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Ambinder who has all the memos that are let out informs us

Obama Memo: We’re Really, Really Bad At Debates…

26 Sep 2008 02:12 pm

And John McCain is really good.

If it’s 2pm the day of the debate, it must be an expectations-lowering memo.

Read it all after the jump.

It doesn’t matter. The press will fill in the blanks anyway

Past reviews mentioned



New York Times: Obama’s Debating Skills Are “Uneven” As He Has “A Tendency To Overintellectualize And To Lecture” And “Frequently Rises Above The Mire Of Political Combat When The Battle Calls For Engagement.”

AP: Obama Comes Across As “Lifeless, Aloof, And Windy” During Debates. “For a man known as a powerful speaker, Obama has rarely wowed people in political debates. He can come across as lifeless, aloof and windy.” [AP, 9/20/08]

Fallows: Obama Never Managed To “Receive Big Acclaim After A Debate.” “While Hillary Clinton time and again beat expectations, Obama never managed to put her away or receive big acclaim after a debate.” [The Atlantic, September 2008]

John King Said Democrats Worry That Obama Is To Professorial Or Too Subdued In Debate Settings. John King said on CNN, “While Obama excels at the big event, some democrats worry he’s too professorial or too subdued in debate– style settings like last weekend’s faith forum.” [CNN, 8/22/08]

So, our surrogates in the media  wink wink, nudge nudge  be kind to me, huh?

Sure, Darcy, anything for ya!

It’s a headline written for PUMAs

This is the election you wouldn’t want to win

The bad news: November’s victor could be a one-term disaster. The good news: a great president may follow him

Mind you, I never bought the “better lose this one” arguments. I fielded them in 2000 and 2004. I think we needed a capable leader now, more than ever and I am angry we were deprived of that. by corruption and bigotry.

That being said the “bitter” PUMA in me can’t contain a little glee on this prediction for winner 2008

It is highly probable that that moment, the very hour that he takes office, will be the high point of his presidency.

I can live with that, no matter who wins. And they even say

When the votes are counted his people might ruefully conclude that the victor is not Barack Obama or John McCain. The real winner will be Hillary Clinton, or Mitt Romney, or Mike Huckabee, or some now happily anonymous figure whose star will rise in the next four turbulent years.

And the confirmation comes from Daschle, who knows a little bit about losing:

Tom Daschle, the former leader of the Senate Democrats, the national co-chairman of Mr Obama’s presidential campaign, and the likely White House chief of staff in an Obama administration. He told a Washington power breakfast that he thought the winner of the election would have a 50 per cent chance at best – at best – of winning a second term in 2012.

after going through the challenges at hand – financial and foreign policy cisis, they conclude

Then again, look carefully at those dates and consider a crueller possibility for this year’s winner: that desperate times like these actually produce both types of president, sequentially: a one-term disaster who paves the way for a true giant.

I am reminded of what kevin Phillips said to Bill Moyers

The Democrats think it’s going to be another 1933, they get in there, they can do all the New Deal stuff. My feeling is that they’re coming in halfway and they’re going to have to make hard decisions that are going to eat the Democratic coalition like a bologna sandwich. They’re going to start civil wars-

Now, a lot of Democrats in the labor movement are very nervous about Obama. They put out press releases talking about Rubin-nomics because they see that the flesh of the Democratic Party carries a lunchbox. But the new soul of the Democratic Party wears a pinstripe suit.


Politico has a similar article

Barack Obama says a John McCain victory would amount to a third term of the Bush presidency. What he doesn’t say: an Obama victory would, too.

So Bush’s legacy is not just his own. He has also written an expensive, painful opening chapter for the next guy.

The Patriot Room thinks so, going by an obscure little note in Boston Herald

one of the presidential candidates will walk away with a mountain of votes. Zogby said Barack Obama still needs to sell himself to the country. If not, voters will likely side with “a comfortable old shoe.” That shoe is John McCain, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle quoted Zogby as saying

A bit of history: Zogby threw away its credibility in the primary – with blatanly false polls favoring Obama (notably his “wins” in californiam new hampshire and New jersey sent the media on embarrassing pursuits).

In the GE Zogby is been trying to get his credibility back.

This may be just Zogby trying to hedge his bets – if it happens, he’ll tout this coffe talk. If it doesn’t how many do know?

Or he knows something.


More details here

“Essentially the election is at equilibrium,” said John Zogby, president of Zogby International. “This election will stay close until the end.”

Zogby said he thinks the race will turn in the last weekend before Election Day and though the popular vote will be tight, the successful candidate will win in a landslide.

and cofirming Ron Bronstein’s observations added

“It is the center that is driving this election,” he said. “It is the center that will decide this election.”

