From Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Domenico Montanaro
*** Now here's the bounce: A few recent national polls -- which have shown Obama leading McCain by single digits after he essentially wrapped up the Democratic nomination -- have led some in the media to ask: Where's the bounce? Well, here it is… Obama is now leading in three of the biggest battleground states, according to a new Quinnipiac survey. In Florida, it's Obama 47%, McCain 43%. In Ohio, it's Obama 48%, McCain 42%. And in Pennsylvania, it's Obama 52%, McCain 40%. For the McCain camp, those PA numbers have to be particularly frustrating. And if Obama's getting a bounce like this in Florida now, imagine what happens after a few days of bad off-shore oil drilling press in the state for McCain.
*** Let's do the time warp again: Anyone else think that yesterday's back-and-forth over prosecuting terrorist acts was like time traveling back to 2004? You had McCain's campaign accusing Obama of having a pre-9/11 mindset; John Kerry and former counter-terrorism official Richard Clarke firing back in an Obama conference call; and even Rudy Giuliani reprising his role from the 2004 convention. The only things that were missing were Zell Miller, Kerry's Band of Brothers, and those Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. (Scratch that -- Max Cleland has just sent out an email for the DSCC attacking "smears and insinuations.") Both sides have two great talking points that seem to resonate with voters. For Obama, it's "Why hasn't Osama been caught?" For McCain, it's "How many people thought we'd go this long with an attack on US soil. So the Bush Administration has been doing something right, right?" But giving voters a flashback to 2004 could be a risk for the McCain camp. Yes, Bush won re-election that year. But does it help McCain to mimic his playbook when, four years later, voters aren't all too pleased with the White House? That said, the McCain camp isn't letting go of the issue today, as it hosts a 9:00 am conference call on the subject with Giuliani.
*** Speaking of Bush and McCain…: If you're a candidate who's trying to distance yourself from your party's president on an issue like the environment -- even running a new TV ad criticizing him for not sounding the alarm on global warming -- how helpful is it when that president echoes your energy policy? Well, that's exactly what has happened with the news that Bush will call on Congress today to end the ban on off-shore drilling, an idea that McCain proposed in a big speech yesterday. Bush makes a statement on the subject at 10:35 am ET. It's striking that in the three months since locking up the GOP nomination, McCain hasn't moved to the center, but to the right on numerous issues (his address on judges and his judicial philosophy; his recent speech on taxes to the National Federation of Independent Business; and his off-shore drilling proposal from Houston, the heart of the American oil industry). Of course, McCain had to shore up his support among conservatives, a group that has often hasn't trusted him. But at what potential cost to his image from 2000?
VIDEO: The environment begins to take center stage in the 2008 election as Al Gore, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change, endorsed Barack Obama. John McCain also called for an end to the 27-year-old ban on additional off-shore drilling. Newsweek's Jonathan Alter discusses.
*** Crist's switch: Of course, McCain's support for lifting the ban on off-shore drilling is a reversal from his stance in 2000. But the most stunning flip-flopper on this issue was Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) -- one could get a case of veepstakes whiplash with how fast he seconded McCain's call to lift the ban. Some may view Crist as pandering transparently to be on the ticket; others may view it as a profile in courage to sacrifice some of his statewide good will to help the GOP; and still others might see this decision as the first crack in what has been a meteoric rise. Considering that tourism is the perceived bedrock of the Florida economy, one can envision attack ads now showing oil rigs and oil spills on the shores of Florida. These ads will either take place now or in 2010, when Crist runs for re-election. Here's what we don't understand about all this oil drilling talk: Isn't the real problem the lack of new oil refineries, not the oil itself?
*** Placating the donors: News is out that Obama and Clinton will meet at a joint fundraiser on June 26 in DC. The AP says it's an "effort to calm donors who remain frustrated with Obama's presidential campaign… Two people closely involved with Clinton's fundraising said the meeting had taken on added urgency after several of her money 'bundlers' complained that they felt their concerns weren't heard during meetings last week with Obama campaign officials in New York and Washington." It's interesting that top Clinton donors feel as if they haven't been treated well by Team Obama. What it shows, though, is that Obama's camp just hasn't been that reliant on big donors, and so this may not have been the priority it would have been for nominees who had raised money by more traditional means. Still, the fact that Clinton and Obama have to hold a meeting together with these donors indicates it was not an easy transition and there are a lot of donor egos that need to be dealt with.
*** Shades of another first lady? Michelle Obama co-hosts ABC's The View today. And pegged to that, be sure not to miss today's New York Times profile of Michelle Obama. It's striking to us how much she seems to resemble Hillary Clinton circa '92 -- in both the praise and criticism she's received.
*** Not Moving On: Yesterday, one of us was very critical of the new MoveOn/AFSCME ad that uses a mother and her new baby to criticize McCain on the war. Advocates of the ad pushed back on the criticism noting: 1) it tested very well, particularly with women; 2) if Obama isn't going to challenge McCain on Iraq, MoveOn will; and 3) the group has been against the war from the beginning, and feels it has earned the right to go after McCain on this issue. All of these points we get. Perhaps the most interesting thing is the fact that the group is upset that Obama is leaving McCain's new TV ad about the war unchallenged. How does the Obama camp feel about being second-guessed so publicly in strategy? And will Obama have to condemn the ad because he doesn't want indie groups messing with his strategy? *** CLARIFICATION *** We realize in this post that we suggested that MoveOn was "upset" with the Obama campaign and felt being "second-guessed." Those were our words, not MoveOn's -- and it never expressed those sentiments to us in our conversation. We regret the suggestion.
*** On the trail: McCain campaigns in the battleground of Missouri, holding an event at Missouri State University in Springfield. Obama is in DC, where he meets with his senior working group on national security.
Countdown to Dem convention: 68 days
Countdown to GOP convention: 75 days
Countdown to Election Day 2008: 139 days
Countdown to Inauguration Day 2009: 216 days
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