.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Here's a question I haven't seen asked.

Why did the McCain campaign feel the need to feed a frontpage story to the WaPo announcing that they were going to start attacking next Wednesday? Why pre-announce it now, and give the Obama camp the chance to get on the air first?
His campaign is going up Monday on national cable stations with a scathing ad saying: “Three quarters of a million jobs lost this year. Our financial system in turmoil. And John McCain? Erratic in a crisis. Out of touch on the economy. No wonder his campaign wants to change the subject.

“Turn the page on the financial crisis by launching dishonorable, dishonest ‘assaults’ against Barack Obama. Struggling families can't turn the page on this economy, and we can't afford another president who is this out of touch.”

....“I'm Barack Obama and I approved this message.”

(Later:Here's the ad.)

So why would they pre-announce? 1) Are they trying to lay the groundwork so that a sudden negative jolt doesn't seem so jarring? 2) Did they feel the need to send out a message of "fighting and not giving up" to their supporters as McCain went into seclusion for two days? 3) Are they trying to set up the debate somehow? 4) Are they trying to get the media to write groundwork stories for them? 5) Maybe they want Palin to trial balloon some attacks while McCain is off the trail, but they had to pre-announce the strategy so no one thought she'd gone off on her own?

It just seems odd to me. Any other ideas? Help me here.

Later: As Praguetwin points out, doesn't telegraphing make it less effective, making it look more like the cynical strategy of a losing campaign? (Especially when your campaign staff issues quotes saying that's exactly what you're doing.)

Later: Apparently, Karl Rove agrees with me. (shiver.)


It's funny, no one is saying "Let McCain be McCain" anymore.

Picture of the Day - 2

(Senator John McCain's motorcade makes its way from his residence to a hotel for debate preparation in Sedona, Arizona October 4, 2008. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder))

Stray thought.....

What if the Republicans shout terrorist, and no one cares?

The secondary election story.....

Two pieces today on the Republican concerns that they could be facing a downballot bloodbath this year. WaPo this morning. Politico this afternoon.


McCain's not losing this race by one or two battleground states, places where he can pour in resources to make up a few points. He's losing this election across the board, and he needs 4-6 points in the national polls to even start to look competitive.

That's a different (and bigger) kinda problem 30 days out.

(The tracking polls are still at 6-8%, and McCain's off the trail today and tomorrow. Obama's in Virginia.)

Picture of the Day

Desperately trying to sell enthusiasm.

(Senator John McCain takes the stage for a town hall meeting in Pueblo, Colorado October 3, 2008. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder))

OMG!!! McCain is going negative!!!!! (The last Obama fret?)

Of course they're going negative. What did you think was going to happen?

The real trick is in managing the timing and the tone of the effort.They have to make sure they're clear of the bailout bill, and work around the debates. (Don't want your candidate getting blasted at a debate over negativity.) On the other hand, every day they wait is a day that voter opinion concrete-izes.

The WaPo 's "OMG!!! They're going negative" piece suggests that they're going to wait until after Tuesday's debate to launch.

Coupled with this bit from the AFP, the strategy seems to lay itself out.
And with more bad news on the economic front, McCain was to retreat to his Arizona ranch for the weekend, in a highly unusual disappearing act at the height of the campaign.

It seems the clear plan is to let the bailout/economic news wend itself out over the weekend, and then try to "relaunch the campaign" starting with Tuesday night's debate. (The format for the Tuesday debate is a "townhall" format with preselected questions from the audience where the McCain campaign feels their candidate does the best.)

That's alot of pressure on one debate, and if the media catches on to this "big debate" theory, the expectations could work as much against them as for them. It sets up very high expectations for McCain in a format where lots of negative (even if it's framed as "contrast") traditionally doesn't poll very well. (Look at the feedback polls on the first two debates. Attacks polled negatively among undecideds and those in the middle.)

McCain's task is to change the entire narrative in one debate.

Alas, it's one more gamble......

Also, just as a general response to a switch to strong negative. I think they have to be a little careful. With people so worried about jobs and the economy, a jolting switch to negative might well come off as "off tone," you know?

But at the same time, they're running out of space, so they have to get there as quickly as they can.

The questions are, "how does the media cover the negative? Do they cover it as literal or do they frame it as the tactic of a losing and desperate campaign?," "In a time of economic crisis, how do Americans perceive the negative?," and, "How solid is the trend towards Obama?"

We'll have to wait and see. This is pretty much the last swing of the bat, and the McCain camp is pretty far behind.

