tour designed to reintroduce him to the public.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mich. legislator proposes alternate delegates plan
WASHINGTON - A Michigan congressman proposed an alternate plan yesterday for seating the state's delegates at the Democratic National Convention, awarding delegates based partly on Michigan's Jan. 15 primary results and partly on the popular vote in all the nation's presidential primaries.

Representative Bart Stupak, in a letter to DNC Chairman Howard Dean, proposed that Michigan's 83 pledged delegates be chosen at congressional district conventions according to the results of the state's primary.

Under Stupak's formula, Hillary Clinton, who received 55 percent of the primary vote, would receive 47 delegates. Barack Obama, who pulled his name from Michigan's ballot, would receive 36 delegates. The remaining 73 delegates would be awarded based on the percentage of the popular vote garnered nationwide by Clinton and Obama after the last Democratic presidential primary is completed.

"The last thing we want to do as Democrats is to disenfranchise voters," wrote Stupak, who endorsed former senator John Edwards in the primary and has remained neutral since Edwards dropped out in January.

The party stripped Michigan and Florida of their national convention delegates because they moved their primaries to January dates that were earlier than party rules allowed.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Gore says he's staying out of Clinton-Obama rivalry
If Democrats were looking to Al Gore to be the white knight to settle the bitter nomination fight, they should probably find someone else.

Gore, viewed by some as one of the few party leaders who could nudge Hillary Clinton to withdraw or to broker a deal between Clinton and Barack Obama, said on "60 Minutes" that he's not interested in being any kind of "Boss Tweed" figure.

"I'm trying to stay out of it," he said in the interview, broadcast Sunday night. "I'm not applying for the job of broker."

The former vice president, 2000 Democratic nominee, and Nobel Prize recipient for his global warming advocacy also shrugged off speculation that if the nomination battle tightens further and goes to the convention in late August, he could emerge as a compromise nominee. "I doubt very seriously that I'll ever be a candidate again," he said.

FOON RHEE

Cuomo says candidates not keen on his joint ticket idea
Democratic Party elder Mario Cuomo said yesterday that the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama camps have indicated no interest in an idea he floated in The Boston Globe - that they form a joint ticket.

At the least, he said in his op-ed piece, Clinton and Obama should agree to pick the other as vice president as a way to soothe the disappointment and bitterness of the other's supporters.

Appearing on CNN to plug his proposal, the former New York governor said he fears lasting damage in the party that could end up putting Republican John McCain in the White House. Cuomo is the latest big-name Democrat to air such misgivings publicly.

Cuomo said he's surprised by the cold shoulder he's received from the candidates, especially from Obama, noting that he has agreed to meet Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions. If the Democrats are willing to negotiate with foreign leaders, Cuomo asked, why not each other?

FOON RHEE

Clinton and Obama praise late activist Cesar Chavez
In part jockeying for the support of Hispanic voters, both Democratic presidential hopefuls yesterday praised the late farm worker activist Cesar Chavez on his birthday.

"Through his lifetime of service, he has paved the way for many, and provided inspiration for countless others," Hillary Clinton, who has the endorsement of Chavez's grandson, said in a statement.

Barack Obama one-upped Clinton by calling for a national holiday to honor Chavez.

FOON RHEE

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