Kos Daily Track Shows More Obama Momentum

Evidence from the Kos Daily Track that the recent dynamic in the race - movement to Obama and away from McCain - hasn't yet abated.  This track shows significant movement in the last few days, and now has the race 51-42. I offered these thoughts on the race and the new Obama momentum last night. 

With all eyes moving to an increasingly unpopular and limited Palin, the McCain camp does not appear to have a lot of tools to change this increasingly challenging dynamic this week.

The Race Enters a New Phase - Obama is Clearly Now in the Lead

The 3 major tracks we follow - Kos, Gallup and Rasmussen - all have Obama at 50 today.  Gallup shows the most dramatic movement, with a change from 49/44 yesterday to 50/42 today.  The Real Clear Politics poll aggregate now has the race 48/43, with Obama ahead and gaining ground in the Electoral College.  McCain led in this aggregate for a week after the GOP Convention.  So the race has shifted a great deal in the last few weeks. 

Given McCain's true limitations as a candidate I still have a hard time seeing how McCain turns this thing around in the next few weeks.  Obama just came through a series of serious tests - the Palin surge, an extraordinary crisis and his first debate - looking self-assured, confident, in command,  You can see his campaign gaining greater confidence each day.  This is now a campaign that has been big time tested and has come through it with momentum, gaining ground.  Through his strong performance over the last few weeks Obama is showing those with doubts about his experience that he can handle hard and tough moments, a major hurdle for him to grow his vote in these final weeks.  

The McCain campaign has a very different dynamic now, having squandered a lead, made some significant stumbles, and with the very real limitations of their two candidates much more on display in recent weeks.  

We have a long way to go in this race but time and opportunity is running out for the McCain campaign. 

CNN Poll: Obama Wins the Debate

CNN polled after the debate and found that of those who watched, 51% said Obama won, 38% McCain.  You can read more about the poll, and watch the debate if you missed it, here

820am Update - One additional thing stands out this morning - how we now learn of a series of half truths, misremembrances, outright falsehoods that came from McCain last night.  To clarify, in those two Eisenhower letters, Ike did not offer his resignation in either one; McCain came to Congress after the Marines went to Lebanon; and Henry Kissinger has indeed encouraged high-level meetings with Iraqis without preconditions.  

Why does all this matter?  As readers of this blog are well aware, there is great mountain of evidence that John McCain has a lost a step or is shockingly unconcerned with facts, truth and detail.  We simply have not seen a candidate at this level of politics make the kind of serial mistakes he has made in this campaign. He just comes off, repeatedly, as a little out of it.  Like a great major league pitcher whose fastball has lost its pop. 

And I don't think given all the next President will have to do that this is a good set of qualities for our next leader. 

Poll Roundup, Duck and Cover

Again, DemFromCT over at Kos has an excellent morning analysis of the latest polling trends.

Of note is the new Fox Poll, which has it 45 Obama 39 McCain.  

Yesterday, this Fox poll and the WaPo poll (52-43) were two of the worst polls for John McCain of this entire Presidential election.  Yesterday morning it also became clear that the McCain campaign had told a huge lie about Rick Davis, its campaign manager - that despite its assertions otherwise, Davis was still making money and an advisor to one of the major instittuions in the financial collapse through August of this year all while he was the manager of McCain's campaign. 

I have no doubt this new crazy idea to "suspend the campaign" came because the McCain campaign was desperate to break an increasingly vicious news and public opinion cycle.  There simply is no precedent for this.  Presidential candidates did not suspend their campaigns during the Civil War, the Great Depression, WWII, the Cold War and the Vietnam War.  Lincoln. FDR. Kennedy, Nixon.  They stood, debated, made their case. Why can't McCain do the same?  This feels so craven, so political, so full of cowardice and fear that it says a great deal about the man who wants to be our next President. 

I mean, what else could he possibly be doing tomorrow night that is more important than having a frank conversation with the American people about our future? 

I know.  He will be having Shabbat dinner with his old friend Joe Lieberman. That's a good enough excuse to unilaterally withdraw from one of the four debates that will help the American people choose their next leader.  A previous engagement.  Dinner with an old friend.


Rob Dugger: A Prescription for Recovery

Our friend Rob Dugger penned a powerful op-ed in the Washington Post today, A Prescription for Recovery.  It offers these five principles to help guide our next steps in putting our financial system back on track: 

· Put individual taxpayers first. The program needs to focus on keeping taxpayers in their homes, strengthening their local economies and protecting their savings. It has to help Americans broadly, not just a few, and certainly not the managers who got us into this mess.

· Minimize taxpayer costs over the long term. Short-term thinking created this crisis. Only long-term efforts will end it. The S&L crisis was limited to the financial sector. It was best addressed on an aggressive basis, bank by bank. This meant that least-cost resolutions were the way to go and that the RTC should buy and sell assets quickly, which it did. But the current situation is systemic. It involves our entire economy. This means the revitalization program should buy distressed assets early and plan to hold them for a long time. The goal is to make the economic adjustment as shallow as possible, to limit the injury to families, jobs, homes and savings.

