POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/2

McCain Gives Up on Michigan

Sen. John McCain “is pulling out of Michigan,” reports Jonathan Martin, “a stunning move a month away from Election Day that indicates the difficulty Republicans are having in finding blue states to put in play.”

“McCain will go off TV in Michigan, stop dropping mail there and send most of his staff to more competitive states, including Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida.”

Democracy Corps: Obama Leads in Ohio

A new Democracy Corps poll in Ohio shows Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain, 49% to 43%.

Advice for Tonight

George Stephanopolous offers some pointers for tonight’s vice presidential debate:

For Sarah Palin: “Enjoy yourself. You’re the candidate facing the most pressure tonight…this debate is about you. Given the fact that 6 out of 10 Americans don’t think you are qualified and a third polled now say they are less likely to vote for John McCain because you are on the ticket, you can’t afford to make a mistake tonight. But the mistake is if you are so tightly wound that you freeze up. Your mantra: while risky, your best hope is to enjoy yourself. Embrace this, bask in the national spotlight, don’t be afraid. It’s better to risk a mistake by being who you are than to look so frightened that you freeze up.”

For Joe Biden: “Restrain yourself. It’s only natural for you to want to show how much you’ve done and how much you know. But a little bit of that can go a long way. Everyone will be on alert for overbearing, condescending or patronizing moments. People are lying in wait to call you sexist, so restrain yourself. Remember the opponent is McCain and the goal tonight is to make your case as clearly and simply as you can. When in doubt, say nothing. Less is more.”

As Palin Sinks, Obama Surges

Public Policy Polling surveyed four states immediately after the Republican convention and then again three weeks later. In those states, Gov. Sarah Palin’s favorability has dropped by a net average of 12 points, and Sen. Barack Obama’s standing in the horse race has improved by an average of seven points.

Florida Republicans Hold Secret Meeting

“Florida Republican leaders hastily convened a top secret meeting this week to grapple with Sen. John McCain’s sagging performance in this must-win state,” the St. Petersburg Times reports.

“Their fears were confirmed Wednesday when four new polls showed Sen. Barack Obama leading, a reversal from just a few weeks ago when McCain was opening up an advantage.”

PPP Poll: Obama Expands Lead in Michigan

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Michigan shows Sen. Barack Obama has opened up a ten point lead over Sen. John McCain, 51% to 41%.

The two main factors:

  • 69% of Michigan voters — higher than in any other competitive state PPP has polled — list the economy as their top issue. Obama has a 54% to 37% lead with those respondents
  • Sarah Palin has also seen her popularity in the state decline by 14 points over the last three weeks

McCain’s Anger

David Nather reports on Sen. Barack Obama’s attempt last night to greet Sen. John McCain on the Senate floor by offering his hand.

“McCain shook it, but with a ‘go away’ look that no one could miss. He tried his best not to even look at Obama. Finally, with a tight smile, McCain managed a greeting: ‘Good to see you.'”

Marc Ambinder: “If there’s one thing that worries Republican strategists more than the polls today, even more than the listlessness of the Republican Party, it is that Sen. McCain seems flustered, angry, inconsistent-in-tone, and his campaign seems angry and off-kilter.  His refusal to look at Obama during last week’s debate was evident in just about every clip.”

Presidential Race at a Tipping Point

Chuck Todd on MSNBC this morning:

“All the trend lines are pointing in Obama’s direction… This should really scare the McCain campaign. This thing — it’s at a tipping point. And this debate, frankly, is coming at good time for McCain because he needs something — anything — to stop this Obama momentum… The pressure is all on Sarah Palin, not just for her own persona, but to save the McCain campaign… I think Virginia, frankly, is a trailing indicator of the national numbers… John McCain is campaigning in Missouri later this week. That’s not a good sign. You shouldn’t have to be worrying about Missouri at this point.”

The Vice Presidential Debate

Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin meet tonight in St. Louis for their first and only vice presidential debate at 9 pm ET.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch previews the event: “Although Obama and McCain have three debates of their own, it’s the vice presidential face-off that has taken on the aura of the marquee event… And most of the credit goes to the Alaska governor, a virtual unknown before she was selected five weeks ago as McCain’s running mate.”

Biden’s challenge: “Biden — a master of televised bombast as a two-time presidential candidate and assertive Senate committee chairman — faces the challenge to find his footing as a secondary figure on stage, balancing the roles of foil, inquisitor, and bystander,” according to the Boston Globe.

Palin’s challenge: A new Washington Post/ABC poll finds that six in 10 voters see Palin “as lacking the experience to be an effective president, and a third are now less likely to vote for McCain because of her.”

The bottom line: “Let’s face it: After what has happened in the past two weeks, Palin needs a solid performance against Biden to be taken seriously as a major political figure, let alone a heartbeat away from the presidency,” First Read notes. “Tonight is about one person, Sarah Palin. If for some reason the post-debate chatter isn’t about Palin, then Biden had himself one bad night.”

