By Samantha Hayes in Washington, D.C.
I like living in Washington, DC, especially on July 4th. I even own one of those ridiculous sequined "Uncle Sam" top hats. I'll be wearing it while I eat hot dogs and watch fireworks. Last year, I watched the big display over the National Mall from the roof of our building, which is in front of the White House and the perch where I report the election news of the day. It's the best seat in the house!
When I think about July 4th of last year, I'm also reminded of the heavy coverage of the presidential wlection, which a lot of folks thought was too much, too soon. There were so many candidates in both parties. It was difficult to keep up with all of them, and somewhat humorous to watch them compete for air time, especially during a few of the early televised debates.
Of course, now we are down to two major contenders and it's been quite a long and winding road to arrive at this point. Just this week, John McCain's campaign appointed a new day to day manager, a man who is expected to streamline his message. That message may, in part, put more emphasis on McCain's service to the country as a Vietnam veteran and former POW. I checked out a new campaign ad for McCain on the Republican National Committee's website titled "Purpose." It is focused mostly on McCain's energy and economic policy and ends with his name and the words "country first" above it. The ad is part of a new and more aggressive set of attacks from the McCain campaign aimed at casting Obama as opportunistic and a candidate who will say anything to get elected.
However, Obama is hitting back. This week he talked personally about community service and his grandfather's military service. And he delivered those speeches in conservative areas: Colorado Springs, Colorado on Wednesday, Fargo, North Dakota on Thursday, and he'll be spending the Fourth of July in the red state of Montana. McCain will be in Arizona.
That leaves Washington, DC, free of major Presidential candidates on Independence Day. That's okay. They'll be back soon enough. Meantime, we'll watch the fireworks over the White House and wonder which one of them will be here, next year.