(PS. ....because the bad economic news is over?)

(I spent way too much time on this post, and I still don't think it's very good. I may rewrite it this afternoon.)


Maybe "the negative" is as much about firing up the base......

Friday, October 03, 2008

McCain is laying it all on Minnesota?

I don't know, but with Minnesota close, here's a funfact.
Overall, in the week ended 9/30, Obama spent about 2.5x as much as John McCain on advertising..... But in Minnesota, McCain outadvertised Obama better than 3:1. In fact, Minnesota was the only state in the entire country where McCain out-advertised Obama.

And here's the useful source post on which that claim rests which looks at geographic campaign spending more broadly. (Well worth a read.)

I'd be really curious to know the Obama fundraising status.

Picture of the Day - 2

(Senator Barack Obama greets the residents of Glenside, Pennsylvania, after buying a bouquet of white roses in the town for his wife Michelle on the occasion of their 16th wedding anniversary, October 3, 2008. (REUTERS/Jason Reed))

A blistering review of McCain's field offices

Sean Quinn at 538 has a blistering review of the McCain field offices (ground game) in a series of west/midwest states.

(538 is definitely pro-Obama, but generally pretty straight.)

Vapor II

The VP debate is already down to the #5 story on the AP, #4 on Reuters, tucked in a box down the NYTimes webfront, and down to a small fourth story on the WaPo's front page.

It's already disappearing.

(Another McCain chance gone. Another 4 days gone. And the polls are where they are.)


As the presidential candidates pull back in states, suddenly all those locals concerned with downballot races have new problems (like losing their nationally funded, planned, and managed turnout operation 30 days before the election.)

Picture of the Day

(Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin winks as she speaks during the vice presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite))

Best mainstream quote so far?

Politico's John Harris and Mike Allen.
For the Alaska governor, it was policy as a second language — adequate, but not enlightening.


It's my sense that debate didn't matter at all. Palin did rehab her image a bit which is especially important so the Republican base doesn't feel embarrassed anymore, but I don't think there was anything in that debate that will last.

My takeaways? Palin's negativity and attacking tone. I don't really remember anything too specific, but her stance was clear.

On Biden, the tearful moment about his wife, and the soundbite perfect indictment of John McCain as not "maverick."

But the bottom line is that there were no great memories, and nothing that moved votes. The bailout vote is today in the House, the next Presidential debate is Tuesday. I don't think there's anything lasting about that debate at all. It's vapor.

(4 more days gone for McCain.)

I'd bet the McCain campaign decision to pull out of Michigan has a longer shelf life.

Opening stunt

After coming out and asking "live mic" "can I call you Joe?," my impression was that she never did. The NYTimes says she used "Joe" just three times, once in that question.

Picture of the Day

I thought this was an interesting photo in the "seasoned vet taking control of the space" kinda way.

(Senator Joe Biden rests his hands on Piper Palin, daughter of Republican vice presidential nominee Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, after the U.S. vice presidential debate in St. Louis, Missouri October 2, 2008. (REUTERS/Jim Young))

Thursday, October 02, 2008

First response?

I'm not a good judge of this. My first impressions are very different from what I'm hearing on my TV. (The heads and the CNN focus group seem to be giving it all to Biden... all to Biden. Wait for the snap polls.)

Help me. What did you think?

CNN snap poll: Biden 51/Palin 368. (Not weighted for party.)

And Palin went from 42 to only 46 on "ready to be President."

CBS snap poll: Uncommitted voters Biden 46/Palin 21/Draw 33.

Before the debate, 79% thought Biden was "knowledgeable," after the debate 98% had that opinion.

Later: The quick consensus seems to be that Palin did well for the base, but didn't reach any new voters. So, the race is likely unchanged.

The House votes on the bailout bill tomorrow, so back to the economy. Nothing huge, so this will all likely be vapor.

McCain's map, as layed out by his campaign strategists

If you're watching the electoral map, take a minute to read this Politico piece where the McCain folks describe their path to victory.
Sen. John McCain now must win Pennsylvania, Wisconsin or Minnesota in order to get enough electoral votes to win the presidency, his campaign says." (Using McCain friendly RCP ,
Pa (Obama +7.9,) Wis (Obama + 5.0,) Minn (Obama +5.7.))....

McCain figures that winning one of those three big remaining swing states, plus those he considers safe, would put him 10 shy of the 270 electoral votes he needs to win.

