The Des Moines Register covers Tom Vilsack's presidential announcement yesterday.
In its Vilsack write-up, USA Today says former governors "have occupied the White House for 26 of the past 30 years, propelled by their experience running states and the absence of voting records ripe for dissection. But in the post-9/11 era, with violence gripping Iraq, they face a special challenge in convincing voters they can keep the country safe." The paper adds that Vilsack devoted just two paragraphs of his speech to world affairs.
Previewing Barack Obama's appearance at Rick Warren's church today, the Chicago Tribune writes that the senator will be on stage "with one of the religious right's favorite politicians, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), as he addresses more than 1,000 evangelical pastors and church leaders at a summit on AIDS organized by Warren." More: "Obama's appearance at the evangelical summit is but one hint of the gathering potential many political and religious analysts see for a recalibration of the political loyalties of churchgoing Americans."
The New York Times reports that John McCain turned up yesterday at the Republican Governors Association meeting, which was being headed by potential GOP rival Mitt Romney. "Mr. McCain commandeered a room at the Doral Resort for eight hours of meetings with nine Republican governors, including Gov.-elect Charlie Crist of Florida… Mr. Romney has hoped, like George W. Bush in 2000 and Bob Dole in 1996, to use the overwhelming support of the Republican governors as a springboard to the presidential nomination. Mr. McCain served notice with his incursion that Mr. Romney could not take them for granted."
The Miami Herald adds that McCain "invited the governors and other elected officials to a 5 p.m. reception, and even dispatched buses to shuttle them to Don Shula's Hotel in Miami Lakes and back to Doral in time for the 8 p.m. dinner headlined by Romney."
In another investigation by his hometown paper, the Boston Globe reports that Romney, who "has grown outspoken in his criticism of illegal immigration" has for the last decade "used a landscaping company that relies heavily on workers ... illegal Guatemalan immigrants, to maintain the grounds surrounding his pink Colonial house on Marsh Street in Belmont." When asked about the report in Miami yesterday by a reporter, Romney "said, 'Aw, geez,' and walked away." His press office later said he knew nothing of the matter and would look into it.
So who is popular or not among the possible presidential candidates? In a recent poll of registered voters in Washington State, conducted by Peter Hart Research Associates, voters were asked whom they would "most want to spend a weekend with" among prominent political families. Bill and Hillary Clinton topped the list, with President Bush and his family trailing in second place. The Obamas finished third, followed by the Giulianis, the Gores, the McCains, and the Cheneys. Last place went to the Kerrys.