There's less than a month left until the election and -- with the second presidential debate Tuesday and poll numbers placing Obama at a slight advantage -- things are heating up and, of course, getting negative. Today's buzz: Whose campaign strategy is working best?
- The dramatic shift in tenor of the McCain campaign is a result of Republican's concession that McCain can't win if the focus is on the economy, wrote Harold Meyerson in the WaPo. Take-away: "So long as the candidates talk about that pesky economy, McCain's handlers have realized, McCain will continue to swoon."
- McCain cannot win with the kind of negative campaign that he's running and desperately needs to find his own voice, wrote Mike Lupica in the Sunday NY Daily News. The debate will determine whether the candidate can talk substance or simply trade barbs. Take-away: "We'll see if this McCain is the one who has turned into ground noise and static and yelling, trying to win with politics older than dirt."
- McCain didn't mention Sarah Palin once during his first debate against Obama -- but he did mention Gen. Petraeus, whom he has invoked for campaign purposes multiple times, wrote Jackson Diehl in the WaPo. Take-away: "By employing the general so heavily in his rhetoric, McCain is doing a disservice to a commander whose skills the next president will sorely need."
- Race is definitely still a factor in the presidential campaign, which is underscored by a recent study that showed Obama's support would be six percentage point higher if he were white, wrote Nicholas Kristof in the NYT. Take-away: "Most of the votes that Mr. Obama actually loses belong to well-meaning whites who believe in racial equality and have no objection to electing a black person as president -- yet who discriminate unconsciously."