30 days out the ball is in McCain’s court (Update)

With just a mere 30 days to go to Election Day, the ball is in McCain’s court to make some moves and regain ground in the polls along with the all-important swing states. Luckily for McCain, he’s got two more debates to make a stand in before voters head to the polls. On the other hand, unfortunately for McCain, and Obama, they have two more debates to possibly perform bad in also, the sword cuts both ways.

Polls are in Obama’s favor at this point as he leads, on average, by about 5.9% according to RealClearPolitics.

Report from Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON – One month before Election Day, Barack Obama sits atop battleground polls in a shrinking playing field, the economic crisis is breaking his way and the Democrat has made progress toward winning the White House.

The onus is on Republican John McCain to turn the race around under exceptionally challenging circumstances — and his options are limited.

McCain’s advisers say the Arizona senator will ramp up his attacks in the coming days with a tougher, more focused message describing “who Obama is,” including questioning his character, “liberal” record and “too risky” proposals in advertising and appearances.

Obama’s advisers, in turn, say he will argue that McCain is unable to articulate an economic vision that’s different from President Bush’s. In a new push, the Illinois senator is calling McCain’s health care plan “radical.”

Now that the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin is over, the contest returns to being entirely about Obama and McCain and likely will stay that way until Nov. 4. The rivals meet Tuesday in their second of three debates as the campaign enters its next unpredictable chapter.

Interviews with party insiders across the country Friday showed this: Democrats are optimistic of victory if nervous over whether Obama can hold his advantage while Republicans are worried that the race may be moving out of reach though hopeful that McCain will beat the odds as he did in the GOP primary.

Both sides note that plenty can change in one month — and they’re right.

“Very confident, yet not overly so,” said Ohio Democratic Party chief Chris Redfern, who said the financial turmoil is dreadful for the country but “politically it’s advantageous” for Obama.

South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson said that given McCain’s standing, “I’d be concerned at this time, but I would never count this guy out. He’s got the political hide of an alligator.”

Report from the CBS News ’08 notebook on what happened this week:

Election historians often note the most movement happens in the last 72 hours before election day as the 10% to 15% of “undecideds” finally make up their mind, and change it like 8 more times before they actually cast their vote.

At this point, McCain has become the “underdog” and his campaign is painting him in that light. Most likely it’s a planned strategy since people like supporting the “underdog” in most cases.

So the bottom line here is that Obama needs to keep doing what he’s doing, which is staying on his message about the economy and assailing McCain’s policies. McCain, on the other hand, needs to work harder at convincing voters they need to reject Obama’s philosophies and go with a more free market approach, a task which grows more difficult as the media piles on the current financial news.

We’ll have more analysis tomorrow following the Sunday political shows when candidates and surrogates will be out in force.

Update

It does appear that McCain will be retooling is strategy for the remaining month of campaigning.

Report from the WaPo:

Sen. John McCain and his Republican allies are readying a newly aggressive assault on Sen. Barack Obama’s character, believing that to win in November they must shift the conversation back to questions about the Democrat’s judgment, honesty and personal associations, several top Republicans said.

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.

Robert Gibbs, a top Obama adviser, dismissed the new McCain strategy. “This isn’t 1988,” he said. “I don’t think the country is going to be distracted by the trivial.” He added that Obama will continue to focus on the economy, saying that Americans will remain concerned about the country’s economic troubles even as the Wall Street crisis eases somewhat.

Moments after the House of Representatives approved a bailout package for Wall Street on Friday afternoon, the McCain campaign released a television ad that challenges Obama’s honesty and asks, “Who is Barack Obama?” The ad alleges that “Senator Obama voted 94 times for higher taxes. Ninety-four times. He’s not truthful on taxes.” The charge that Obama voted 94 times for higher taxes has been called misleading by independent fact-checkers, who have noted that the majority of those votes were on nonbinding budget resolutions.

A senior campaign official called the ad “just the beginning” of commercials that will “strike the new tone” in the campaign’s final days. The official said the “aggressive tone” will center on the question of “whether this guy is ready to be president.”

No surprise there, McCain has yet to pop his “October surprise.”

Hat tip to JD in comments for alerting me to this story.

Update

Video report on McCain’s attack plan from CBS News:

  • JD

    Just read this in the Washington Post. Looks like McCain is looking to change his strategy.

    McCain aide Strimple: “”We are looking for a very aggressive last 30 days.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/03/AR2008100303738_pf.html

    “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.”

  • Mari Ana Biiossat

    McCain needs to get tough. Obama is getting away with a LOT. Instead of voting on appearance,coolness and because he is black,people should start reading and educating themselves politically and going to the past for comparisons. If they research Obama’s past history they will be shocked. We are in for a socialistic government which will eventually run into marxism…and, this my dear friend is not far from communism. I guess people are not happy with the freedoms we have here in America, they want government to take care of them because they do not want to WORK…WORK for the dream it does not jump in your lap. I have been in Canada and I know people in England and believe me my dear frieneds you do not want socialized medicine…it does not work. Who do you think is going to pay for this? You got it;you are going to pay.Obama just taxing 250,000 and up is a JOKE. Use a little math and you will figure out that all of us will be taxed,and BIG.

  • Mari, I totally agree with you, Obama is getting away with way too much, it seems like know one cares that Obama has done some dealing with some pretty shady dudes. Or could it be that no one knows b/c McCain won’t bring it up? Where is the RNC in all this?