“We can dig up an additional 10 electoral votes in Nevada, Colorado, and New Hampshire,” the official said. (Nv 5 EV (Obama +0.5,)

Co 9 EV (Obama +4.4,) NH 4 EV (Obama +1.3))

And that assumes McCain wins Ohio (Obama +2,) Florida (Obama +3,) Missouri (McCain +1.7,) Virginia (Obama +2.4,) and North Carolina (Obama +0.5) all without a single miss.

Picture of the Day - 2

They're trotting out every trick for a sympathetic image tonight. Live news crews covering her arrival holding her sick little baby.

(When was the last time you saw her holding her son?)

(Palin arriving in St. Louis for the debate. (AFP/Robyn Beck))


It sure would be funny if people on the left started (en masse) shipping "stress balls" to the McCain headquarters.

McCain struggles with the map.

McCain withdraws from Michigan. Ambinder has more. (The day after automakers posted record losses.)

And, Cillizza says it might be a sign that public funding is putting pressure on McCain.

I think it's notable that he's pulling the staff back to Ohio and Fla where he has to win (defensive.)

Also: Florida GOP holds a secret (panic) meeting on McCain.

Are these the stories McCain wanted framing the debate coverage?

Thought for the day

Joe Biden is being sexist if he comes across as too competent.

Pre-spinning hard

Today, McCain picked up the criticism of Gwen Ifill. The McCain campaign is pushing this bias storyline really hard.

What that tells me is that they're trying to inoculate Palin against mistakes and bad impressions from moderator followups probing for answers.

(It was the followups in the Couric interviews that killed her.)


All the discussion of John McCain's "anger" and his "erratic behavior" have turned the campaign away from a referendum on Obama where the Republicans wanted it.

Picture of the Day

(Senator John McCain poses for a photograph with six month old Harper Yatesat the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, October 1, 2008. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder))

Stray thoughts on the debate

Palin has to do well enough to separate her image from Tina Fey.

If Obama had picked Clinton for VP, McCain wouldn't have picked Palin, but, just for grins, imagine what Hillary Clinton would do to Sarah Palin in a debate.

An ABC/WaPo poll supports the idea that Palin's image is falling.


After the "suspension" gambit, this goes without much mention?
McCain's decision not to speak on the bill in the Senate chamber was odd for a candidate who took the legislation so seriously that he had suspended his campaign and suggested what became a bipartisan White House meeting on the matter.

The ISI was trying to assassinate figures in the Afghani government?

We knew that the ISI was connected to the Taleban, but this is another level. (from a leaked Spanish government report.)
(In 2005) The Pakistani agency, known as the ISI, planned to have the Taliban use the explosives "to assassinate high-ranking officials" in Afghanistan, the report said.

A key moment in Iraq

The Iraqi government has begun to take control of the US bought Sunni militias in Iraq. This is a big deal because the Shia government has shown interest in castrating these groups and the Sunnis have threatened to go back to insurgency.

So I guess it's no surprise that Sunni insurgents are trying to widen the gap by bombing outside two Baghdad Shia mosques, killing at least 17.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The pre-debate spin

Just noticing the McCain campaign has rolled out Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and every other top level surrogate they can find today to claim a media double standard on Palin.

They're also, now famously, attacking moderator Gwen Ifill.

They're throwing every chip they have to try and pre-spin this debate as unfair.

Let that inform you in any way that it does.

Picture of the Day - 3

(Joe Biden greets young supporters during a rally at Detroit Public Library in Detroit. (AFP/Emmanuel Dunand))

The polling is the story today.....

Add to the earlier polling posts, this group of CNN/OPR state polls.
Florida 51/47
Minn. 54/43
Nevada 51/47
Virginia 53/44

Even Missouri. Obama 49/48.

"Obama has gained ground among moderates in all five states."

Also, a new AP/Gfk national today, Obama 48/41.

Later, a new CBS/NYTimes national, Obama 49/40.

It's also notable that Obama is near, at, or past 50% in alot of these polls. That would be winning even if almost all the undecideds went the other way.

(Definitely not election day yet, but all the electoral projections and all the polling averages are going to start tilting from this, and that will have a substantial narrative effect.)

Question: How much of this polling was done the night after the Dow dropped 777 points?

Picture of the Day - 2

No matter which photo you pick today, McCain looks none too happy in any of them.

