Six days left until the election, and the text of McCain's epitaph has evolved slightly. Political observers wonder where McCain went wrong, what he could've done differently and wax nostalgic about what his campaign would be like if he didn't let the far right derail the Straight Talk Express. Today's buzz:
- If McCain didn't yield to the Republican right he may be tied with Obama in the polls during this final stretch, wrote Walter Shapiro in Salon. Take-away: "McCain could have come out of the GOP primaries prepared to run against Obama as a true maverick rather than a generic Republican railing against socialism."
- Obama's message of change is heartfelt but he hasn't embraced change in the way he runs his campaign -- which is the best indicator of how he will run his administration, wrote Ruth Marcus in WaPo. Take-away: "Better angles, it seems, do not make the best campaign strategists."
- Maureen Dowd in the NYT wrote a tongue-in-cheek vignette between a top McCain adviser and Palin's primary handler discussing how the veep candidate got away. Take-away: "She told me she was going to the bathroom to change out of the Jimmy Choos into something more Target for the Joe the Plumber 'They're Not Smears, They're Just Facts' Bus Tour."
- The WSJ editorialized that nowhere in the letter Obama purportedly wrote to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson warning of the impending mortgage crisis does it say the government ought to stop subsidizing loans to people who can't afford them. Take-away: "This is the latest fad among Beltway liberals who spent years encouraging noneconomic mortgage loans."
- Stump speeches crafted on the fly can say a lot about a candidate, and McCain's rhetorical devices are falling flat, wrote Michael Gerson in the WaPo. Take away: "His sledgehammer directness fits his personality, but it is neither memorable nor inspiring."