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Trail Mix 

by TED S. McGREGOR JR. & r & & r & Lights, Camera... & r & & r & Barack Obama's visit to Butte for the Fourth of July was about more than hot dogs and flag-waving. No, it may also be that Butte and Montana's famous Big Sky make for a good backdrop. At least that's what Davis Guggenheim is hoping. Guggenheim is the Academy Award-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth, and he and his crew were tagging along with Obama in Butte, gathering footage for a film that will play at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Filming went on throughout the Fourth, at the picnic Obama attended and later at the Clark Chateau Museum, once home to Butte Copper King William Clark. Guggenheim brought his own son along with him, as there is a family tradition to pass along. Guggenheim's father, Charles, was a filmmaker, too, who documented the life of John F. Kennedy.

Really Not Interested

There's been a lot of speculation -- even in these pages -- that Barack Obama might pick Sen. Jim Webb as his running mate. Webb's from Virginia, a hotly contested state, and he, like John McCain, is a Vietnam War veteran. But earlier this week, Webb took himself out of the running: "Under no circumstances," Webb said, "will I be a candidate for vice president." OK then.

Trouble on the Bus

John McCain has tread a rocky road to the GOP nomination, and the path is getting bumpy again, as yet another campaign staff shakeup has been widely reported. What's odd is that for a campaign seeking to distance itself from President George W. Bush, it's relying more and more on the president's former staffers -- people with close ties to Karl Rove. Steve Schmidt has taken over the McCain campaign, and some longtime McCain loyalists have wondered, off the record, to the New York Times and others whether he's just a frontman for Rove's puppeteering. Nicole Wallace, a veteran of Bush's 2004 reelection and the White House, is also gaining influence.

More Borrowing

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is adding staff from a once-unthinkable place, too -- the Hillary Clinton campaign. First Obama hired ousted Hillary campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, and now he has added two more top Clinton aides, both hired in an effort to win more women's votes in November.
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