From the new Time poll

A new Time magazine poll has Obama 50-43, but perhaps the top story is Obama's gain (McCain's collapse) among women.
Obama leads McCain by 17 points with women, 55%-38%. Before the conventions, women preferred Obama by a margin of 10 points, 49%-39%. After McCain picked Palin as his running mate, the gap narrowed to a virtual tie, with Obama holding a 1-point margin, 48%-47%.

As some support, let's go back to the internals of those Q poll results. In Florida, women now back Obama 57-37, in Ohio Obama leads 53-39, in Penn. Obama leads 58-34. (In those states, McCain holds a tie to +5 among men.)

To me, if these sorts of numbers hold, they spell big trouble for McCain. It's not like McCain comes equipped with the personality, the tools, or a record to easily appeal into that demographic. (What? Is he going to go soft and fuzzy "cuddly bear" McCain? Talk about his opposition to equal pay measures or opposition to abortion?)

Palin was his flail at the demographic, and, thus far, it's failed.

Also, Pew has a poll out today, Obama 49-42. They highlight the significant collapse of Palin's numbers and effect across the board (if you want a little schadenfreude....)

(And, anecdotally, I found this discussion of Palin on "The View" interesting.)

Do I believe this?

There's some new Quinnipiac state polling out there showing a huge Obama lift in Ohio (Obama +8,) Florida (Obama +8,) and Penn (Obama +15.)

I'm a little skeptical as this feels out of line to me, (FirstRead seems to say it's not,), but it will unquestionably shape the "McCain sliding" narrative, and it will alter all of those overreported polling averages.

The perception of losing is powerful.

Three very interesting reads

Marc Ambinder has a defense of picking Palin from the McCain campaign. (Primarily its enthusiasm, a doubling of their volunteer base, and ground game.)

Nate Silver digs into polling to say that Obama didn't necessarily win voters in the debate, but he may have locked in the soft supporters.

And, (St.PetersburgTimes) Record numbers of black voters will have lots of impacts on down ballot races in the south.

Picture of the Day

(Sarah Palin doing debate prep outside one of McCain's Arizona homes. (Released by the campaign.))

This is their picture. Why would they release this along with a narrative of the "serenity" of a babbling brook?

They're not showing her "working hard." They're showing this.

("Let's hold class outside today....")


Sarah Palin isn't just battling for John McCain's future on Thursday night. She's also battling for her own political future in the many, many years after this election.

Palin debate prep

Every day, the WSJ has been publishing on Palin and her debate prep, (Thanks, Rupert.) Today's entry leaves with the takeaway that she "won" the Alaska debates by skidding away from facts into the "folksy" and personal stories.

The NYTimes also has two on Palin's prep. One on her past debates, which kinda echoes the WSJ piece, and one on general concerns about her readiness, "The amount of time and staff power being devoted to this was evidence of concern among Mr. McCain’s associates..."

Politico notes that in the month since Sarah Palin's elevation, she's only made 17 public appearances, almost all of them with John McCain.

(Can "folksy"/unknowledgeable win a VP debate?)

Paraphrasing EPM

Paraphrasing a thought by EPM in the comments.
If nothing else, Sarah Palin has proved a distraction and an unneeded drain on resources for the McCain campaign during their recent poll slide.


There were only 8 combat related deaths in Iraq in September.

There were 25 deaths overall, and there's always a few between combat and non-combat, but 8 is still a pretty amazing number.

Overall, US military deaths are at 4,176.

The number of Iraqi forces killed last month is up at 159.

On the other hand, The Pentagon itself is warning that all the fundamentals are in place for violence to get worse. (The Sunni militias being cut out of the government, provincial elections coming up, Kirkuk.....)

Also, (AP) "a move that would allow the U.S. to keep the number of troops largely steady there through much of next year."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My electoral map. Your electoral map.

It's a very slow day, so I thought I'd link in the DailyKos electoral map plaything.

For the life of me, I can't figure out how to embed my version of the electoral map into the blog, but I figured I could link it, and you could play with it yourselves. (Click on "Race calculator" at the top, and then you can fill in the states as you see fit.)

On my map, Obama wins Pa, Wis, Mich, and Colo, which gets him to 269 electoral votes, a tie that would be settled by the House of Representatives (Obama wins.)

To get past 269, Obama could win any one of these states: Fla, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and New Hampshire. (He's leading or tied in several.)

For McCain to win, he has to win all of those states, (Fla, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and New Hampshire plus Nevada, Indiana, Missouri, and all of the other close ones) without a single miss. PLUS he also has to pick off one of those Pa, Mich, or Colo.

