McCain’s Gloves are Coming Off

October 4, 2008

Mihael D. Shear in WaPo

With just a month to go until Election Day, McCain’s team has decided that its emphasis on the senator’s biography as a war hero, experienced lawmaker and straight-talking maverick is insufficient to close a growing gap with Obama. The Arizonan’s campaign is also eager to move the conversation away from the economy, an issue that strongly favors Obama and has helped him to a lead in many recent polls.

“We’re going to get a little tougher,” a senior Republican operative said, indicating that a fresh batch of television ads is coming. “We’ve got to question this guy’s associations. Very soon. There’s no question that we have to change the subject here,” said the operative, who was not authorized to discuss strategy and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Being so aggressive has risks for McCain if it angers swing voters, who often say they are looking for candidates who offer a positive message about what they will do. That could be especially true this year, when frustration with Washington politics is acute and a desire for specifics on how to fix the economy and fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is strong.


A senior aide said the campaign will wait until after Tuesday’s debate to decide how and when to release new commercials, adding that McCain and his surrogates will continue to cast Obama as a big spender, a high taxer and someone who talks about working across the aisle but doesn’t deliver.

Polls are ugly and frankly a little bit surprising right now.  He needs to hit the talk radio circuit or get Sarah out there.  The enthusiasm in the country that made it look (only 30 days ago) that we might take this election in a walk is gone.  There are 30 some odd days left and it is no harder to reenergize the base than it is to deenergize the base.  If we all look excited, there is a better chance that the moderates and indies will come around.  

As Sean Connery said in The Rock “Your Best? Losers always whine about their “best.” Winners go home and f*** the prom queen.”


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