One last link
-Obama talked to the voters, McCain talked to the pundits.
-Obama 'won' on the issues that matter most to the voters (namely the economy).
-Obama closed the readiness and leadership gaps.
"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"
Obama brings a Senate aide, McCain brings a campaign adviser. Remind me who's claiming that their campaign is 'suspended' again?
The White House's official list of those planning to attend the hastily-convened meeting called by President Bush this afternoon to discuss the Wall Street bailout bill includes a senior policy adviser to the campaign Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Douglas Holtz-Eakin.
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., had been told not to bring any campaign staff. He will be bringing a member of his Senate staff, Ian Solomon, a legislative assistant focused on economic issues.
His campaign adviser's presence notwithstanding, McCain announced Wednesday that he was suspending his campaign activities to focus on getting the people's business done.
Let me digress for a moment. One of the reasons I probably turned out to be a Democrat is because of Ronald Reagan and Bugs Bunny. When I was a kid, once every now and then, they had Bugs Bunny specials scheduled for prime time ... I looked forward to these for weeks. But invariably, invariably! -- or so it seemed when I was six years old -- they'd be preempted by Ronald Reagan giving a speech. I was sure what Mr. Reagan was saying was very important ... but I absolutely hated him as a result.I will admit, that's about right. I felt the same way about Pee Wee's Playhouse when I was eight years old, and when CBS interrupted it to show live coverage of the Tienamen Square massacre, I was practically in tears. But look at me, now I'm digressing.
Americans feel about the debates they way I felt about Bugs Bunny. The cumulative audience between the three Presidential debates will likely significantly exceed that of the Super Bowl. They like watching them, and look forward to them. If McCain denies them that pleasure, they are likely to be angry with him, perhaps in ways they have difficulty expressing.
Imagine instead if McCain had called on Obama to return to Washington, and also called on him to meet him at Georgetown University on Friday night for a "civil discussion" (a.k.a. a High Noon showdown) on leading America's economy forward. That could have been brilliant. Obama would probably have had to agree to the change of venue and subject matter. McCain would have needed to follow-through by actually winning the debate, but if he had, that would almost certainly have been a game-changer. But that's not what McCain did.And of course this could have happened... but it's not a matter of what McCain did, it's a matter of who McCain is. The simplest explanation tends to be the correct one, and when you sift through everything that happened today, only one conclusion can be drawn:
McCAIN: I don't think so. ... Because I think she did a good job as CEO in many respects. I don't know the details of her compensation package. But she's one of many advisers that I have.This could have come up in a debate about the economy. It seems like the simplest thing to prepare for, the most obvious question that could be posed to McCain were he to take a strong stance against giant severance packages for CEO's. Couple this episode with McCain's recent confusions in areas ranging from Iran's relationship with Al Qaeda to what continent Spain is on, and the reasons why the McCain campaign is chickening out of the debates begin to come into focus.
Q: But she did get a $45 million dollar golden parachute after being fired while 20,000 of her employees were laid off.
McCAIN: I have many of the people, but I do not know the details of what happened.
Obama looks to regain momentum in debate seriesNow I understand that the wire services put out bland "expectations" stories in advance of major events in the campaign (the debates, in this case). But nowhere in this article is there any hint of what has transpired in the past week (the bank failures, the government bailouts, McCain's streak of telling gaffes on the economy, the precipitous decline of Sarah Palin's favorability ratings in the polls, and the steep increase in Obama's standing in the polls vis-a-vis McCain). Surely being in the middle of the largest financial crisis in America in a generation (perhaps longer?) would serve to alter the dynamic of the campaign somewhat?
For Democrat Barack Obama, the three presidential debates that begin Friday are a chance to halt John McCain's momentum, re-establish his image as a refreshing political force and make his case against a third straight Republican presidential term.
For McCain, they provide an opportunity to reinforce voters' doubts about Obama's experience and readiness, and to demonstrate that he's still on top of his game at age 72.
With polls showing the race tight, and the debates expected to draw millions of TV viewers, they could tip the balance on Nov. 4.
Sen. John Thune, a South Dakota Republican who backs McCain, agrees that Obama carries a heavier burden. Obama has not been on the national stage as long as his opponent, Thune said, and voters have a flimsier grasp of who he is.Emphasis mine. Uh, John? I wonder if you have it backwards. Isn't the idea of massaging expectations to scale back those or your own candidate and inflate those of your opponent?
"Obama really has to score a punch," Thune said. "He hasn't closed the deal with a lot of American people."
Thune thinks McCain may benefit from low expectations, because Obama is seen as a great orator, a skill that some voters might associate with televised presidential forums even if the comparison is questionable.
Obama's less-than-overwhelming performances against Hillary Rodham Clinton and other Democrats during the primary season showed that the format "was not his strength," Thune said. On the other hand, he said, McCain "is wily, he's effective, he carries questions well," and may exceed many viewers' expectations.