POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/6

Obama Stalls in Polls

“In the two months since Barack Obama captured the Democratic nomination, he has hit a ceiling in public opinion, proving unable to make significant gains with any segment of the national electorate,” according to Politico.

While Obama still leads in most match ups, it “is a sobering reminder to Democrats intoxicated with his campaign’s promises to expand the electoral map beyond the boundaries that have constrained other recent party nominees.”

Insiders Suggest Obama’s Pick Not Coming Soon

Obama aides tell the Financial Times that “it is unlikely a running mate will be selected before the candidate returns from a week’s holiday in Hawaii, which starts this Friday. That leaves about 10 days until the start of the Democratic party convention in Denver.”

They also say it’s not likely to be leaked. “In addition to Michelle Obama, the candidate’s inner circle consists of just three people: David Axelrod, his senior strategist, David Plouffe, his campaign manager, and Robert Gibbs, a senior adviser. All three are intensely loyal and discreet Obama professionals.”

Nonetheless, the newspaper suggest Sen. Hillary Clinton “has made a comback” in recent days and may be on the short list.

Veep Choices Matter

A sneak preview of the latest CBS News poll finds that 67% of Americans say their vote for president will be based mostly on the candidate himself, but 30% say their running mate choices will have a great deal of influence on their decision. That’s twice the number who said the veep picks would matter in 2000.

The complete results of the poll will be released tonight.

Number Three Shot at Number Two Spot

“Officially, Barack Obama will deliver an energy-policy speech Wednesday to citizens in Elkhart, Ind. But the focus of the political chattering class will be on the man sitting shotgun at the event: Evan Bayh, the Indiana senator thought to be on the likely Democratic presidential nominee’s short list of vice-presidential candidates,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Sen. Bayh is also a known commodity. He was under consideration for the No. 2 job — and presumably vetted for the position — by the previous two Democratic presidential nominees, Al Gore and John Kerry.”

However, Bayh tells the Indianapolis Star that Obama has not asked him to be his running mate and does not expect him to.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I asked Barack what he wanted for his birthday. ‘Just three things: Indiana, Colorado, and Virginia.'”

— Sen. John Kerry, quoted by the Politicker.

Dems Need To “Suck It Up” On Race

The following guest post is from Dan Conley, a former speechwriter for Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder.

The McCain campaign won an important battle last week, goading Barack Obama into a defense of his candidacy that ventured into racial politics. Even though his quote about people on the dollar bill was likely inspired by a web commercial by a McCain supporter that transposed Obama’s face onto a hundred dollar bill, Obama should have known better.  When it comes to General Election swing voters, race is a losing issue for Obama.

It wasn’t the case in the Democratic primaries, at least in the critical mid-section of the race.  All Democrats like to think of themselves as champions of America’s minorities, whether they’ve actually done anything to improve the status of minority groups or not.  The most prominent of those Democrats – former President Bill Clinton — still bears a grudge about the way the primary campaign played out – he even took the opportunity to pile onto Obama’s bad week by bringing up his racial attitudes and how they were portrayed during the primaries, giving more ammunition to McCain.

Over the next three months, it is highly likely that McCain or his surrogates will make statements that could be interpreted as racial code words.  My advice to Obama’s campaign and his supporters – suck it up.  You’re not going to change American racial attitudes in this campaign and you’re not doing Barack Obama any favors by making this election about race.  If Republicans want to play it that way, let them.  Just keep turning the focus back to the issues and force voters to decide whether to vote their hopes or their fears.  Merely electing Obama is change enough, don’t expect to change the way Americans think and talk.

Looking Out for Number Two

Dan Balz: “Tracking the vice presidential sweepstakes is always an exercise in chasing ghosts, but perhaps never more so than in this year’s campaign. Those who know what’s going on generally don’t talk and those who don’t know often do, leaving hungry journalists to speculate with partial or perhaps even incorrect information about the state of play.”

AP Poll: Obama Leads By Six Points

A new AP/Ipsos poll shows Sen. Barack Obama is ahead of Sen. John McCain by six points nationally, 47% to 41%.

Key findings: McCain is leading by 10 points among whites and is even with Obama among men, groups with whom Republicans traditionally do well in national elections. Obama leads by 13 points among women, by 30 points among voters up to age 34, and by 55 points among blacks, Hispanics and other minorities.

Quote of the Day

“If you’ve got Michelle as first lady, and Malia and Sasha running around on the South Lawn, that changes how America looks at itself.”

— Sen. Barack Obama, in an interview with Essence magazine.

Kennedy Will Skip Convention

According to the AP, Sen. Ted Kennedy taped a five minute video presentation for the Democratic National Convention, suggesting he will not make an appearance as he continues treatment for a brain tumor.

SurveyUSA: McCain Ahead in Florida

A new SurveyUSA poll in Florida finds Sen. John McCain leading Sen. Barack Obama by six points, 50% to 44%.

Key findings: “Among voters younger than Barack Obama, Obama leads by 5 points. Among voters older than John McCain, McCain leads by 13. Among voters in-between their ages, McCain leads by 14. Among white voters, McCain leads by 19 points. Among black voters, Obama leads by 68. Hispanics favor Obama by 60 points. McCain leads among both men and women, among both college grads and non-college grads, among both those who earn less than $50,000 a year and among those who earn more than $50,000 a year.”

All About Obama

The Boston Globe portrays the official blogs of Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama as “a pile of words” and finds that they’re really both about Obama.

Pelosi Urges Some Dems to Back Drilling

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is urging some at-risk House Democratic to back offshore oil drilling, according to Politico

“The strategy according to Democratic aides: Pelosi takes the heat on energy policy, while behind the scenes she’s encouraging vulnerable Democrats to express their independence if it helps them politically.”

“Pelosi’s gambit rests on one big assumption: that Democrats will own Washington after the election and will be able to craft a sweeping energy policy that is heavy on conservation and fuel alternatives while allowing for some new oil drilling. Democrats see no need to make major concessions on energy policy with a party poised to lose seats in both chambers in just three months — even if recess-averse Republicans continue to pound away on the issue.”

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