David M. Reisner
AC360° Digital Producer
Their 2008 convention has hardly given Democrats time to relax and enjoy the festivities. The Obama campaign has spent two days swatting off attack ads, making nice with the Clintons and their delegates… and, oh yeah, retooling the party’s message with all eyes on Denver.
It’s been a mixed success. Barack Obama's choice of Sen. Joseph Biden for vice president has not given him any bump in national polls. In fact, a Gallup poll this week shows McCain now leading over Obama 46 to 44 percent, marking the first time since June that Obama has trailed. And the McCain camp is not holding back.
McCain has been trying to knock Obama and the Democrats off message during commercial breaks with a new ad using Hillary Clinton’s own words (and her 3am ad) against Obama. You can bet we’ll see the same with Biden’s critiques of Obama earlier this year.
Clinton’s speech last night was the biggest firecracker in the Democrats' box so far. She aimed to calm the nerves of a divided party and deflate McCain attempts to crash the party.
Obama has a lot of "healthy pressure," as David Gergen put it, to perform in the wake of her speech. Even if Obama’s "closing curtain" speech, as James Carville put it, ignites the party, the McCain camp has the water bucket ready to try dowsing the Democrats' fire, planning his own VP announcement Friday morning…and the Republican National Convention next week.
So it just might pay to go last this time…
But life isn't so simple. On Friday, all eyes might turn to McCain and the Republican convention. OR... they might turn to Hurricane Gustav.
Last night, as Hillary hit the message of unity, Hurricane Gustav hit Haiti. The storm is expected to strengthen as it enters the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. And then we might very well have a storm that could hit the New Orleans region on the 3rd anniversary of Katrina, just as the GOP convention gets started.
With oil prices already sky high, and worries that Gustav could threaten oil refineries in the Gulf, not to mention broadcast coverage of the convention, the last thing a Republican candidate needs is a 3rd anniversary reminder of how the current Republican administration botched its handling of such a disaster. Heaven forbid we see it happen again.
Maybe it won’t pay to go last after all…
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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