As presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain visits the Queen City today, his campaign has launched an online contest to shill for money.
Anyone who makes a donation to McCain's Web site between Tuesday and midnight June 30 will be entered into the "Ride the Bus" contest, which offers a chance to join the Arizona senator for a day of conversation and campaigning on his Straight Talk Express bus. McCain issued a mass e-mail earlier this week announcing the contest, the second of its type that his campaign has held so far.
“The Straight Talk Express bus has become a symbol of my campaign’s openness, honesty and access — true democracy at work,” the e-mail states. “Some of my favorite memories of the campaign so far are of riding on the Straight Talk Express across this great country, enjoying unscripted, spirited conversation about the issues with members of the press and other passengers. I believe voters deserve a close, unfiltered examination of our presidential candidates. This give-and-take of ideas is a true example of democracy in action.”
And, given rising fuel prices, it’s probably cheaper than buying a Greyhound ticket.
McCain held a town hall meeting at Xavier University this morning with about 150 allegedly undecided voters that were selected using a telephone marketing firm. Protestors gathered outside the meeting questioned whether the participants were truly undecided, or whether the event was merely an elaborate campaign stunt given its quick organization.
After the XU session, McCain will make the familiar Republican trek to the Indian Hill home of businessman Carl Lindner III for a private fundraiser. The posh evening event costs $2,300 for a ticket to a reception, and $50,000 to get into a special VIP reception that includes dinner and a photo opportunity with McCain. Those who contribute $10,000 will be allowed into the photo shoot but won’t be served dinner.
That must be some mighty expensive grub they’re serving.
All the stumping is taking such a toll on McCain’s performance in his current job that his Arizona constituents might be feeling neglected.
A review by the Washington Post found that McCain missed 367 votes during the 110th Congress, or 61.4 percent of those held — more than any other member, including one that suffered a brain hemorrhage and was hospitalized for a lengthy period.
By comparison, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) placed third on the list, missing 259 votes or 43.3 percent. Another Web site reported that McCain was the Senate’s most absent member in April, and hasn’t cast a single vote since April 8.
It should be noted that U.S. senators currently are paid $169,300 annually.
— Kevin Osborne