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Ballot Box



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    Ballot Box

    Ahead in the polls and hogging the spotlight, John McCain and Sarah Palin have given Team Obama a lot to worry about. Today's buzz is centered around America's odd couple -- and if they're just riding out a convention wave or hitting stride all on their own.

    • Sure this is an unconventional election, but NYT columnist David Brooks advises both candidates to do away with conventions altogether. Weirdness wins, he writes, and the public is rewarding candidates who are taking risks and pulling out all the stops. Takeaway: "If I were advising the candidates, I'd tell them to double down on weirdness."
    • There's nothing special about McCain's strategy -- he's just an egomaniac, writes Eugene Robinson in the WaPo. The maverick -- who refuses to take any responsibility for his party's many failures -- fancies himself special from others in the party. Takeaway: "McCain is campaigning on a platform that can be summed up in three words: me, me, me."
    • Narcissist or not, McCain is beating Obama in the polls and his strategy to "double-team" his opponent with Palin is paying off, writes Jonah Goldberg in the LA Times. The media's attacks on  Palin have backfired and Obama's backpedaling attempts to defend his resume force him to volunteer his shortcomings. Takeaway: "[I]t looks as if the change-up strategy has Team Obama rattled and in danger of choking."
    • But Obama isn't the only one with a problem -- Biden's in big trouble, Dahlia Lithwick writes for Slate. It will be very difficult for Biden not to turn off voters if he comes off looking like a sexist bully when he debates Palin this fall.  Takeaway: "If you are windy, pompous, unctuous or pushy you will come across as patronizing and condescending -- the guy who puts the 'boy' into 'old boys' network." 
    • Obama needs to start fighting back, writes NY Daily News' Richard Cohen. He's being Swiftboated and needs to respond accordingly. His tepid responses to McCain and Palin aren't winning  over voters.