As Democrats send presidential candidate Barack Obama off on his quest
for the White House, the Republicans and their candidate, John McCain,
are preparing for their national nominating convention, which begins
Monday in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. The Democrats made Barack
Obama the focus of their convention this past week in Denver, and not
surprisingly, the Republicans plan to do the same at their convention
next week. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone reports from Denver.
all the convention speeches and political attacks, balloon drops and
celebrity guests, the presidential election will still boil down to a
simple choice - Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain.
expert Stuart Rothenberg has been watching the Democrats hold their
convention in Denver this week and has been looking ahead to the
general election campaign, which begins in earnest after the Republican
"I do think the election continues to be about
Barack Obama," he said. "The desire for change in the country is
strong, and if Senator Obama can convince most Americans, the majority
of Americans, that he will be a seasoned, sensible, trustworthy leader,
I think they are going to take a chance with him. So far, he hasn't
closed the deal."
Even in Denver, Republicans did all they could
to cast doubt about Obama's political experience, his ability to lead
the country and his readiness to be commander-in-chief.
New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani lost out to John McCain in the
Republican primaries this year, but Giuliani is now going after Obama
as one of McCain's main surrogate campaigners.
"And I think
Senator McCain would keep us on offense against terrorism, and
therefore protect us, and I think Senator Obama would put us back on
defense and that that would be certainly not as safe a situation for
this country," said Giuliani. "Senator Obama's lack of knowledge about
foreign policy is a serious concern.
Democrats are well aware of
the concerns that Obama is simply too inexperienced, especially in the
areas of foreign policy and national security.
Bill Clinton reminded Democrats this week that this year's Republican
attacks on Obama have a familiar ring to them.
"We prevailed in
a hard campaign in which the Republicans said I was too young and too
inexperienced to be commander in chief," he said. "Sound familiar? It
did not work in 1992 because we were on the right side of history, and
it will not work in 2008 because Barack Obama is on the right side of
University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato says the
Democrats will also try to capitalize on Obama's early opposition to
the war in Iraq.
"What the Democrats have been saying is that
experience did not keep us out of an unpopular war and that judgment is
better than experience," he said. "So they are stressing different
parts of Obama's biography."
But McCain supporters are just as
adamant that Obama's plan to withdraw most U.S. combat troops from Iraq
within 16 months is reckless and jeopardizes the hard-won improvements
in security inside Iraq.
Expert Stuart Rothenberg looks for a full week of attacks on Obama at the Republican convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
the McCain folks have been very aggressive in changing that, in putting
the onus on Obama, and I think they will have to continue to be
aggressive," he said. "Because the bottom line is that, although this
race is close, and John McCain could win, Barack Obama has a slight
advantage. And so, McCain has to continue to keep the heat on Obama."
experts agree the economy will be the major issue in the election this
year, and, at the moment, they give Obama and the Democrats an edge in
Recent polls show Obama and McCain in a virtual dead
heat in the race for the White House, with less than 10 weeks to go
until Election Day on November 4.