quinta-feira, outubro 09, 2008

KARL ROVE SOBRE AS ELEÎÇÔES - OBAMA AINDA NÃO GANHOU

Da edição de hoje do Wall Street Journal:

"Tuesday night's presidential debate was good entertainment. Both candidates were animated and loose throughout a wide-ranging discussion. Sen. Barack Obama did well in Sen. John McCain's favorite format. Mr. McCain was more focused and sharp than in the first debate, though the cameras above him made his balding pate more prominent.


Tom Brokaw was often a distraction: Did he really need over a hundred words -- including the name "Sherard Cowper-Coles" -- to ask about Afghanistan?
Mr. McCain's advocates were cheered by him advancing the theme that Mr. Obama lacks a record of accomplishment or bipartisanship in the Senate. Mr. McCain also described how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac constituted "the match that started this forest fire" that's engulfed our economy, and nailed Mr. Obama and Democrats for being AWOL on GSE reform.
Mr. McCain was most effective on taxes and spending. He argued now is not the time to raise taxes and hit Mr. Obama's proposal to hike small business taxes: three out of four filers in the top 5% report small-business income. Mr. McCain called for a spending freeze and attacked earmarks, including Mr. Obama's $3 million for a Chicago planetarium's "overhead projector." Mr. Obama weakly replied earmarks were only $18 billion.
Advocates of Mr. Obama, on the other hand, saw him scoring points on style and connecting with questioners. He patiently explained to one how the Wall Street rescue package would help him and his neighbors on Main Street. He had the night's emotional high point when he talked about his dying mother fighting her insurer over whether her cancer was a pre-existing condition. He called for dramatic change and tied Mr. McCain to the Bush administration, though not too often to be obnoxious.
Mr. Obama also offered his villain responsible for the current crisis: "the deregulation of the financial system." Many voters will accept Mr. Obama's designation, despite it being both wrong and a slap at President Bill Clinton, who signed the 1999 deregulation legislation that Mr. Obama seems to object to, and Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin and Undersecretary Larry Summers, who helped fashion it. What do these Obama advisers think of being blamed for the credit-market meltdown?
What about swing voters? There are probably more undecided and persuadable voters open to switching their choice than in any election since 1968.

For those open to Mr. McCain, it is unclear how they will respond to his plan to order the Treasury secretary "to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America and renegotiate at the new value of those homes." It came across as both impulsive and badly explained. No experts were ready to defend it. No explanatory paper was flung at journalists. Nor were surrogates like Mitt Romney briefed. But the campaign did admit it borrowed the idea from Hillary Clinton.
While it was good Mr. McCain engaged on health-care reform, his explanations were not crisp or powerful. And he failed to defend his proposed corporate tax cut. Why not say America has the world's second-highest corporate tax rate, putting the U.S. at a disadvantage in creating jobs?
For those leaning to Mr. Obama, there was no evidence of bipartisanship. There was no talk of accomplishments. Did he really think it was smart to answer Mr. McCain on Fannie by dismissing the GSE reform bill and pointing to a letter he wrote? In the Senate, is the pen mightier than legislation? And Mr. Obama's say-one-thing, do-another approach was apparent. Blast Mr. McCain for talking up the economy, then say, "I am confident about the American economy." Blame Mr. McCain for the credit meltdown, and end the assault with "you're not interested in hearing politicians pointing fingers." Say "only a few percent of small businesses" will get taxed when 663,000 small enterprises are in the top 5%.
There were no knockouts. What matters now is how well the candidates prosecute the themes they have laid out in the election's remaining 26 days. Interest is high. People are paying more attention than usual.
Each faces a big challenge. Mr. McCain's is that events have tilted the field towards Mr. Obama. To win, Mr. McCain must demonstrate he stands for responsible conservative change, while portraying Mr. Obama as an out-of-the-mainstream liberal not ready to be president.
Mr. Obama's test is that voters haven't shaken deep concerns about his lack of qualifications. Having accomplished virtually nothing in his three years in the Senate except to win the Democratic nomination, Mr. Obama must show he is up to the job. Voters like him, conditions favor him, yet he has not closed the sale. He may be approaching the finish line with that mixture of lassitude and insouciance he displayed in the spring against Mrs. Clinton.
But here's a warning sign for Mr. Obama. Of recent candidates, only Michael Dukakis in 1988 has had a larger percentage of voters tell pollsters they believe he lacks the necessary qualifications to be president."

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