POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/5

McCain Delivers Flat Speech

Unlike nearly every speaker from last night, Sen. John McCain started his acceptance speech with an appeal to independents and moderate Democrats. He spoke with a very respectful tone when referring to Sen. Barack Obama and his supporters. It’s what he needed to do.

Reinforcing his calmer image were at least two anti-war demonstrators who caused quite a stir in the convention hall. McCain handled it well, creating the opposite effect the protestors wanted. They looked like jackasses, not him.

The most striking thing about the speech was the lack of specifics of what he wants to do as president. When Obama was criticized for not talking specifics, he made sure to dedicate a large part of his acceptance speech to specifics. A McCain presidency seems to be mostly about his character and a few tired Republican ideas, such as school choice, cutting foreign aid and the new favorite, “drill, baby, drill.” 

However, McCain is much stronger when talking about foreign policy and the military. He’s very convincing and reassuring when he talks about hating war and wanting to keep the country safe. It’s as if he knows he’s been too bellicose on the campaign trail so far.

We’ve now heard McCain’s personal story as a prisoner of war dozens of times in just three days. However, it’s truly inspiring. No one would ever doubt that McCain loves his country. 

But no matter the content, McCain had serious delivery problems with this speech. Starting with the awful lime green background (that later turned to blue) and continuing through McCain’s difficulties reading from the teleprompter, the speech was very disjointed and hard to follow. To top it off, the crowd reaction at the end of the speech seemed forced and staged, almost like delegates were reacting to flashing “applause” signs at the side of the stage.

Overall, it was a very mediocre performance. I’m not sure it got the job done.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Honestly, I’ve never paid that much attention to Michelle Obama. Just what little I’ve seen of her and Senator Obama, is that they’re a member of an elitist class… that thinks that they’re uppity.”

— Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), quoted by CQ Politics.

Howey-Gauge Poll: Indiana is Very Close

The latest Howey-Gauge Poll in Indiana shows Sen. John McCain just edging Sen. Barack Obama, 45% to 43% with 11% undecided.

Gallup Tracking: Obama Maintains His Lead

The latest Gallup tracking poll shows Sen. Barack Obama continues to hold a lead over Sen. John McCain, 49% to 42%.

The results, so far, suggest the Republican convention has done little to dent Obama’s national edge. However, the survey was mostly completed before Gov. Sarah Palin gave her speech last night.

Palin the Polarizer

Republican political consultant Mike Murphy finds himself lonely among his fellow GOPers since he doesn’t think Gov. Sarah Palin was a good choice as Sen. John McCain’s running mate.

“I think she’ll ultimately be a polarizer. After last night’s smash, Republicans are in deep love. Nothing thrills ’em like a good ‘us vs. them’ speech. But I’d guess that most Democrats had the opposite reaction. In a year where the Democrat generic numbers are 10+ points better than the Republican, I don’t like the math of a strategy that just polarized the election along party base lines. Among the vital sliver of voters in the middle, I think Palin’s rock solid social conservatism will be a turn off. And while voters may value vision over experience, Palin’s inexperience is a weakness, denying McCain an argument that has been helping him against Obama.”

The Case Against Pundits

Here’s some good advice to consider while you’re watching the convention coverage tonight. 

Palin Attended Five Colleges

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin attended five colleges in six years before graduating in 1987, the Associated Press found. 

The schools: Hawaii Pacific University, North Idaho College, the University of Idaho, Matanuska-Susitna College and then University of Idaho again.

CBS/NYT Poll: McCain Pulls Even With Obama

The presidential race between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain is now even with each getting 42% in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll conducted Monday-Wednesday of this week. Twelve percent are undecided according to the poll, and one percent said they wouldn’t vote.

A poll conducted just last weekend found Obama ahead by eight points, 48% to 40%.

Key finding: McCain has also closed the enthusiasm gap some with Obama, but it still exists. Fifty-five percent of Obama’s supporters are enthusiastic about their choice, and now so are 35% of McCain’s. Last weekend, just 25% of McCain’s supporters were enthusiastic about him, compared to 67% of Obama’s supporters.

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