McCain challenges Obama

Behind The News
June 5, 2008 2:08:15 PM PDT
It's a bold proposal from John McCain, I think, to have a series of town hall meetings around the country with Barack Obama. Bold because it will pit a man who seems uncomfortable before large groups of people with a man who seems to thrive on it. Obama's first-blush reaction was positive, no surprise; and so we might very well see some old-fashioned town hall gatherings - bringing to mind the Lincoln/Douglas debates -- where the candidates get a chance, outside the stricter boundaries of a formal debate, to roll up their sleeves and go at it. (Read more)

It would be refreshing, me thinks.

The historical significance of Obama's accomplishment was heralded today -- by Democrats and Republicans alike, including the very Republican President and his equally very Republican Secretary of State.

The son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas, Obama is the first bi-racial candidate to represent a major party in the race for President. I say "multi-racial" - but of course the headlines say "black." And that's not inaccurate, given that Obama is a self-defined African American; and he and his wife are raising their children as self-identified blacks.

But, technically, Sen. Obama is as much white as he is black. And while that isn't nearly as sexy in a headline ("First bi-racial candidate....."), it does accurately reflect the kind of multi-cultural, multi-racial base Obama says he's trying to build.

And so I thought I'd bring it up.

Meanwhile, while the two candidates have been determined, the spotlight remains, somehow, on Hillary Clinton.

Her speech last night was anything but a concession address; in fact, she sounded as if she were still running, what with her "I'm the best candidate" stance as strong as ever.

But the signs are everywhere that even the junior Senator from New York knows her bid for the White House in 2008 is over.

Today, she went to her headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, where 90% of her staff were told that Friday would be their last day. Some staffers were seen crying.

Even her strongest backers are today saying it's time for the former First Lady to move on. Congressman Charlie Rangel of Harlem, the man who first floated the idea of Clinton running for U.S. Senate in 1999, said it is time for Clinton to clarify what she is doing, and give her supporters the green light to line up behind Obama.

And Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, another one of Clinton's strongest supporters, today warned her that she shouldn't "bargain" with Obama. Rendell also said that if Clinton were tapped as Obama's running mate, she "couldn't help but upstage" him. He's urging her to return to her Senate seat. He also acknowledged the 800 pound gorilla in the room: Bill Clinton. Having the former President on the campaign trail or back in the White House, says Rendell, would require some "strict rules" from Obama.

Meanwhile, Obama now has a team in place to search for a prospective running mate, and Caroline Kennedy is helping lead the threesome. (Read more)

Jeff Pegues will have the latest on the campaign and all its dramas, tonight at 11. Obama, by the way, just happens to be in New York City tonight, for a couple of fundraisers.

Also at 11, we're going to look at what figures to be a tough summer travel season. We know the price of gas is through the roof, and so people are not driving very far from home. And today, United Airlines announced drastic cutbacks - as yet unspecified - in its shorter haul flights and the grounding of many of its 737 aircraft.

What will this mean for air travel this summer? More crowded planes, fewer flights, and more expensive flights. A rough summer. Nina Pineda has our story.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg with the AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.