NBC political director Chuck Todd detects "a tenseness" and "no chemistry" between John McCain and Sarah Palin in this joint interview with Brian Williams: "And you can tell they know that they're losing," Todd adds. Judge for yourself: the first part, above, was broadcast last night. (Palin joins in at about 3m30s, rather foolhardily questioning Obama's experience, and the two interact more after about 5m50s.)
Polls: Reuters has Obama 52%, McCain 40% among likely voters, a 12-point lead; Fox has 49%-40%, and new Quinnipiac University polls put Obama ahead in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. A much-noted AP poll says the race is tied at Obama 44%, McCain 43%, but here's an interesting critique of AP's definition of "likely voters".
Neither McCain nor Obama fit traditional models of the hawk or the dove when it comes to their beliefs about the uses of American power: 'Some of their views appear as messy and unpredictable as the troubles one of them will inherit." (Take Iran: Obama would sit down and talk, but it's McCain who has the more easygoing view of Iranian uranium enrichment.) A meaty NYT policy piece. [New York Times]
The fact that Sarah Palin needed the Republicans to spend $150,000 on clothes for her and her family only goes to show that she is an average Hockey Sixpack Mom Joe Outsider American: if she was a Washington veteran she'd already have a wardrobe like that. Besides, Obama's suits cost upwards of $1,500. [The Corner]
Never mind 2008: get ready for Palin 2012! "Sarah's the one," said one leading conservative who is convinced Mr McCain will lose this election.
Palin makeover gives McCain a headache
IS THE choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate still a stroke of genius or is the Alaskan governor an increasingly heavy weight in John McCain's saddlebags?
As new details emerged of Republican campaign spending on the vice-presidential candidate's image, the Palin factor is looming large.
Much of Wednesday was occupied by the Republican Party defending its spending $US150,000 ($223,000) on outfitting Mrs Palin and her family at upmarket stores such as Nieman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Image matters: in the scheme of US campaign funding $US150,000 is not that much, but the party was on the back foot as it fended off inquiries about the spending of donors' money.
Adding to the ticket's headaches, it was disclosed that Senator McCain spent $US8672.55 ($12,900) last month for the services of the American Idol make-up artist Tifanie White.
While Mrs Palin spent more, the Arizona senator, 72, who has prominent scars from battling cancer, requires more work than does the more naturally telegenic Mrs Palin, 44.
Palin's travelling make-up artist is Amy Strozzi, who was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work as head of make-up on So You Think You Can Dance. Ms Strozzi was paid $US13,200 by the McCain-Palin campaign last month alone, according to the campaign's latest financial disclosure report filed this week.
Two national polls earlier this week found that Mrs Palin appears to be a continuing, if not an increasing, drag on the Republican ticket.
A poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics, taken through last month, also found that far from energising the youth vote for the Republicans, the choice of Mrs Palin had proved a turn-off.
But the biggest problem with the Palin pick may be internal.
An NBC presenter, Brian Williams, and the political editor Chuck Todd speculated on the cable news channel MSNBC that Senator McCain and Mrs Palin were struggling to get on and said there was a "negative intensity" between them in a recent interview.
"There is a tenseness; there was no chemistry; they were not comfortable with each other," Todd said.
He warned that the campaign was in danger of losing its wheels, and that staff were becoming defensive and unsettled in the face of bad poll results. He also criticised the campaign team for having virtually no "ground game" for getting out early voters.
Friday, October 24, 2008