(TIME) – White House correspondent Michael Scherer spoke with President Obama aboard Air Force One on Aug. 21 for the Sept. 10 issue of TIME
MICHAEL SCHERER: What is your message for the independent voter who supported you from Ohio or Iowa in 2008 because he thought you could change the tone in Washington, change politics? Did you do something wrong? And why will the next four years be different?
BARACK OBAMA: The message I have for them is no different than the message I have for the rest of the country, which is, I ran for office to not only deal with a looming economic crisis but also reverse a decade in which middle-class families had seen their security erode.
(TIME) – "I love Joe," Michelle Obama said Tuesday on The Daily Show. It had come to that point in the evening–which happens on just about every late night program, just about every night when politics comes up–when the comedian made a crack about the Vice President. And Michelle Obama answered the way everyone seems to in moments like that. "I love Joe."
(TIME) – Consider it an awkward coincidence: The final Republican debate before the Super Tuesday primary is taking place in Arizona, at the epicenter of the national immigration debate.
When the remaining four candidates take the stage on Wednesday night, they will inevitably be asked about the state’s tough crackdown on illegal immigration, which has defined the local Republican Party in recent years, buoyed the hopes of local Democrats and been condemned by, among others, the U.S. Department of Justice. The candidates will have to answer carefully.
(TIME) - President Obama dismissed Republican rival Mitt Romney’s critiques of his foreign policy credentials Wednesday in an exclusive TIME interview, saying the GOP frontrunner’s attacks are little more than primary posturing that will wither under the glare of “a serious debate.”
“I think Mr. Romney and the rest of the Republican field are going to be playing to their base until the primary season is over,” Obama told TIME’s Fareed Zakaria during a White House interview that will appear in the next issue of TIME magazine. “Overall, I think it’s going to be pretty hard to argue that we have not executed a strategy over the last three years that has put America in a stronger position than it was than when I came into office.”
-1 minutes. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer amps up the crowd while standing on an empty stage in Tampa, Fla. “All of us will always remember this night,” he says. “Stand by. We are about to begin. The whole world will be watching.” This last part is an overstatement. This fifth Republican presidential debate is going head-to-head with the season premier of Monday Night Football, a game between the Patriots and the Dolphins in nearby Miami. But that is nothing compared to the other live television event, the Miss Universe pageant, which is set to begin in an hour.
0 minutes. Instead of starting with the debate, CNN cuts away to a fancy montage of the eight candidates, giving each a nickname. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is called “The Firebrand.” Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has held elected office since 1985, is called “The Newcomer.” Ominous military music plays as a voice over builds the tension. “Eight candidates,” he says. “One stage.” It’s still not football.
(TIME) – 0 minutes. Presidential debates come and go. But tonight’s GOP debate, the fourth in a series too numerous to bear, is a special treat. “We are all gathered under the wings of Air Force One,” says NBC’s Brian Williams, referring to the great phallus of American presidential might that sits in the hangar at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. No setting could be more appropriate. The camera soaks it in all 153-feet of Reagan’s retired plane.
(TIME)-On Feb. 11, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, his wife and three aides flew in a luxury jet to Washington for a weekend of politicking, including an appearance on Fox News Sunday and a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference. "Our problem is not that we tax too little," Barbour told the gathering. "It's that we spend too much."
The potential presidential contender may have another problem: Mississippi taxpayers paid the tab for Barbour's first-class travel. State documents obtained by TIME show that Mississippi shelled out $7,020 to shuttle Barbour and his entourage to and from D.C. on its Cessna Citation, a cost that Barbour says is justified by state work he did in D.C. over the same weekend.
WASHINGTON (Time) – What if the McCain campaign had run ads using footage of Barack Obama dancing with Ellen DeGeneres to show his coziness with celebrity? Or followed up on its Paris Hilton ad with others featuring Donald Trump and Jessica Simpson? All of that was on the drawing board of Fred Davis III, the advertising whiz that John McCain's used for almost all of his campaign media, and one of the most talented conservative political operatives in America. Oh yes, he also had an internet ad up his sleeve that would attack Obama's celebrity by associating him with Oprah. But in the end, he scotched that one. "We decided you don't really fight Santa Claus or Oprah, so we removed her."
In an extended interview with TIME, Davis detailed what-might-have-been in the campaign ad war — and what self-censorship the McCain staff imposed on itself regarding the issue of race. For most of the campaign, Davis functioned as McCain's silent partner. While journalists hounded McCain's senior campaign aides, people like Steve Schmidt, Mark Salter and Rick Davis (no relation), Fred Davis worked away in the shadows.