Thursday, October 09, 2008

John McCain suffers from aides*

A few days ago, this:

“McCain is fantastic at town halls,” a McCain aide claimed. “We normally go through an expectations-lowering game before debates, but he excels at this format.”

And then this:

CNN's poll of debate-watchers found 54% said Mr Obama had done the best job, compared with 30% for Mr McCain.
CBS's poll of undecided voters suggested 39% thought Mr Obama the winner, with 27% for Mr McCain

Oops. That aide needs firing.

Nationally, Obama’s lead seems to be holding up well since the Republicans started going personally negative at the weekend. And he’s been clocking up impressive leads in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and New Jersey, with Colorado and Ohio edging in his direction too. Things look better for him now than when I did my number-crunching on Saturday.

McCain can’t just blame his aides. Or the economy. He and Palin are consistently failing to change the weather in this campaign. We can expect things to get pretty nasty – this will be a sign of desperation, but it also could well work.

It’s possible, though, they they may have left it too late to effectively smear Obama. In 2004, the ‘swiftboating’ of John Kerry played a key role in his defeat, but back then the campaign attacking his war record was well into its stride by early August. These things take time to build. Also, back then, the attacks came from an officially independent ‘527 group’ rather than the Bush campaign itself. This time, it looks as though McCain and Palin are risking getting their own hands dirty. That could backfire.

* Yes, yes, it’s a tasteless pun. I blame TV.

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