· Avoid creating an interim program. This program must not be like the S&L "rescues" of the mid-1980s, which merely enabled the problems to grow. The program needs to have the capacity, flexibility and scope to address the vast size of the current crisis. Congress should put no dollar or time limit on our national commitment. Yes, markets will want dollar figures. If numbers must be given, let them be in statements about the program -- and let them be big. Do not shy away from saying that the United States is prepared to commit a trillion dollars over the next 10 years to halt this meltdown here and now.

· Remember global investors, whose confidence we must regain. This crisis is an economic heart attack, but not a fatal one. We must assure global investors that we are fully prepared to cover American losses. No one suggests that this will be easy. The budget choices being forced on us will be profoundly difficult. But we have the strongest democracy and the most durable legal and financial systems in the world. We have the capacity to absorb losses and the ability to reshape our economy. Foreign investors need evidence that we are committed to the changes necessary for recovery. When they see that, they will buy our private assets again.

· Do not hesitate. Bill Seidman's greatest lesson was action. It is far better to deal with a few assets, even without knowing quite what to do, than to do nothing while trying to work out the details. Whoever is in charge of the revitalization program must not hesitate to buy the assets that institutions offer -- these will be what is burdening the institutions and clogging our credit system the most. There are many strategies for buying assets and infusing capital that can protect the program from paying too much and ensure that taxpayers benefit from price increases as recovery occurs. The key is to get the assets in-house quickly and learn how to manage them effectively.

The Palin Bubble Has Burst

In this powerful post, Kos shows how Governor Palin's numbers have tanked in the past 10 days.  

On September 11, her favorable/unfavorable rating was 52/35.  Today it is 41/46.  In this time, she has gone from the most popular of the four candidates to the least.  Palin's surge breathed life into an anemic McCain campaign.  Her collapse has brought McCain back to about the same place he was before the GOP Convention, in the low 40s, and a stumbling, bumbling candidate.  

For John McCain, Palin has become a double-edged sword.  A must-have at his events.  She brings in the GOP crowds he, the maverick, never had.  But for the rest of the electorate, she has become a drag on the already struggling McCain ticket.  

The bursting of the Palin bubble - while she maintains her rock star appeal with the GOP base - spells a great deal of trouble for Senator McCain.

McCain Is Either Confused about or Combative Toward Spanish P.M.

Time reports that earlier this week, U.S. Sen. John McCain gave this answer when asked if he would receive Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in the White House:

"Honestly, I have to analyze our relationships, situations, and priorities, but I can assure you that I will establish closer relationships with our friends, and I will stand up to those who want to harm the United States."

The response came after a series of questions about Latin America, and it seems that McCain either confused Mr. Zapatero with Latin American leaders like Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales, or is still holding a grudge about Spain withdrawing its troops from Iraq. Given that McCain also recently referred to the nonexistent nation of Czechoslovakia, can never remember the difference between Sunni and Shia, and refers to the "Iraq-Pakistan border," the former explanation seems more likely. As the Spanish newspaper El Pais puts it,

"In the best-case scenario, [his answer] demonstrates his ignorance with respect to Zapatero."

Since McCain presents himself as the foreign policy candidate in this race, that's not a great best-case scenario for him.


Obama on the Teetering Street

The further weakening of America's financial markets is tossing a major new issue into the Presidential race, one, that today, appears to make the job of the national GOP and their ticket much harder. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama opened up this new debate with this well-crafted statement:

"This morning we woke up to some very serious and troubling news from Wall Street.

"The situation with Lehman Brothers and other financial institutions is the latest in a wave of crises that are generating enormous uncertainty about the future of our financial markets. This turmoil is a major threat to our economy and its ability to create good-paying jobs and help working Americans pay their bills, save for their future, and make their mortgage payments.

"The challenges facing our financial system today are more evidence that too many folks in Washington and on Wall Street weren't minding the store. Eight years of policies that have shredded consumer protections, loosened oversight and regulation, and encouraged outsized bonuses to CEOs while ignoring middle-class Americans have brought us to the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.

"I certainly don't fault Senator McCain for these problems, but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to. It's a philosophy we've had for the last eight years - one that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. It's a philosophy that says even common-sense regulations are unnecessary and unwise, and one that says we should just stick our heads in the sand and ignore economic problems until they spiral into crises.

"Well now, instead of prosperity trickling down, the pain has trickled up - from the struggles of hardworking Americans on Main Street to the largest firms of Wall Street.

"This country can't afford another four years of this failed philosophy. For years, I have consistently called for modernizing the rules of the road to suit a 21st century market - rules that would protect American investors and consumers. And I've called for policies that grow our economy and our middle-class together. That is the change I am calling for in this campaign, and that is the change I will bring as President,"

It will be interesting to see how the McCain campaign responds. Over the next seven weeks, its goal has to be to talk about anything other than the economic performance of this GOP era.


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