Over the weekend, Barack Obama and John McCain thrashed out their policies concerning the Hispanic community, both addressing the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. The New York Times’ The Caucus calls Hispanics “the fastest growing demographic group in the country,” with 9.2 million Hispanic voters expected in the election.

McCain, who sponsored a bill last year for extensive immigration reform, was keen to stress that he is still interested in immigration issues. Obama faces the challenge of gaining the support of Hispanic Hillary Clinton backers, who outnumbered his Hispanic backers significantly during the nominations. The Caucus also reports that McCain and Obama are traveling overseas in an effort to promote “the images of them consulting with foreign leaders and giving speeches on the international stage, as well as the knowledge they glean during these travels.”

But David Broder, at Real Clear Politics, wonders if there is any substance in the campaigns of either candidate. “People campaign for the presidency by talking their heads off. By the time the winner reaches the White House, the habit is so ingrained that it is impossible to shake… rather than seeking to persuade voters by arguing for their policies, presidents increasingly have sought to build trust by identifying themselves with those voters and their ‘common sense’ view of the world.”

ABC News, in its weekly campaign wrap, mentions McCain’s visit with leading evangelist Billy Graham, who is supportive but not actually endorsing his campaign. In the week ahead, McCain “plans this week to unveil a new campaign airplane, a Boeing 737, with the ‘Straight Talk’ logo on the fuselage.”

Steven Thomma at McClatchy says the Republican campaign cannot rely on the same levels of funding previous campaigns have traditionally had.

Meanwhile … as Obama and Clinton do their best to spruik their newfound ‘unity’, some Clinton supporters are finding it hard to let go of her campaign, writes Maureen Dowd in The NYT. But MSNBC notes that the group formerly backing Clinton is willing to support the Obama campaign – “members of the Democratic Leadership Council seem ready to embrace Obama rather than risk squandering an opportunity for victory this fall.”

Michael Goodwin, at the New York Daily News, writes of Hillary Clinton’s rising Vice Presidential potential, “The third time was the charm. After failing her first chance to throw her support to Barack Obama and holding her nose the second time, Hillary Clinton finally aced the loyalty test.”

Times Online speculates that if Obama wins the presidency he may ask Defence Secretary Robert Gates to stay on. “Obama’s top foreign policy and national security advisers are pressing the case for keeping Robert Gates at the Pentagon after he won widespread praise for his performance. The move would be in keeping with Obama’s desire to appoint a cabinet of all the talents.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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