By Joshua Kucera
The Washington Post leads with a speech by Barack Obama in which the presidential candidate laid out his take on patriotism in an attempt to tackle head-on the persistent rumors that he is unpatriotic. The Los Angeles Times leads locally; its top national story is a critical look at Obama’s rival John McCain and his record on energy issues, saying “the Arizona senator has swerved from one position to another over the years, taking often contradictory stances on the federal government’s role in energy policy.”
All the papers cover Obama’s speech and tie it together with the hubbub over Gen. Wesley Clark taking a shot at McCain’s military record. The Post gives the speech the most coverage, comparing it to Obama’s March speech on race, which was timed to blunt the controversy around his former pastor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Obama took a historical perspective and said that presidents Jefferson and Adams had been accused of a lack of patriotism, too. “But just as Wright has not disappeared from the political landscape, no one expects the patriotism question to be quelled with one speech,” the Post writes.
Among McCain’s energy flip-flops, according to the LAT: He used to oppose subsidies for nuclear power and now supports them; he has supported forcing automakers to build cars that run on alternative fuels while opposing the same sort of requirements for local utilities; and at times has supported offshore drilling for oil while at other times opposed it. “There is a very sporadic pattern here,” said an official from the League of Conservation Voters.
Isn’t it ironic? TP isn’t sure that “irony” is exactly the word the Post should have used in its penultimate graf of the Obama/McCain patriotism story. Maybe “craven partisan hackery” was too long? “In a bit of irony, one of McCain’s defenders was retired Col. George ‘Bud’ Day, a fellow prisoner of war who appeared in the Swift boat ads that disparaged the military service of 2004 Democratic nominee John F. Kerry. Democrats accused McCain and Day of hypocrisy; Day defended himself and the ads. ‘The Swift boat, quote, attacks were simply a revelation of the truth. The similarity doesn’t exist,’ he said. ‘One was about laying out the truth. This one is about attempting to cast another shadow.’ “