COMMENTS: The Next El Presidente

Memorial Day saw the campaign trail dominated by military themes. ABC's John Berman covered the continuing dispute between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama over the GI Bill introduced by Sen James Webb (D-VA). Webb wants to increase college scholarships upon leaving the service: Obama supports the plan; McCain is opposed. "Military and veterans issues would seem to play to the strengths of McCain, a navy veteran and former PoW. Yet Obama is not shying away," Berman noted. "McCain seemed to bristle at the criticism." NBC's Kelly O'Donnell heard McCain claim it as a mark of his own principled courage that he opposed these veterans' benefits: "It would have been much, much easier for me politically to have joined Sen Webb."

Both CBS and NBC showed pictures of Hillary Rodham Clinton on the campaign trail in Puerto Rico. Thalia Assuras on CBS saw her "drinking in the atmosphere and admiration and some El Presidente beer" while NBC's Lee Cowan observed that her "three day swing made her look pretty carefree" after the criticism she endured for Friday's reference to Robert Kennedy's June assassination. Cowan quoted Rodham Clinton's explanation for her remarks in a letter to Sunday's Daily News in New York City: "She insisted the media had taken them entirely out of context. She never intended to bring up something completely unthinkable." CBS' Assuras visualized everything going perfectly for Rodham Clinton--a big win in the Puerto Rico primary; prevailing in the credentials dispute over Florida and Michigan; persuading superdelegates to back her at the Denver Convention--and assessed her odds as "practically zip." Concluded Assuras: "In no circumstances do the numbers add up in her favor."


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