On Setting Expectations

Political Insider: The Obama campaign takes the expectations game to a new level.

Most Memorable Debate Moments

With the first presidential debate of the 2008 campaign just hours away, CQ Politics“takes a trip down memory lane” to review some of the more memorable moments of nearly 50 years of televised presidential debates.

Meanwhile, Time compiles the ten best video excerpts.

Democrats Have a Chance at 60 Senate Seats

Charlie Cook says the Senate outlook for Republicans is increasingly bleak and the Democrats goal of 60 Senate seats — to prevent GOP filibusters — “is no longer implausible.”

“Today, holding its losses down to four seats would be manna from heaven for the GOP. Party leaders would take a five- or six-seat loss in stride, given the circumstances. A seven-seat loss would be bad but not shockingly horrible. Even an eight-seat loss is possible if Democrats draw an inside straight, as they did in 2006…”

“The bottom line is that things have gotten worse for Senate Republicans over the past few weeks, so much worse that a magnitude of losses that seemed impossible just a few months ago now seems entirely possible.”

Meanwhile, Stu Rothenberg says three seats could well determine whether the Democrats “can reach that magic number: North Carolina, Minnesota and Mississippi.”

For more, see CQ’s Race Ratings.

Quote of the Day

“It just proves his campaign is governed by tactics and not ideology. In the end, he blinked and Obama did not. The ‘steady hand in a storm’ argument looks now to more favor Obama, not McCain… My guess is that plasma units are rushing to the McCain campaign as we speak to replace the blood flowing there from the fights among the staff.”

— Former McCain adviser Craig Shirley, quoted by the Huffington Post.

Rasmussen: Obama Takes Lead in Virginia

A new Rasmussen Reports poll in Virginia shows Sen. Barack Obama pulling ahead of Sen. John McCain, 50% to 45%, “as the Wall Street financial crunch has put economic concerns front and center.”

Last Sunday, McCain was up two points.

Key findings: “Just nine percent (9%) of Virginia voters rate the economy as good or excellent while 57% say it is in poor shape. Just five percent (5%) say the economy is getting better; 83% say it is getting worse.”

McCain Wins Debate?

Although the first presidential debate doesn’t take place until 9 pm ET, theWashington Post notes the McCain campaign is already running online ads claiming McCain won the debate.

Here’s a screenshot.

McCain Resumes Campaign

Sen. John McCain will resume campaign activities and attend tonight’s debate in Mississippi.

CQ has McCain’s statement.

Update: As McCain leaves for Reagan National Airport to begins his travel to Mississippi, the press pool report says, “General atmosphere is utter confusion.”

Paulson Begs

The New York Times highlights the defining moment of yesterday’s White House meeting on the bank bailout bill when Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson “got down on one knee as he pleaded with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, not to ‘blow it up’ by withdrawing her party’s support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.”

Said Pelosi: “I didn’t know you were Catholic. It’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans.”

Paulson sighed, “I know. I know.”

Detroit Free Press: Obama Way Ahead in Michigan

A new Detroit Free Press poll shows Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain by 13 points, 51% to 38%.

Palin’s Bad Week

First Read: “What has happened to the Sarah Palin who stepped onto the national stage with her well-received convention speech three weeks ago? That person is now a shell of her former self. Had it not been for McCain’s debate gambit, Palin’s near-disastrous two-part interview with Katie Couric would be dominating the political discussion right now. On Wednesday, she was unable to cite an example of McCain being in favor of more oversight outside the one Couric provided (“I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to you,” she finally replied). And yesterday, she provided an interview clip heard ’round the world.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports Palin accepted $25,000 in gifts as Alaska governor, “which brings into question her credentials as a reformer.”

Huckabee Blasts McCain Tactic

Mike Huckabee said that Sen. John McCain made a “huge mistake” by even discussing canceling the presidential debate with Sen. Barack Obama, according to the AP.

Huckabee believes a debate before the American people is “far better than heading to Washington” to huddle with senators.

Diageo/Hotline Poll: Obama Widens Lead

Today’s Diageo/Hotline tracking poll will show Sen. Barack Obama opening up a seven point lead over Sen. John McCain, 49% to 42%.

Key finding: On the economy, Obama has a 48% to 34% advantage over McCain.