Right now, on my map, Obama wins at 269 without Fla, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, or New Hampshire (Nevada, Indiana, Missouri....) That's a pretty large margin for error.

Play with the thingy yourself. You can make up your own mind.


The Bush White House really hasn't gone out of their way to help McCain in all this, have they?


Early voting begins in Ohio today.

Picture of the Day

(President Bush finishes his statement about the economic bailout bill and financial crisis, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak))

Will the second debate be kinder to McCain?

The NYTimes has a piece talking about a permanent replacement for Tim Russert (Chuck Todd?), but inside that piece is a look at the NBC/McCain campaign relationship.
Mr. Brokaw said he had also conducted some shuttle diplomacy in recent weeks between NBC and the McCain campaign. His mission, he said, was to assure the candidate’s aides that — despite some negative on-air commentary by Mr. Olbermann in particular — Mr. McCain could still get a fair shake from NBC News. Mr. Brokaw said he had been told by a senior McCain aide, whom he did not name, that the campaign had been reluctant to accept an NBC representative as one of the moderators of the three presidential debates — until his name was invoked.....

Mr. Brokaw will moderate the second debate, on Oct. 7, in Nashville.

Should that concern me?

Also, (Politico) "Biden's strategy: Go easy on Palin."

New Pakistani ISI chief

Pakistan has announced a new head of the ISI. (AP, BBC, NYTimes, WaPo.) Nobody seems to know much about this guy.

Blame has been attached.

It appears that a media consensus has been formed and blame has now been firmly attached over the failure of the bailout bill.

In order, the assignment of responsibility for the collapse appears to be cast on 1) The House GOP, 2) John McCain, and 3) Some vague amalgam falling under the term "leadership" meant to include President Bush, House and Senate leadership of both parties, and both Presidential candidates. (That last one is generally being offered by the Republican analysts looking to defray the political costs.)

A month ahead of the election, blame matters.

(It's my hunch that there will be snapback against the no vote, (falling market, fears of bank runs,) and somehow the GOP will have to climb down. However, I'm not sure how having Congress in recess until Thursday will affect the process.)

Plus, All of these Congressmen are losing campaigning time in their districts. Now they face their populist "no" vote pitted against people's economic fears.


(Video) The FoxNews folks beg McCain to suspend his campaign again this morning.

(Their desperate partisan beseeching for McCain to do something says more about the presidential fallout than anything else I've seen.)

Monday, September 29, 2008


I wonder if those calls to Congressmen are running "100 to 1" against the bailout now?

Today cost investors an estimated $1.15 trillion dollars.

Schmidt parachutes in to help Palin's debate prep

To continue my idea that the Palin debate prep is not going well, Steve Schmidt, McCain's top campaign figure, will be spending tonight through Thursday working with Palin.

Think about that for a minute. With all the problems of the McCain campaign right now in polling and this campaign suspension/bailout deal collapse, with all the new messaging and strategy the McCain camp needs to develop on the fly, Steve Schmidt, their top guy, is locking himself in a room with Palin for three days of debate prep.

Picture of the Day - 2 - The Bailout Fails.

"You Maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! God damn you all to hell!"


So, the Republican position is that they tanked the economy because they thought Pelosi's speech was "too partisan?"

Their hurt feelings are worth 7% of all our retirements?

Later: Barney Frank. Seriously, Barney Frank. Rock on.

Heresy on the VP debate

Alot of the pundits are saying that Palin's poor performances in interviews have substantially lowered her expectations bar for the debate, but, I'm prone towards something of an opposite view.

Because of the disastrous interviews, I think she has to overperform to convince people that she's not the person they saw in the CBS interview or parodied on SNL.

Ambinder has a bit longer (and better written) post on Palin, her slipping image, lack of defenders, etc.
Gov. Sarah Palin has lost control of her public image, several top-level McCain advisers said this weekend, and even a baseline performance in Thursday's debate with Joe Biden may be too late to recover it....

(One more thought. Palin doesn't have to "fail" for this debate to be bad news for the McCain campaign. A "sigh of relief" doesn't move the polls, and the passage of this debate will mark another three days gone and another lost opportunity for the the McCain campaign to catch up. 36 days left, they're down 4.5 in the polls.)

The Palin/Couric farce

The McCain camp has granted Katie Couric another Palin interview, but this time, it's a joint interview with both Palin and McCain.

