Obama: Running for President
Obama seemed stupefied when asked, after his election to the Senate in November 2004, whether he planned to run for president in 2008. “Look, I’m a state senator who hasn’t even been sworn in yet,” Obama told a gaggle of reporters. “I can unequivocally say I will not be running for national office in four years … I mean, come on, guys.” Four days later, on Meet the Press, Tim Russert asked Obama if he’d serve his full six-year term in the Senate. “Absolutely,” Obama replied. More than a year later, in January 2006, Russert had Obama back and asked again. “I will serve out my full six-year term,” Obama maintained. But in October 2006, Obama admitted to Russert that he had been considering a run for president “over the last several months,” which would mean he began backpedaling on his promise about a year and a half into his six-year term. Apparently even the man himself can’t resist the image of Obama as president.
McCain: Becoming a Loyal Bushie
McCain has been known as a maverick Republican for good reason, breaking from the party on issues from campaign-finance reform to stem-cell research. But the senator has spent most of the last four years shoring up support from Republican Party bosses and cozying up to the man who caused him so much trouble in 2000—George W. Bush. McCain was Bush’s stealth weapon in the 2004 election; his campaign speeches on behalf of the president also handily quashed rumors that John Kerry was trying to court McCain as the vice-presidential nominee on the Democratic ticket. This campaign season, along with reconciling with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, McCain has strengthened his opposition to Roe V. Wade, backtracked on his opposition to ethanol, come out in favor of tax cuts he once voted against, and taken money from Bush supporters he accused of being corrupt in 2000. When Bush announced the troop surge last year, Matt Welch wrote in Reason magazine that by “enthusiastically endorsing McCain’s approach, the lame duck president all but finished the job of anointing the senator his political successor.”