Ballot Box

A guide to the best political buzz from around the web

Many political observers believe that this debate will be McCain's last stand. Though the Republican candidate promised to fight hard against Barack Obama during tonight face-off, it's unclear what his strategy will be as national polls indicate his slide in the polls is a result of his negative campaigning. Today's buzz:

  • It's unclear how the reinvented McCain -- with a retooled stump speech and promises of bloodshed at the debate tonight -- will come across to voters at the debate, wrote Mike Madden in Salon. Take-away: "It's not clear the new McCain -- call it McCain version 2.2, since he already restarted his campaign last summer, then twice suspended it this fall in response to a hurricane and the economic collapse -- will resonate better with voters than the old one did."
  • Thomas Frank is friends with Bill Ayers and wrote in the WSJ that this is the "vilest hour" for Republicans who flatly state that Obama's association with the former Weathermen means he "pals around" with terrorists. Take-away: "There are a lot of things to call this tactic, but 'country first' isn't one of them. "
  • Maureen Dowd wrote in the NYT that McCain's conservative supporters have been divided and jumping ship over Sarah Palin. Take-away: "Republicans have been slugging it out over whether Palin is dragging John McCain down or whether his campaign is mishandling her."
  • The McCain brand has been tarnished and his lapse into an identity crisis ill-timed, wrote Michael Goodwin in the NY Daily News. Take-away:"McCain has flubbed the market meltdown and Obama has smartly seized the  chance to cast wider doubts about McCain's steadiness."
  • McCain is race-bating, evidenced by the GOP throwing around racially charged innuendo and creating an "atmosphere of hate," wrote Cynthia Tucker in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • McCain's drop in polls is not indicative of his lack of competence or leadership qualities -- he is simply a victim of (economic) circumstance, wrote Michael Gerson in the WaPo. Take-away: "While America remains a center-right country, this may well be a Marxist election in which economic realities are determining the political superstructure."
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