Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Two Weeks Before Election Day, McCain Learns How to Campaign

The race may be tightening a little...but not much.

One thing happening, however, is that - with no more major events left - McCain finally seems to have learned how to run a campaign. He's learned that 100% negative ads were hurting him, not Obama, and so has adjusted the mix.

He's learned how to run a populist campaign, mixing messages about Joe the Plumber and tax policy. And he's been able to stay on this same message for almost six days now, actually giving it some time to work.

He's dialed back the Ayers and ACORN attacks the voters said weren't working, instead focusing on an economic message in a time when this is the voter's #1 concern.

It may be common sense to you, me, and Obama. For McCain, he seems to only have arrived at this approach after trying everything else and only sinking further. So it's no surprise that he might finally start to make some headway. Too little, too late - especially in the face of all the conservative defections. But find the right approach, it looks like he has.

So now, if he brings up Wright, as some suggest - well, that would only guarantee an even bigger Obama landslide. My guess is, however, that McCain has finally learned the lesson, and won't.

However, if all this makes you worried that somehow McCain has become a campaign genius, don't worry. With so many forces now allied against him - including economy gurus Ben Bernanke and Paul Volker - the hill that he has to climb is pretty steep, and his tactics (as opposed to strategy) are still pretty shaky.

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