Suffolk Poll: Obama Inches Ahead in New Hampshire

A new Suffolk University poll in New Hampshire shows Sen. Barack Obama just edges Sen. John McCain, 46% to 45%.
Said pollster David Paleologos: “Barack Obama continues to show strength in states that historically vote Republican for president. He appears to be benefiting from the Wall Street meltdown.”

Morning Call Poll: Obama Holds Lead in Pennsylvania

A new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll in Pennsylvania shows Sen. Barack Obama ahead of Sen. John McCain, 47% to 43%.

Key findings: “Fully 46 percent of respondents pointed to the ‘economy/jobs’ as the most important issue in their decision on how to vote. And state voters express considerably more trust in Obama to handle fallout from Wall Street, 44 percent to 28 percent.”

Obama Team Heads for Debate, McCain Uncertain

While Sen. John McCain “still has yet to fully commit to the debate” tonight, aides told the New York Times that Sen. Barack Obama “is going regardless and is set to arrive Friday morning.”

Obama’s team “had been left behind in Clearwater where the debate camp was scheduled to resume in advance of Friday’s debate at the University of Mississippi. But since Mr. Obama isn’t coming back to Florida, an Express Jet charter plane was scrambled and is taking the Obama aides… to Memphis” where the group will then drive to Oxford, MS where the debate will be held.

As NBC News notes, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) “called for the debate to go on. The state newspaper was filled with editorials and op-eds urging McCain to show up.”

ABC News reports that if McCain “fails to show up, officials are mulling turning the first presidential debate into a town hall meeting where the Democratic presidential candidate takes questions from the audience and from the debate moderator PBS’s Jim Lehrer.”

McCain’s Temperment Becomes Issue

Sen. John McCain’s “high-wire intervention in the financial crisis is his latest showstopper move – and his riskiest,” Politico observes. “He might succeed, but the candidate’s penchant for the dramatic has also raised anew potentially damaging questions of his age, executive abilities and, most of all, his temperament.”

“McCain’s attempt to shift the argument from the economy to character has, perversely, given Democrats an opening to question his own fitness to lead. Spur-of-the-moment decisions – from his choice of a running mate he hardly knew to his request that the first debate be delayed – reflect an impetuousness he’s tried to associate with Obama’s youth, his critics say, while undercutting his argument that he’s a cool, tested old hand capable of coping with presidential pressure.”

Marc Ambinder: “The CW in Washington this morning is that McCain’s suggestion for the grand, high-stakes summit meeting was the very thing that caused all of Washington to explode.”

Research 2000: McCain Slips in Missouri

A new Research 2000 poll in Missouri finds Sen. John McCain holding a one point lead over Sen. Barack Obama, 47% to 46%.

Last week, McCain was ahead by four points.

Key finding: “A majority of those polled weren’t sure which candidate could best handle the financial crisis. Just over a quarter said they trusted Obama the most, while 20 percent favored McCain.”

Meanwhile, a new SurveyUSA poll in Missouri gives McCain a two point edge, 48% to 46%.


Obama Blasts McCain’s “Political Stunt”

Will the bailout deal stalled in Congress due to opposition from House Republicans, the Obama campaign released the following statement:

“John McCain sought to change the subject from his out-of-touch response to the economic crisis with a big announcement that he was ‘suspending’ his campaign. But the only thing McCain really wants suspended is the American people’s disbelief. In fact, he’s been in full campaign mode the entire time…

“When McCain finally arrived in Washington, almost twenty-four hours after his announcement — and after Congressional leadership announced a deal in principle — he huddled with his lobbyist campaign advisors while his running mate held a political rally and his political spokesmen and surrogates were out in full force, continuing to attack Barack Obama.

“So make no mistake: John McCain did not ‘suspend’ his campaign. He just turned a national crisis into an occasion to promote his campaign. It’s become just another political stunt, aimed more at shoring up the Senator’s political fortunes than the nation’s economy. And it does nothing to help advance this critical legislation to protect the American people during this time of economic crisis.”

Americans Still Want Debate on Friday

A new SurveyUSA poll shows that 75% of Americans say the Friday presidential debate should be held as scheduled while just 23% say the debate should be postponed. 

Strategic Vision: Obama Leads in Michigan, New Hampshire

Political Wire got an advance look at two new Strategic Vision polls which will be released tomorrow:

Michigan: Obama 48%, McCain 45%
New Hampshire: Obama 46%, McCain 45%

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics, Virginia

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