These voters are looking for a problem-solver, someone who can manage the government competently, he said.

Seems he’s giving PUMAs a nod as well

I suspect he does imply it’ll be Obama because he says

Zogby later added that if the winner doesn’t kick off his presidency with a period of reform, he will risk alienating a generation of voters.

That Reagan/Carter comparison meme goes the same way too.

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National Journal has a fresh view on the election

This election will be decided primarily by voters who disapprove of President Bush but are uncertain that Barack Obama is the right person to replace him. And the decisions of those voters may turn largely on which candidate succeeds in persuading them to view the choice through the frame that he prefers.

To that end

McCain wants voters to focus on personal comparisons between him and Obama. At various times, McCain has stressed different aspects of that comparison — experience, values, ideology, or commitment to reform. He has touted his own qualifications and fiercely derided Obama’s. But the common theme is that McCain wants voters, as they step into the booth, primarily to be asking themselves: Which of these two individuals possesses the experiences, skills, and values I expect in a president?

and Obama on the other hand

Obama wants voters to see the election less as a referendum on two individuals than on two divergent directions for the country.

Which is ironic to say the least considering he just jettisoned the entire Democratic agenda and nobody knows anymore what he really stands for. But I do understand the reluctance to compare personalities at this point

The article follows these 2 strategies in the reactions to the latest crisis

The candidates’ initial responses to this month’s financial crisis perfectly captured their contrasting strategies. Obama immediately released an unusual two-minute TV ad in which he talked directly to the camera about his economic agenda, promised “real change,” and asked viewers to “read [his] economic plan.” McCain fired back with an ad that promised: “Experience and leadership in a time of crisis.” Obama stressed the plan; McCain, the man.

The conclusion

All this means that in the competition to frame the choice for the voters who could decide this election, events may play at least as large a role as either nominee.

Of course, there’s a name for those anti-bush voters…I shall call them…PUMA. And the author underestimates just a little  the degree these voters’ uncertainty.

While I am technically an undecided voter, my indecision is which non-Obama candidate shall I pick. And I am hardly alone.

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“There’s no deal until there’s a deal. We’re optimistic but we want to get this thing done,” McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said.

“With so much on the line, for America and the world, the debate that matters most right now is taking place in the United States Capitol—and I intend to join it,” McCain said after addressing former President Clinton’s Global Initiative in New York on Thursday before heading to Washington.

Meanwhile, Obama who has done nothing in his career but campaign, has discovered the notion of multitasking

“Our election is in 40 days. Our economy is in crisis, and our nation is fighting two wars abroad. The American people deserve to hear directly from myself and Sen. McCain about how we intend to lead our country. The times are too serious to put our campaign on hold, or to ignore the full range of issues that the next president will face.”

Does it mean Obama will suddenly have meeting # 1 of the Afghanistan commottee he’s been “heading”?

Obama also rolled out a new 60-second TV ad to run in “key targeted states” in which he cited economic policies endorsed by Bush and McCain as essentially to blame for the troubles.

How did the two handle yesterday’s summit? From McCain’s POV (as the media will give Obama’s)

At today’s cabinet meeting, John McCain did not attack any proposal or endorse any plan. John McCain simply urged that for any proposal to enjoy the confidence of the American people, stressing that all sides would have to cooperate and build a bipartisan consensus for a solution that protects taxpayers.

However, the Democrats allowed Senator Obama to run their side of the meeting. That did not work as the meeting quickly devolved into a contentious shouting match that did not seek to craft a bipartisan solution.

We’ll see what today brings


he will debate

he said earlier

“I understand that there is a lot of attention on this but I also wish Sen. Obama had agreed to 10 or more town hall meetings that I had asked him to attend with me,” McCain said. “Wouldn’t be quite that much urgency if he agreed to do that. Instead, he refused to do it.”

and from his statement

The difference between Barack Obama and John McCain was apparent during the White House meeting yesterday, where Barack Obama’s priority was political posturing in his opening monologue defending the package as it stands. John McCain listened to all sides so he could help focus the debate on finding a bipartisan resolution that is in the interest of taxpayers and homeowners. The Democratic interests stood together in opposition to an agreement that would accommodate additional taxpayer protections.

Senator McCain has spent the morning talking to members of the administration, members of the Senate, and members of the House. He is optimistic that there has been significant progress toward a bipartisan agreement now that there is a framework for all parties to be represented in negotiations, including Representative Blunt as a designated negotiator for House Republicans. The McCain campaign is resuming all activities and the senator will travel to the debate this afternoon. Following the debate, he will return to Washington to ensure that all voices and interests are represented in the final agreement, especially those of taxpayers and homeowners.

Not Your Sweetie

September 2008