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October 27th, 2008
02:19 PM ET

Obama's coattails, and McCain's closing argument

John King
Chief National Correspondent

Eight days out and some Republicans see small glimmers of progress, if not hope. But most are fairly bleak about the GOP’s chances.

“Feels like the makings of a landslide,” said one veteran GOP operative who has held top jobs in presidential campaigns and been closely involved in past congressional cycles.

Another longtime strategist who is involved in a number of congressional and state races this year said many Republicans who had run good campaigns were asking a daunting question heading into the final week: “Will all these newly registered voters go to vote for Obama and then walk out without voting for a lot of candidates they have never heard of, or will they go all the way down the ballot to create coattails?”

Somewhat more optimistic was a GOP strategist closely involved with the McCain campaign.

“Things improved,” over the weekend, was this strategist’s take. “No mystery. Lots of red states closer than last week.”

This operative said rural voters and white downscale men had moved a bit toward the Republican ticket in recent days, making the battleground states somewhat more competitive.

A second senior McCain campaign adviser said Senator McCain had taped new advertisements to be used in the final week. One, due out as early as Monday, is McCain speaking to camera about what he considers the best components of his approach to the economy, and his take on the downsides of the Obama plan.

Later in the week, this senior adviser said, the McCain campaign plans to launch what he called a strong “commander in chief for the close” ad.

Editor's note: See John King on the Magic Map tonight on AC360 at 10PM ET.


Filed under: Barack Obama • John King • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Jamel from NJ

    OH the hate oh the hate? Each time McCain says something, the Republicans run with it as the 'WORD', but when Obama speaks...he has to defend himself with everything, does he need to go back to his 2nd grade teacher for references? I seriously wish there was no TV, or Internet, and that people would look at these 2 candidates on paper. There would be no contest. If McCain were 'black' candidate, there definitely would be no contest. Other than being a strong supporter of civil rights, speaking for middle class america, fighting for injustices, what has this man done to make so much of america either fear or despise him so much? Its funny, I have tried to vote in every election, and I don't look at whether the candidates are black or white, just whether they stand for what I do. I have read books by both Barack and John, and have watched them both...America, there is no contest, this election is merely a formality.

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08

    October 27, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  2. Brian

    Party affiliations aside, it is very difficult to vote wthout thinking about your savings/ mattress account. People, young and old, are scared about the future which is why so many people are taking advantage of early voting.
    John, Tim Russert would be sooo proud of your magic map! I tried the one online and it's addictive.

    October 27, 2008 at 10:10 pm |
  3. lampe

    To begin with, they are not returning $150,000 in worn clothing. Clothing was purchased in different sizes, because the woman, wasn't sure of the right size. So 1\3 of the clothes were returned right away. Anything that has not been worn will be returned, and anything that has will go to charity. Please CNN, tell the truth. When Michelle got a make-over, who paid for that? And where are those outfits? And who paid for all of Biden's Kids and grandkids to go to the Convention? The only difference here is the McCain\Palin Camp, did not try to hide it in the campaign fundind as something else. Which is what the Obama\Biden Camp did. And I think it's pretty bad, when your V.P. says someone else (HRC) would have been a better running partner. And then goes and says The USA is going to have some kind of attack, in which Obama, is not going to make the right decision, but wants the american people to stand-by him anyway. ARE YOU KIDING ME? And we are supposed to trust this man with our well being and the safety of our children?

    October 27, 2008 at 10:03 pm |
  4. karen

    Commander In Chief Ad-hmmmm, I smell a rat–could the current attack on syria be politically motivated? I sure hope Americans are smart enough to see through this BS.

    October 27, 2008 at 9:52 pm |
  5. Don H, San Diego

    If McCain had exercised even a small degree of reasonable judgment in a VP choice, he might have been the next president. We've had 8 years of a bully pulpit and an ignorant defense of ongoing bad judgment calls by a president.

    In McCain's first executive decision, he came out looking more like George W. Bush than ever. Even if he was young and healthy, the choice still reflects poor judgment. It's almost like if he didn't survive his term, he wouldn't care what happened to the rest of the country. Country First? Doesn't seem so to me.

    October 27, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  6. Sehmina

    I am a Republican who loves her country and my faith is Islam. I am proud to be a Shia Muslim as I am proud to be an American. I love baseball and apple pie and proudly stand and say the pledge of allegiance with my right hand on my heart.

