Ballot Box

The best political buzz from around the web

Several hours from now the presidential candidates will kick off their second debate and -- amid low poll numbers for McCain -- many are starting to question whether the maverick can pull off a W both in the debate and in Nov. Tonight's town hall could be a total mudslinging slug-fest or chock-full of substance-heavy soliloquies. Today's buzz: McCain needs a W to bolster his poll numbers.

  • McCain needs a knock-em-dead performance tonight in order to win this election and what he says about the economy will be an integral part of it, writes Larry Kudlow in the National Review Online. Attacking Obama, he writes, will not work. Take-away: "That message gives McCain a fighting chance."
  • Tonight's debate will just be more of the same from desperate McCain, writes Arianna Huffington on HuffPo. The candidate is using scare tactics and slander to try to get ahead in polls -- and it's failing. Take-away: "McCain and his hatchet mom VP nominee are hoping to expose the 'real' Barack Obama to the people of America; but what they are really exposing is how morally corrupt McCain has become."
  • Brace yourself: Town hall meetings don't always go as planned, writes John Dickerson in Slate. It should be interesting to see how the candidates field questions from voters on the fly. Take-away: "One thing we know: You don't want Joe Six Pack calling you out."
  • In another post-mortem on the VP debate Richard Cohen writes in WaPo that the media is giving Sarah Palin a pass even though she flunked. Take-away: "Much of the mainstream media, grading on a curve suitable for a parrot -- "greed and corruption, greed and corruption, greed and corruption" -- gave her a passing grade or better."
  • Eugene Robinson agrees. He writes in the WaPo that journalists get roped into the GOP's "flimflam" strategy and gets caught up talking 'hockey mom' with Palin instead of talking about what concerns voters. Take-away: "The McCain campaign has made clear that it wants to change the subject. We can, and should, change it back."  
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