Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | 3:53 p.m.
National politics top local headlines today.
Locals are still discussing John McCain’s town hall meeting in Sparks yesterday, a forum where the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is often at his best. He revels in unscripted give-and-takes with voters, as we saw in his 100-plus town hall meetings in the lead-up to the 2000 and 2008 New Hampshire primaries. (New Hampshire has hosted the nation’s first primary for decades).
Anjeanette Damon writes in today’s Reno Gazette-Journal that McCain defended his positions, popular or not to conservatives:
"Doug Englekirk, who identified himself as a conservative voter from Douglas County, brought a list of McCain's past positions that had antagonized conservatives, reading it to the crowd at McCain's request. It included McCain's support for a comprehensive immigration bill, campaign finance reform and the fight against global warming.
"McCain went point-by-point, explaining some positions and refusing to back away from others.
'I've stood up against my party many times because I've done what I believe is right,' McCain said."
In the Politico article beneath the video, blogger Jonathan Martin writes this is a bold but risky gambit for McCain:
"'Celeb' represents a risk for McCain. His campaign seems to have made a conscious decision to use Obama's enormous appeal against him, with the hope that Americans will ultimately vote for the more familiar and less glamorous option. But by acknowledging Obamamania, they also reinforce the sense that the young Democrat has created an unprecedented and perhaps historic movement. It's quite a concession from somebody who himself was once a media darling and is close to a household name. They're trying to inflate Obama to tear him down -- but they also could just enhance his stature and send more buzz, money and supporters his way."
Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza also contemplates the riskiness of McCain’s ad.
In other news:
-- Sun colleague Lisa Mascaro finds that the indictment of Alaskan Sen. Ted Stevens on charges of concealing home renovations and other gifts from a contractor has toughened Nevada Sen. John Ensign’s already-trying challenge: to ensure that the Democrats, already in the majority, don’t win 60 or more seats in November. Ensign is leading the Republican senatorial campaign this fall.
-- Sun reporter Jeff Haney investigates the odds – the off-shore odds – of the potential vice presidential selections by Obama and McCain. Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is the media’s pick of the week to join Obama on the Democratic ticket and, probably not coincidentally, he’s tied with Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh as betting co-favorites, Haney reports.
And The Washington Post has this story about conservative Rep. Pete Sessions holding a fundraiser at a Las Vegas burlesque nightclub.