McCain Gambits Cause Long Term Problems

In the first presidential debate, Sen. John McCain chided Sen. Barack Obama for not knowing the difference between a tactic and a strategy. Time is just as critical of McCain in how he’s run his campaign. 

“Even if such attacks could potentially give McCain a brief boost, it’s not at all clear that they would help for the long haul. After all, since mid-summer, the Arizona senator has effectively dominated the day-to-day media narrative through a series of surprising, bold and, to some, reckless tactical moves designed to keep his opponent on the ropes. Whether he’s been depicting Barack Obama as Paris Hilton, selecting the little known governor of Alaska as his running mate, manufacturing the lipstick-on-a-pig contretemps, or, most recently, ‘suspending’ his campaign to tend to the financial crisis, McCain has consistently garnered the headlines and forced his opponent to respond.” 

“Each of the bold moves brought McCain short-term political gain, throwing the often unflappable Obama off his stride and keeping the Republican nominee very much in the presidential hunt in a dismal year for Republicans. But the tactics also each contained the potential for long-term political costs by distracting from, or eroding, the central McCain message.” 

The Obama Channel

Ben Smith reports that Channel 73 on the Dish Network is now The Obama Channel. It’s part of an effort by the campaign to find voters in the oddest of places.

The channel plays his two-minute ad laying out his economic plan on a loop, over and over.

Now McCain Gets His History Wrong

This morning on Fox News, Sen. John McCain tried to slam Sen. Joe Biden by saying at least Gov. Sarah Palin knows President Franklin Roosevelt “didn’t talk to the American people over television.”

While Biden wrongly said last week that FDR addressed the American people on television after the 1929 stock market crash, McCain is wrong that FDR didn’t talk to the American people over television.

Roosevelt was the first president to appear on television when he spoke at the opening session of the New York World’s Fair on April 30, 1939. The first presidential address from the White House was by President Harry Truman on Oct. 5, 1947.

Best American Political Writing 2008

Best American Political Writing 2008 (Best American Political Writing)In the mail: Best American Political Writing 2008 edited by Royce Flippin.

The book draws from a variety of publications and political viewpoints to present the year’s most insightful, entertaining, and thought-provoking pieces on the current political scene.

After a year like this one, you can’t miss this book. It’s a must read.

Strategic Vision: Obama Holds Big Lead in Wisconsin

A new Strategic Vision poll in Wisconsin finds Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain, 49% to 40%.

Research 2000: McCain Barely Ahead in Indiana

A new Research 2000 poll in Indiana shows Sen. John McCain holding a one point lead over Sen. Barack Obama, 46% to 45%.

Said pollster Del Ali: “This means McCain’s got to spend time and resources in a state that he really could count on surrogates to do. If McCain’s got to spend time in Indiana (from) Oct. 15 on, that’s an impending electoral disaster for him.”

Suffolk Poll: Obama Leads in Florida

A new Suffolk University poll in Florida finds Sen. Barack Obama moving into the lead over Sen. John McCain, 46% to 42%.

The Wall Street crisis appears to be helping Obama. When asked which, if any, political party was to blame for the crisis, 39% blamed the Republicans, 19% blamed Democrats, 24% said neither and 17% were undecided.

Research 2000: Obama Way Ahead in Iowa

A new Research 2000 poll in Iowa finds Sen. Barack Obama running away from Sen. John McCain, 55% to 39%.

Most recent polling has shown Obama with significant leads over McCain, but this margin is larger than that found in other polls.

New National Polls

A couple of new national polls pick up the same trends we’ve seen in others released over the last two days.

CBS News/New York Times: Obama 50%, McCain 41%

“While no single factor can account for Obama’s increased lead, both the financial crisis and the first presidential debate may have benefited the Democratic presidential nominee.”

AP/GfK: Obama 48%, McCain 41%

“Obama was lifted by voters who think the Democrat is better suited to lead the nation through its sudden financial crisis.”

Palin Blanks

Here’s a partial transcript of the latest from Katie Couric’s interview with Gov. Sarah Palin that aired on the CBS Evening News tonight:

COURIC: Do you think there’s an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?
 
PALIN: I do. Yeah, I do.
 
COURIC: the cornerstone of Roe v Wade
 
PALIN: I do. And I believe that –individual states can handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in in an issue like that.
 
COURIC: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?
 
PALIN: Well, let’s see. There’s –of course –in the great history of America rulings there have been rulings, that’s never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are–those issues, again, like Roe v Wade where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know–going through the history of America, there would be others but–
 
COURIC: Can you think of any?
 
PALIN: Well, I could think of–of any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a Vice President, if I’m so privileged to serve, wouldn’t be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today.

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

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