Staking out the differences between what a Democratic presidential win in 08 would look like during a natural disaster -- remember Katrina? -- compared to a continued Republican White House, Barack Obama ditched his suit, picked up a shovel and started loading up sandbags in a flood zone. On the same day, John McCain attended a private fundraiser in Riverside, California, and blasted a press release of "sympathy" to Midwestern victims of the floods that have devastated crops, homes, churches, businesses, and lives-- most especially in the flood epicenter of Iowa, a 'must-win' battleground state this fall for both McCain and Obama.
"When you look at what's going on in Iowa, this is a catastrophe and we want to minimize damage in communities like Quincy [Ill.] that haven't been hit hard yet like places like Cedar Rapids [Iowa] ...What we really need is more volunteers," said Sen. Obama as he filled sandbags in his home state but keyed-in on Iowa, where floods broke through levees and flooded Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
Sure it was a photo-op but a smart one for the Democratic presumptive.
Obama's on-the-ground humanitarian campaign strategy smartly recalls the shameful days of the Bush administration's criminal mishandling of the Katrina disaster, and Sen. McCain didn't help his chances of winning more hearts and votes in the Hawkeye state with his weak press release that promised to "stand ready to help those in the Midwest to recover and rebuild."
What the hell?
People are dying; three so far.
"I've been sandbagging for three days straight and I can't lift my arms anymore," said Cecilia Haertsch, a theater student who cried as she watched the Iowa Arts Building taken over by the swollen dark water at the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City.
Most of Cedar Rapids' municipal buildings are now subterranean and thousands have been ordered out of their homes in the second largest city in the state.
In the capitol city, one levee collapsed, flooding parts of downtown Des Moines.
According to the Associated Press, over 3 million acres of soybeans and corn have been swept away and fully 16% of Iowa's 25 million acres of tillable farmland is now underwater. In a year of world food shortages nearing crisis levels, America's breadbasket is floating down river.
Sen. Obama was on the scene with the right message, but where was the Republican presumptive?
Sen. McCain was "standing ready" in greeting lines throughout the country, picking up checks to rebuild his presidential campaign and ignoring the hotly contested and swamped Midwestern states so crucial to his success in the 08 election -- Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois -- and the hardest hit, Iowa.
In addition to making an appearance at a flood zone, the front page of Obama's campaign website urged supporters to volunteer: "Your Help is urgently needed by Victims of the Midwest Flood," where supporters can link to the Red Cross and either make monetary donations or donate some back muscle to the cause. There was no similar mention on McCain's website.
In a television cycle consumed by the never-ending sentimental blather on Tim Russert's untimely death, Sen. Obama clearly sandbagged his GOP opponent when Youtube posted his Quincy video clip and the msm finally took a break from the tragic Russert story and played it on-air and on their news crawls.
"OBAMA GAME OVER...he wins the White House 08," was posted by MusicVideo on Youtube.
Whilhelmcoq wrote on YouTube: "That's who we need for our next president, a man who will go out there and get his hands dirty for the American people."
Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Obama campaign will make national emergencies -- and how the president deals with them - part of the 08 campaign debate and that means John McCain better stop "standing ready" and start demonstrating that he cares when Americans are in pain and struggling. Oh, and stop sending out those lame press releases.