Can any of the men on the campaign trail stay friends with each other? If it’s not Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, then the GOP is speculating whether lack of “personal chemistry” will undermine Mitt Romney’s shot at being John McCain’s VP.

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are talking again. The Huffington Post yesterday quoted a “campaign insider” who’d supposedly heard Bill Clinton say Barack Obama could kiss his ass if he wanted Clinton’s campaign support. But both camps are back “on message” today, broadcasting the news that the two men had a 20-minute phone conversation about their campaign plans. Politico reports the official statement: “President Clinton had a very good conversation with Senator Obama today. He renewed his offer to do whatever he can to ensure Senator Obama is our next President.” Nice to see they’re friends again.

Romney tops McCain VP list. Politico says the “hot buzz” in Republican circles is that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is at the top of McCain’s VP list. Romney is said to have a great ability to raise money, but will it be enough to negate the lack of “personal chemistry” between the two? The Republican convention is a week after the Democrats’ gathering, and Politico quotes campaign insiders as saying McCain plans to name his running mate shortly after Obama does, as part of what one campaign planner called a “bounce-mitigation strategy”.

Ralph Nader says Obama is“talking white”. Salon has weighed into Ralph Nader’s statement that Barack Obama is “talking white” by paying insufficient attention to the problems of urban poverty and the inner city. The Salon article says that Nader fluffed the discussion about race but did make one worthwhile point: “Basically he’s insisting liberals and progressives are settling for too little from Obama.”

The campaign trail goes global. McCain is planning a trip to Columbia and Mexico, following his earlier visits to Europe and the Middle East. Obama is soon to drop by Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Jordan, England, France, and Germany. “We’ve done the math for you: The candidates’ foreign destinations award a grand total of zero electoral votes,” says ABC News, “But the coming trips provide opportunities for both men in the tentative definitional dance of the early stage of the general election. And risks: Gaffes carry a multiplier of approximately three when committed abroad, and the visuals are not always under the control of a campaign operating in foreign territory.”

Are you a patriot? In the lead-up to American Independence Day, Obama and McCain have been pushing their patriotism. McCain responded to criticism from a retired General that his military service does not qualify him to be President. Meanwhile, Obama has distanced himself from the General’s comment and gave a speech in which he “attacked head-on the persistent rumors that his loyalties to the country are doubtful,” according to Brian Knowlton of the New York Times.

Peter Fray

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