Mark Halperin’s three things to watch for in presidential politics for Monday, July 14:
1) Take a look at this week’s New Yorker cover – featuring Obama in Muslim garb fist-bumping his wife with an Afro and a machine gun, as an American flag burns in the fireplace. Obama spokesman Bill Burton has condemned the cover, saying “most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.” McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds echoed the same response. Watch to see how this plays out on talk radio, cable TV, and then the evening newscast. It will lead quite a debate – watch to see where that goes.
2) Keep an eye on the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae controversy. Freddie Mac will hold a debt sale this morning, after the Bush Administration announced it’s asking Congress to approve a sweeping rescue package for the mortgage lender giants. Officials say they expect Congress to attach the proposals to a housing bill that could be completed and sent to the White House for sign-off as early as this week. Watch to see how the two presidential campaigns deal with the issue, what this news does on Wall Street, and how that reverberates around.
3) With major developments in Afghanistan and Obama talking about Iraq, the week is wide open. The Illinois Senator is planning a major policy address on Iraq and national security in Washington, D.C. tomorrow. Obama also details his troop withdrawal plan in this morning’s New York Times, calling for a phased redeployment of combat troops within 16 months, with a residual force “to carry out discrete missions.” Lots of other issues have both candidates out on the trail, watch to see how the press and the candidates set the tone. The big story of the week is often established on Monday, let’s see if that happens today as well.