Leaving aside the obvious takeaway that Palin isn't capable of being interviewed on her own, I would wager this is a ploy by the McCain campaign to quiet the Palin complaints among their base.

They're not trying to convert people like me, but I would guess that they're trying to assure sympathetics of how McCain will "tutor" her, trying to recreate an image of how they want people to imagine the ticket.

Also: Howard Kurtz last week's Palin/Couric interview
And the worst may be yet to come for Palin; sources say CBS has two more responses on tape that will likely prove embarrassing.

Correction: Apparently, the "embarrassing" answers were from a different set of interviews with Palin and Biden that CBS will air Wed., Thur. in the lead up to the VP debate.

From the "It can't be going well if...." category

Six and a half days of debate prep, and they've decided midway through, that she needs to be moved closer to McCain's top aides?.
Gov. Sarah Palin will now spend two and a half days near Sedona, Arizona, to prepare for Thursday's debate, instead of prepping in St Louis, as originally planned......

Pailin has already been hunkered down for four days in a Philadelphia hotel for debate prep with advisers.

So, how does that phone call go? "No, she's not ready.... Well, we're doing the best we can..... Okay, we'll send her to you.... You see if you can do any better....."

Picture of the Day

(Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin listens to remarks during a campaign stop in Fairfax, Virginia.(AFP/Paul J. Richards))

Another BIG McCain gamble/flop

We all pretty much knew that the Republican effort to use their convention to try and rebrand their candidate as "change" was a mistake at the time, but, now that we're here, think about what a waste of opportunity that was.

The McCain campaign made a decision to take their largest and greatest moment of visibility, their guaranteed, unchallenged three day ad, and use all that free space to try and recast their candidate as the true candidate of "change."

From a branding point of view, their convention was mostly wasted, and now they've given up the effort.
Schmidt said the campaign will press two arguments as forcefully as possible in the coming days. One is that Obama is not ready to be commander in chief and that, in a time of two wars, "his policies will make the world more dangerous and America less secure." Second, he said, McCain will argue that, in a time of economic crisis, Obama will raise taxes and spending and "will make our economy worse."

When was the last time you heard someone in the McCain camp mention the word "change," even as an attack?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Picture of the Day - 2

When you can draw thousands out in that kind of rain, (Local police chief "estimates that 12,000 are at the rally and another 14,000 were unable to get in...",) that amazes me.

(Supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama cheer as the rain pours down during a campaign rally at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, September 27, 2008. (REUTERS/Jason Reed))

Dodgy data points

It's my impression that the tracking polls aren't hugely accurate, but they do help shape media opinion and the narrative. (Not to mention the "polling averages.")

If you look at the two big trackers, Gallup (Obama +8) and Rasmussen (Obama +6,) the polling since McCain made the decision to "suspend" has been awful to McCain.

On the weight of these tracking results, and that ABC outlier midweek, the much cited RCP now shows Obama +4.8.

Even if the trackers aren't great polling, their impact on the race may be real. "Analysts" shape their opinions and coverage off those numbers, and the McCain surrogates have to answer questions based on these polls. This crap casts a shadow.

(Still waiting to see more formalized polling on the McCain suspension and the debate impacts. Are the major organizations going to run polls within the debates?)

Also, While popping around RCP, their averages currently show Obama +1.8 in Virginia, and tied in North Carolina, (There's a reason Obama/Biden spent the weekend there,) and most of that polling was before McCain's decision to suspend.

Kids are just political chits......

From the British TimesOnline, so judge it for yourself, but.....
In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one — the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.

Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”

After all the gambits, I find it hard to believe the press would take this literally (or kindly.)

(The Times is known for its links to hardcore Republican operatives, so what you may be seeing is a very quiet, planted in the foreign press, trial balloon.)

You bet your ass I'm linking it......

SNL and Tina Fey just tore up Sarah Palin last night. It's Sunday morning, you've got time to watch it, and watch it again.
(Here's the official NBC version.)

Just floating it......

McCain spent Saturday, not on Capitol Hill, directly participating in the bailout politics, but in his campaign office "making calls."

To show how "busy" and "involved" he was, his campaign even issued a list of people he called. (Who does that?)

What I find myself wondering this morning is whether somebody "banished" McCain from the Hill as a condition of continuing? Or was he just hiding, recognizing the mistake he had made?
"He can effectively do what he needs to do by phone," said McCain's senior advisor Mark Salter.

"He is calling members of both sides, people in the administration ... helping out as he can," Salter said.