The Wall Street Journal on the latest NBC/WSJ poll: "Sen. John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate has shaken up the presidential race, lifting enthusiasm among his once-subdued supporters and boosting the ticket's appeal with women, rural voters and Southerners. The new … poll also shows that a majority of voters say they are comfortable with the idea of the first-term Alaska governor as vice president, despite a national debate over whether she is experienced enough for the job."
"The survey also had good news for Sen. Obama, showing that he improved his standing with the electorate in areas where he had been seen as weak. More voters said they were comfortable with him as president than they did in a Journal poll three weeks ago, and a higher proportion said they were confident in his ability to be commander in chief. A growing number also said they can identify with his values and background."
Here's MSNBC.com's write up on the poll.
And for the faux controversy over Obama's "lipstick on a pig" remarks yesterday, it seems the New York tabloids took the bait. The cover of the New York Post: "Boar War!"
The cover of the NY Daily News: "Lipstick bungle."
But, as NBC's Carrie Dann points out, McCain himself used this phrasing on Oct. 11, 2007 and, as NBC's Shawna Thomas points out, he used it again on May 2 of this year -- both times in reference to Hillary Clinton's universal healthcare proposal. "I think they put some lipstick on a pig," he said to the Des Moines Rotary Club when asked if he could put a price tag on Hillarycare, "but it's still a pig."
And Mike Huckabee defended Obama, even as Sean Hannity tried to stoke the flames. "It's an old expression, and I'm going to have to cut Obama some slack on that one. I do not think he was referring to Sarah Palin; he didn't reference her. If you take the two soundbites together, it may sound like it. But I've been a guy at the podium many times, and you say something that's maybe a part of an old joke and then somebody ties it in. So, I'm going to have to cut him slack."
The biggest difference may be that Obama wasn't even referring to Palin. What he said: "John McCain says he's about change too, and so I guess his whole angle is 'Watch out George Bush -- except for economic policy, health-care policy, tax policy, education, policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove style politics -- we're really going to shake things up in Washington,'" Obama said today at a town hall in Lebanon, VA, adding, "That's not change. That's just calling the same thing something different. But you know, you can ... put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper and call it change; it's still going to stink. After eight years, we've had enough of the same old thing. It's time to bring about real change to Washington."
The McCain campaign held a staged conference call with former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift "outraged." The Boston Globe: "Challenged about how she could be sure that Obama was referring to Palin, Swift replied, 'She's the only one of the four presidential or vice presidential candidates who wears lipstick.' The Obama campaign pointed out that McCain used the same idiom while criticizing Hillary Clinton's healthcare plan, saying it was a rehash of the one she pushed as first lady. 'I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig,' he said of her proposal."
The Politico's Martin: "So McCain has become the protagonist and is setting the contours of the debate. He may be winning ugly, but of late he's winning. Obama needs to figure out a way to hit back, but on his terms. And there don't seem to be any easy answers. But, luckily for him, he's sitting down later this week with perhaps the shrewdest mind in Democratic politics -- and somebody who knows how to beat Republican war heroes who try to run campaigns on culture and character."
But... "New York Gov. David Paterson said Tuesday that there were racial overtones in the Republican presidential ticket's criticism of Democrat Barack Obama's work as a community organizer. 'There are overtones of potential racial coding in the campaign,' Paterson said at an event in New York City.
"Paterson said that while Republican candidates John McCain and Sarah Palin haven't directly talked about race, it's strongly implied in comments Alaska Gov. Palin and others have made about Obama. McCain's camp said Paterson's claim is false.
"'The Republican party is too smart to call Barack Obama 'black' in a sense that it would be a negative,' Paterson said. 'But you can take something about his life, which I noticed they did at the Republican convention. A 'community organizer,' they kept saying it, they kept laughing, like what does this mean? It means that an individual who could have gone to Wall Street and made a lot of money, and then run for office because he could buy media time, chose to go back and work in programs in a neighborhood where he thought he could make a difference and became an elected official based on his involvement right in his own community,' said Paterson, a Democrat who is the state's first black governor."