    Please do not associate all Muslims with the heinous crimes that the Al-Qaeda and the terrorists have perpetrated against humanity. These people are cowards and lunatics who hide behind the skirts of religion to legitimize their hateful messages. They do not represent Muslims or the religion of Islam.

    My fellow Americans, we have a clear choice on November 4th. We can continue on the path of fear, ignorance and suspicion or we can change course and embrace a bright future for our country through strength, wisdom and a steady hand.

    October 27, 2008 at 9:14 pm |
  7. Larry L.

    Thank GOD not everybody in this country is looking for Obamas free ride,the people that pay all the bills and work hard will vote for McCain,you slouchers better hope there's more of us than you,so we can keep caring you.

    October 27, 2008 at 7:55 pm |
  8. LuAnn in Colorado

    I am very discontented with the Republican's whine about spreading the wealth. My friends and I were discussing examples of spreading the wealth outside of politics and our one choice example was churches. I haven't been to church for a few years, but I remember being asked to tithe 10% of my income. To fill out a pledge card at the beginning of each year with my promised pledge. I never did, I would give whatever I could afford. Even though I never was able to give anywhere near 10% I was able to enjoy the church services, because those who could afford to tithe more thankfully did. My groups discussion closing argument was, spreading the wealth is only appreciated in very narrow context. And let us not forget Bushe's Faith Based Initiative Executive Order in 2001.

    October 27, 2008 at 7:48 pm |
  9. Moe NY

    I am just estatic that the outlook for the Republicans is bleak. The Republicans have given America nothing but corruption and lies. Also, I am voting a straight Democratic ticket...no more Republicans for me!

    October 27, 2008 at 7:37 pm |
  10. Lizzie

    What's this world coming too, there are more questions out there about the clothing, then Sen. Obama qualifications or where he stands.
    All he ever does is answers a question with a question and so does Sen. Biden. I guess the are afraid of making a boo-boos

    October 27, 2008 at 7:35 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    John McCain spoke today and look and sounded like a broken record; stumbling over words, his nose was running and still doesn't get it. The last report of McCain's funds said he had $25 million left in campaign funds and he is still using it to talk about Obama. McCain has boxed himself into a corner and with 8 days left it's too late for him to get any economic message across. Poor management and judgement on McCain's part which amounts to unfit to lead.

    October 27, 2008 at 7:19 pm |
  12. John

    McCain today announced that Jack Kemp was one of his economic advisors...Mr. Kemp, the past HUD secretary that did everything he could to create low income home ownership to the point of almost killing HUD. The spirit of Kemp's ideas led to the current mortgage crisis. That my friends was the origin of these crazy mortgage programs. McCain – one more example of bad judgement.

    October 27, 2008 at 7:05 pm |
  13. Sean Wally

    Everytime I listen to McCain & Palin I am reminded of McCarthyism.

    In response Edward Murrow stated;

    "His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of "Socialism". We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men. [...] We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the Senator from Arizona have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it .."

    October 27, 2008 at 7:03 pm |
  14. Annie Kate

    How much is a landslide? Elections have been so close for years I think the last time I saw a real landslide was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. He got over 70% of the vote that year. Reagan came close but I don't think he surpassed it in his second term of office. It would be really remarkable if Obama won by those types of percentages especially after such a contentious election year. If Obama won by that sort of margin what effect would this have on the GOP assuming that Obama's win would translate into wins by Democrats in the Senate and House?

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 27, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  15. Laura, Lacey Washington

    So the Republicans can refer to some potential voters as "white downscale men" as a demographic. That would explain the tactics of the GOP. Stereotype a segment of voters and then appeal to their apparent stupidity.

    I wonder when "downscale" white men will recognize that the GOP never ever has their interests at heart and simply dangles in front of them a few empty promises of social conservativism on the one hand while taking away all viable sources of income from them with the other hand.

    What does the GOP hold in terms of opportunity and potential for their reliable "downscale" folks? Nothing. That's what. They want the votes, but they forget these folks after the election is over.

