America's new children's bestsellers: Obama and McCain

By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent

It seems that even toddlers are unable to escape the pervasive U.S. elections. Three children's books about the presidential race are expected to be published soon, and tell the stories of the leading candidates. They are written in an endearing style, free of the sarcasm so typical of the grown-up politics.

Later this month the book "Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope" will be published by Simon & Schuster. Nikki Grimes, a children's author and poet, wrote enthusiastically on her website that a book usually takes her 3-6 months to write, but in this case she "miraculously" finished it in just two weeks. It is full of rhyming verses (a bit artificial at times, to be honest), descriptions of the exotic countries that little Obama visited, and conversation "Barry" the kid holds with hope.

Even God himself talks to Barry while he's in church on Sunday, telling him: "Look around you. Now look to me. There is hope enough here to last a lifetime." The heartbreaking ending reads as follows: "Barack smiled, tears rolling down his cheeks. Suddenly he knew for certain hope would last long enough for him to make a difference."
"I know one thing," concludes Grimes on her website. "Come November, Barack Obama has got my vote! And no matter what happens in the election, he is a man who has made history: the first man of color to win a major party nomination for President of the United States."

A short while later the children's book "My Father, John McCain", written by the candidate's 23-year-old daughter Meghan, will be published.

If it's broken

U.S. Republican presidential hopeful John McCain is trying to distinguish himself from the legacy of the highly unpopular President George Bush. To this end, his team has decided to capitalize on his unconventional image.
His new television advert starts with a black-and-white shot of the Capitol building. "Washington?s broken," it says. "John McCain knows it. We?re worse off than we were four years ago. Only McCain has taken on big tobacco, drug companies, fought corruption in both parties. He?ll reform Wall Street, battle Big Oil, make America prosper again."

One of McCain's potential running mates, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, put the Republican Party in an awkward position on Tuesday when she complimented Democratic candidate Barack Obama's newly unveiled energy policy.

"I am pleased to see Senator Obama acknowledge the huge potential Alaska?s natural gas reserves represent in terms of clean energy and sound jobs," she said in a press release.

She also spoke in favor of Obama's proposal to offer $1,000 rebates to those struggling with the high cost of energy.

"This is a tool that must be on the table to buy us time until our long-term energy plans can be put into place," she said. "It is gratifying to see Senator Obama get on board."