    One has to wonder if McCain even wants to win this. We can only do so much to get the word out, people need to hear it from the man himself. I say unleash the pit bull with lipstick on Obama and let her fight the good fight, McCain obviously won’t.

    I swear republicans have lost their backbone.

  • Christopher Schwinger

    I agree with you, Conservative Gal, that Republicans have lost their backbone. I will use a different slant on that statement: they’ve lost their backbone by convincing themselves McCain will be an okay President with Palin alongside him. McCain would never have run with Palin if he feared she would interfere with amnesty for illegal immigrants, or the North American Union. And of course none of this means I am for Obama; Obama and McCain are both without a moral compass, and I could never vote for either candidate–even with Palin beside McCain.

  • Obma is a sick man with no respect for morals and values. He dose not care about life or freedom, I can tell you just by his body lauange with his wife he dose not respect women. His wife has been silenced cause her ignorence reveals him for what he is. I know he wont win, it’ll be close but I think that there is just enof of us “true blues” left that are going to vote for the welfare of America. It will be close and Obmas going to scream recount but its not going to happen. Besides the media always swings things for what they want, because most of the stations are owned by democrats. The polls arent the “real deal” things will swing for the better! Lets just make sure we all get out and vote!!

  • Smitty in PA

    American voters need to look at John McCain’s past. Obama has been under a microscope for 20+ months and the far right had exhausted the Ayers, Wright and Rezko smears in the primaries. What people need to know is about John McCain’s full military career, his unbalanced and reckless behavior, his sense of entitlement, his mediocre intellect, the media-built myth that he’s a maverick. Palin also. We’ve just had 8 years of bums who believe they are above the law, we don’t need more of the same.

  • Kwaayesnama

    Poor John McCain he does not have a mind of his own so he depends on all of his best friends to come up with talking points for him.
    John McCain is in the pocket of lobbiests.
    John McCain is in the pocket of oil companies.
    John McCain is in the pocket of insurance companies.
    John McCain is in the pocket of pharmaceutical companies.
    John McCain in the pocket of the mortgage companies.
    John McCain in the pocket of the banking industry.
    Here is a list of his best friends, lobbyists and employees of major companies working in major positions in the McCain campaign. It will answer any questions you might have about the people who are advising and influencing him.
    http://mccainsource.com/corruption?id=0006

  • Christopher Schwinger

    McCain is in the pocket of everyone but his own conscience, for he has none. He is a most wicked man, and Sarah Palin is a phony. I can hear it whenever I listen to Palin; she just sounds like a total FAKE!

  • David Goldsmith

    You people are pathetic! If Obama was white and had an “American” name, he wouldn’t be the threat you perceive him to be. What are you so afraid of?

    Mari: What have you read about Obama and what are we going to be shocked by if we read the same comic book? I, among many others, haven’t seen anything that indicates Obama wants socialism, Marxism or communism. What in his history have you found or are you just repeating the bile that Hannity, O’Reilly and Limbaugh (my favorite druggie hypocrite) pass as facts. You must be reading different articles or listening to different Obama speeches than I do. He hasn’t spoke or written one word about socialized medicine. Where do you get this nonsense? Why do you find it so hard to believe his plan to reduce your tax burden if you make less than $250,000 per year? It should be easy to do if we stop giving undeserved tax breaks to those making more than $250,000 and oil companies that are making record profits while most families are struggling to make ends meet. Americans that support Obama don’t want our government to “take care of us” because we don’t want to work. We simply want the government to help us when we’re down and we need a hand up.

    Conservative Gal: What is Obama getting away with? Sticking up banks, writing bad checks or cheating on his wife? How about none of the above! Lets look at those “shady dudes” you referenced. The only two mentioned in the same breath as Obama are Tony Rezco and William Ayres. Every credible new source (not Fox News), fact checking organization and law enforcement agency has confirmed that there was no wrong doing on Obama’s part concerning Tony Rezco. As far as Obama and Ayres are concerned, that relationship is nonexistent. Obama was 8 years old when Ayres did the bad things he did. Other than serving on the same non-profit, educational foundation board and attending a meeting hosted by Ayres, where is the crime? What has Obama done wrong? As far as letting your “pit bull with lipstick” loose, bring her on! Just be sure to leave her handlers and teleprompter at home. Without them she can’t put a complete sentence together by herself. Any woman that believes that being the governor of a state next to Russia and Canada gives her foreign policy experience can’t be trusted to walk my dog! Not being able to name one newspaper or magazine that she reads for news speaks volumes about her lack of intellect. Speaking of poor intellect, why did she need to attend 4 different universities over 5 years to earn a degree.

    Christopher: Your comment about Obama not having a moral compass leaves a lot to be desired, mostly facts! A man that works hard, puts himself through college and law school, gives back to his community and country and is faithful to his wife sounds like he has a rather solid moral compass. What else do you want?

    Valerie: Like before, what morals or values does he lack? I believe that “morals and values” is code for “he’s black and he can’t be trusted”. What you’re really afraid of is that he will be looking for payback for all of the crap that white people have been dishing out to minorities all these centuries. The good news is that he is better than that. Your assumption that Michelle Obama is ignorant is laughable. Her academic and professional accomplishments are quite formidable in her own right. By the way, you should do your homework and look at who the media owners actually are and their political leanings. More and more consolidation has concentrated more ownership into the hands of corporations and individuals who are quite conservative in their politics.