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Opinion: Bad timing for Barack Obama to hobnob with Hollywood celebs?

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The sense is visceral among many Democrats that when John McCain expressed confidence in the ‘fundamentals’ of the economy to start the week, he returned the focus of the presidential race to a fundamental issue that will benefit Barack Obama.

The Democrat’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, certainly thinks so; chatting with reporters today, he said the campaign had been ‘blasted’ back to first principles -- pocketbook concerns.

He made his comment on the Obama flight to Burbank after two days of stumping in Colorado, where the candidate hammered McCain as out of touch with average Americans.

But where was Obama headed after landing in Burbank? To Beverly Hills, for a couple of off-the-charts, star-studded fundraisers (including one headlined by Barbra Streisand).

Axelrod, reporter Michael Finnegan of The Times’ relates, was asked about prospective Republican attacks on Obama for hobnobbing with Hollywood royalty.

“I think [voters] have heard the whole Republican whoop-de-do before, and this time, I don’t think they’re going to subscribe to it, because there’s so much at stake,” he replied. ‘I honestly think that [GOP] efforts to deflect attention from the fundamental situation in our economy are just going to fail.’

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We’ll see, because McCain took a shot at Obama’s evening itinerary as he wrapped up a rally with running mate Sarah Palin in Vienna, Ohio.

“He talked about siding with the people … just before he flew off to Hollywood for a fundraiser with Barbara Streisand and his celebrity friends,” McCain said. ‘Let me tell you, my friends, there is no place I’d rather be than here, with the working men and women of Ohio.”

The Times’ Noam Levey, on the trail with McCain, notes that he made no mention of the well-heeled crowd he mingled with Monday night in Miami at a particularly lucrative fundraiser for his campaign.

-- Don Frederick


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