By Daniel Politi, Today’s Papers
The WSJ plays weekend catch-up and leads its world-wide newsbox with Sen. Hillary Clinton dropping out of the presidential race and throwing her support to Sen. Barack Obama.
With the ongoing concern about their economic future, it’s little wonder that the economy continues to rank as the No. 1 issue in the minds of voters. “The issue provides one of the starkest contrasts” between the presumptive presidential nominees, says the WSJ. Obama will highlight these differences in a two-week campaign tour that will focus on the economy and include stops in some of several key swing states. While Democrats want to keep talking about the economy, Sen. John McCain is pushing his foreign-policy experience as the main rationale behind his candidacy. In his first general-election TV ad, the Republican reminds voters that he has seen the consequences of war up close and says he’s “running for president to keep the country I love safe.”
As the general election officially gets underway, McCain doesn’t just have to counter Obama’s claims that electing the Republican is akin to giving President Bush a third term; he also has to unify social conservatives, many of whom are still reluctant to get behind his candidacy, note the LAT and NYT in front-page pieces. Interestingly enough, both papers mention Lori Viars, an activist who spent months campaigning for Bush in 2004 but so far is waiting to hear more from McCain before deciding whether to volunteer. The LAT reports from Ohio, where some Republicans are openly fretting about the fact that McCain has been slow in mobilizing the base of voters who were critical to Bush’s crucial victory in that state in 2004. The NYT says McCain’s campaign knows it has lagged behind on courting evangelicals, and over the past month it has quietly stepped up efforts to gain their support. But it’s a tricky proposition because McCain also wants to appeal to independent voters who might turn their backs on the Republican if he begins espousing too many socially conservative views.