POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/31

PPIC: Obama Holds Large Lead in California

The latest Public Policy Institute of California survey shows Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain in the nation’s most populous state, 50% to 35%.

Key findings: “Obama is the choice of men, women, and Latinos, while whites are divided (43% Obama, 41% McCain).  McCain has strong support (72%) among Republicans.  Regardless of who they support, likely voters trust Obama over McCain to handle environmental issues (52% to 28%) and energy policy (51% to 33%).”

Quote of the Day

“We want to have a serious debate. But so far, we’ve been hearing about Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. I do have to ask my opponent: is that the best you can come up with? Is that really what the election is about?”

— Sen. Barack Obama, during a speech in Cedar Rapids, IA.

McCain’s Desperate Ad Strategy

Business Week‘s marketing and advertising correspondent David Kiley notes that Sen. John McCain’s recent ad asserting that Sen. Barack Obama wouldn’t visit wounded troops in Germany unless cameras were allowed “is a lie. It’s a blatant lie.”

“What the McCain campaign doesn’t want people to know, according to one GOP strategist I spoke with over the weekend, is that they had an ad script ready to go if Obama had visited the wounded troops saying that Obama was…wait for it…using wounded troops as campaign props. So, no matter which way Obama turned, McCain had an Obama bashing ad ready to launch. I guess that’s political hardball. But another word for it is the one word that most politicians are loathe to use about their opponents — a lie.”

McCain’s Relationship With Press Sours

Todd Purdum, who has been traveling with Sen. John McCain, says the Arizona’s senator’s once warm relationship with the press has cooled considerably as his aides force him to stay on message.

“It’s a far cry from when I last spent quality airtime with McCain, in the fall of 2006, as we logged thousands of miles over several days in small planes, often with no traveling companions but each other. No topic was off-limits, and virtually no answer was off the record.”

Purdum also reports that McCain is struggling “at having to rein in his natural instincts, in no small part because he well knows that it was his close relationship with the media that kept him alive a year ago when so much of the smart money — and so many of the big mouths — in his party had left him for dead.”

Obama’s Short List Not So Short

Sen. Barack Obama’s vice presidential vetting process “has moved into a new stage in which a larger than previously reported group of candidates is being exposed to a ‘deeper dig’ into their backgrounds,” according to the Washington Post.

“The hard vetting involves follow-ups to lingering questions about candidates’ backgrounds and clarifications of their stands on issues. While the process is intensifying, the fact that the number of potential candidates still being considered is larger than generally believed, suggests that no decision is imminent, just 26 days before the opening of the Democratic National Convention.”

The Art of the Leak

Democratic strategist Tad Devine explains how a political campaign can get damaging information out to the public without harming the reputation of their candidate.

McCain Has Trouble Using Agressive Campaign Tactics

As Election Day nears, Sen. John McCain’s campaign “is adopting the aggressive, take-no-prisoners style of Karl Rove,” the Washington Post reports. 

“But the sharp-edged approach is being orchestrated for an unpredictable candidate who often chafes at delivering the campaign’s message of the day. It is that freewheeling style that has made him popular with voters and cemented his reputation for candor and straight talk.”

In fact McCain “makes his advisers cringe as he delivers the attack line — and then keeps talking.”

However, Politico highlights the bigger problem: “Some of McCain’s most visible and engaged advisers have advanced positions that appear to conflict with the Arizona senator’s stances on hot-button topics ranging from climate change and oil drilling to tax cuts, contraception and education.”

Gates Pushes for “Creative Capitalism”

Bill Gates: “Capitalism has improved the lives of billions of people — something that’s easy to forget at a time of great economic uncertainty. But it has left out billions more… Governments and non-profit groups have an irreplaceable role in helping them, but it will take too long if they try to do it alone. It is mainly corporations that have the skills to make technological innovations work for the poor. To make the most of those skills, we need a more creative capitalism: an attempt to stretch the reach of market forces so that more companies can benefit from doing work that makes more people better off. We need new ways to bring far more people into the system — capitalism — that has done so much good in the world.”

Quinnipiac: Obama Stays On Top in Key Swing States

The latest Quinnipiac Swing State Polls are out:

  • Florida: Obama leads McCain, 46% to 44%
  • Ohio: Obama leads McCain, 46% to 44%
  • Pennsylvania: Obama leads McCain, 49% to 42%
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