Presidential Politics Alive in Mississippi

By: Jon Kalahar Email
By: Jon Kalahar Email

The first-ever presidential debate in Mississippi will take place in two weeks. With the election just six weeks away, the state Republican and Democratic parties are pushing the positives of their candidates. And in some cases, the negatives of their opponent is in the spotlight.

A spirited group of Sen. Barack Obama supporters gathered at the state Capitol Monday to cheer on their candidate. But also to call out his opponent.

"John McCain offers no tangible solution to ease the rise of gasoline prices that plague all of us," said Mississippi Democratic Party chairman Paul Winfield.

State Democrats say Sen. John McCain has surrounded himself with almost two hundred lobbyists for oil, insurance and pharmaceutical corporations who influence his decision making.

"He's deeply vested with Washington lobbyists," said Winfield. "And I think it's critical to the state of Mississippi that we address these issues for all of the hard working, honest Mississippians."

Winfield referred to a report that was put together by the Democratic National Committee.

"This is something the Democratic Party put together, so obviously it's going to have their slant to it. It's nothing but propaganda," said Brad White, chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party.

White says McCain is now topping several polls and the Democrats are worried.

"I think they're grasping at straws," said White.

Nevertheless, both parties say they are excited about the Sept. 26 debate at Ole Miss.

"Unlike McCain, Barack Obama is not in the pockets of D.C. lobbyists," said Winfield.

"Any time we can lay out who we are, and this is what we believe in and the direction we feel like the country should go, and the Democratic Party does the same, we win," White said.

That will be left up to voters. Mississippi Democrats say Republican vice-presidential nominee, Gov. Sarah Palin, has been a distraction for voters from what they call "more of the same" policy McCain will use if elected.

Mississippi Republicans say, since the republican National Convention, it has received more requests for volunteers and cannot keep McCain-Palin campaign signs in stock.

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