Preseason is over folks, as the first debate looms ever closer. While I believe the fundamentals of John McCain’s campaign are strong, there is starting to be a perception that Obama is retaking his lead. On this week leading up to Friday’s debate the McCain campaign need to reclaim the energy and momentum. Here is what I believe needs to be accomplished this week.
Get Back To Using Thematic Ads- The best week the McCain camp had before Sarah Palin was when Steve Schmidt unveiled the “Celebrity” ads. This was a masterstroke by the McCain campaign because it started defining Obama for the voters. This week a new crop of thematic ads need to appear. The McCain camp has released an ad that will hopefully be the first in a series to air this week. The ad is titled “Chicago Machine” and lays out Obama’s past associations. This is good, this whole week there should be “Chicago Machine” ads that will allow the folks around Obama to be exposed and thus change the narrative of the campaign leading up to the pivotal first debate.
Romney Should Be Traveling To Michigan And Colorado- I know Mitt Romney is on McCain’s economic commission, but he needs to be used to greater advantage. Mitt Romney, I believe, can only do John McCain good in both Colorado and Michigan. Colorado has a fairly substantial LDS population that can be rallied by Romney and Michigan is just waiting to be plucked from the democratic column. Romney has economic leadership that can be used to reassure and shore up these two states for McCain. Romney has been all over television, but he needs to be on the ground in these two states. McCain has a great asset in Mitt Romney during this economic uncertainty. He just needs to use him correctly.
Practice, Practice, Practice- You need to be prepared John, there will be no friendly or even fair questions directed your way. The format of these debates will allow for a great deal of back and forth between the candidates and this is a great development. Stay on offense, don’t be deferential and start conceding points. The moment you sound apologetic and concede any issue to Obama its over, you lose the debate. Get your message out, leave Bush alone, talk about why this economic mess was caused by bad democratic policies, and finally bring home those national security points. Though I hate to bring back this clichéd word from the 2000 campaign, show some “gravitas”. It is your job in this first debate to marginalize Obama, put him on defense and keep him there.
Final Thoughts- The media, as begun on Morning Joe this morning, is painting the McCain campaign as “off their game” and “starting to fall behind.” Frankly, I have looked at these polls and I do not believe that, yet. Recapturing the momentum leading up to the debate will be the McCain camps task and if they can do it and stay on offence in the debate, the Obama folks are going to be in for a rough October. Until tomorrow…