Monday, August 18, 2008

First Read From MSNBC

Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2008 06:13:20 -0700
From: "NBC First Read" Subject: First Read: Back in the saddle(back)...

*** Channeling Jon Lovitz: Is Obama having a Jon Lovitz-as-Dukakis SNL moment: "I can't believe I'm losing to this guy"? Well, Obama isn't losing -- he still has a small single-digit lead in most national polls, and he's ahead narrowly in current electoral-vote projections. But his tone changed a bit campaigning in Reno yesterday, his first full day on the campaign trail since his vacation. To put it simply, he was much more aggressive on the attack. As the AP writes, "So much for hugging in church. [A]fter praising the Arizona senator as a 'genuine American
patriot,' the Democratic presidential hopeful got back to business - methodically tearing into McCain's health care, tax and energy policies and criticizing his advisers. More: "The Illinois senator also criticized McCain's advisers as 'the same old folks that brought you George W. Bush. The same team.' He noted many had been lobbyists in Washington before McCain asked them to sever all lobbying ties." We've been hearing for a few weeks that the Obama campaign believes it hasn't been tough
enough on McCain. Might we have seen a preview of a rougher treatment of McCain from Obama at his Reno stop yesterday? And does this mean the convention week will be tougher on McCain than either Gore or Kerry were on Bush?

*** Back In The Saddle(back): We seriously underestimated how Saturday's religious forum was made to order for McCain, despite the perceptions that McCain rarely talks openly about his faith. On all the questions regarding hot-button social issues, the Arizona senator didn't have to depart from GOP orthodoxy one bit, except on stem cells. To put it another way, the reverse for McCain would have been him -- in an effort to win over union members -- addressing a forum sponsored by the Teamsters. Still, McCain performed very well, and the reviews seem to back that up. Obama also did well given the venue and much of the subject matter. (Although his "above my pay grade" answer on life begins has generated a lot of discussion, how else was a pro-choice politician going to respond to this?). Nevertheless, Obama spent more time trying to impress moderator Rick Warren (or not to offend him), while McCain seemingly ignored Warren and decided he was talking to folks watching on TV. The McCain way of handling this forum is usually the winning way. Obama may have had more authentic moments but McCain was impressively on message. And McCain being on message should quiet many critics on the right who wanted to pounce on him over his hint about a pro-choice running mate. McCain didn't sound like a Republican who was going to cave on some of these important social conservative issues.

*** Practice And Blog Fodder: Overall, Saturday's forum was a fascinating event because the contrast between the two candidates was so clear. Obama better be thankful for the timing -- he seemed a little rusty and clearly has some work to do before he meets McCain face-to-face on September 26, the night of the first presidential debate in Oxford, MS. If there is an upside for Obama, it's that he might now enter the first debate with slightly lower expectations than McCain. One other thing: The fact that McCain wasn't in a "cone of silence" during Obama's portion of the forum -- as the New York Times reports today -- is going to be some interesting blog fodder.

First Read with NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd, every weekday on MSNBC-TV at 9 a.m. ET.

For more: The latest edition of First Read is available now at


The CDM said...

I watched Keith Olbermann's "Special Comment" tonight. What a spankin' he gave to McCain, it was pretty ugly, but well deserved. You ought to check it out.

Only thing I said after that was, "DAAAAYYUUUMMMMM!!!"

Adonis said...

To be honest I started to fall asleep when McCain took the stage. I think under the circumstances Obama did well. And the idea that he punted on the whole "when does life begin" question is flippin' stoopid! No one can say, that's completely subjective. Ya know, Ive heard some women say it begins a forty.