    October 27, 2008 at 6:50 pm |
  16. jay

    For all practical purposes this election is over. McCain/Palin are doing nothing at this point but talking down Senator Obama trying every which way to discredit him. They are no longer talking about the issues. The McCain camp is also starting to fall apart and everyone involved are pointing fingers and running for cover. In a couple of more days they will all deny even being a part of the GOP campaign for President. That's pretty typical.
    I'm very proud to see the people of American unite and stand bodly and proclaim that we are tired as hell and are not going to take it anymore. The past 8 years has been a GOP playground. They have controlled the house and Senate for the majority of the last 8 years. They and their "friends" on Wall Street have abused us, laughed at us, lived like fat Kings and their days are now numbered. I say thank God for Barract Obama and for hearing our prayers and delivering us finally a President that will begin to heal our wounds. It is time we are finally delivered from the hypocricy of the GOP party.
    OBAMA/BIDEN 08.

    October 27, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  17. Carol, CA

    I always find it odd that commentators mention that the next prez will probably appoint new Supreme Court judges.

    It is always mentioned that a few of the current Justices are in the 70's and will probably retire or pass on during the next presidency. John McCain is in his 70's also. How is his health issue or life expectancy any different from the Supreme Court Justices?

    So we would be left with Palin to run the country; appoint SC Justices for life; handle two wars, fix the economy.............

    What would be her first move? Have a mass ritual performed to protect us from witchcraft? We would need it if that witch ever got anywhere near Washington.

    October 27, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  18. Rosie

    News Alert!!!
    While we are searching for reasons not to vote for Obama; (knowing the history of this country, when it come to African-Americans), we should all give him credit for his show of love for this country.

    For him to come out, knowing that his very life would be on the line, says a lot about the character of this man, and his faith in the true God. For only his faith in the true God will give him a safe journey to the White House. And guess what; .. whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe." Proverb 29:25]

    Therefore, Obama will survive his run for president, and through him, God will pour out his blessings upon this country. Why? Because love for this country, and love for his fellowman, is what made him answer the call, and is also what has qualified him, in God's eye.

    God has a message for the country, and his way of getting his
    message across to his people, is to put Barack Obama in the highest seat in the land, and when God work, who can stop him?
    The test Obama face, every day, is far greater then any test McCain has experienced,-to be threatened by terrorist in the land of the free.
    I wonder why McCain has not spoke out against the threats made on Obama's life, letting his country know that this is not how he want to win an election?

    October 27, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  19. Paris

    Larry, Obama never got vetted.

    The media gave Obama a pass and acted as Obama’s defense team for over 20 months now.
    CNN did more than 5 segment and articles on Palin’s wardrobe and none on William Ayers, Rezko and Frank the communist.

    If this is not a cover-up, what is?

    In the past 20 months I have yet to see a real question from any CNN political team extend to Obama or his campaign. How can CNN explain that?
    I would appreciate if CNN would explain why his anchors always have follow-up questions for John McCain but never for Obama.

    No matter what the outcome of this election is CNN needs to answer to the American people.
    The media must be held accountable.

    October 27, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  20. Sharon Kitchen

    Palin as v.p.=no mccain '08

    October 27, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  21. sharon, sydney, ns

    McCain's people can do what they can for the remaining days til the election, but I don't think it'll help. I am no expert, but he started going down hill a little while after the Palin pick. I wasn't a big fan of hers when she was first announced, but as the time went on, I realized it wasn't her that was messing everything up. Whoever is running McCain's camp didn't do a very good job. Plain and simple. He once accused Obama of not knowing the difference between a tactic and a strategy. I am afraid McCain's camp doesn't know much about either.

    October 27, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  22. Papasan in Arizona

    Palin goes off Reservation! Rouge VP! Is McCain crazy? Palin is the Republican Frankenstien! The last resort of the Failing McCain/Palin Campaign is to energize the base, Ignorant Right Wing Looneys! McCain followers are waking up from a long peaceful McBush slumber [voted 90 percent of the time with Bush], to find two pathetic morons, publicly displaying a cartoonish love affair with themselves, totally out of touch with our Americans true issues [it's the ECONOMY!], and engaging in a revolting "McCain First" campaign! That's a tough wake up call, "MY FRIENDS"!
    McCain's first Executive decision is to unleash a Fascist Psychotic With The Racist Twinkle In Her Eye [Awaiting Alaska Criminal Indictment For Abusing Power] scampering around our Nation dangerously drumming up Hatred & Bigotry [Wink Wink]. The obvious erratic incompetence of the McCain/Palin campaign provides us evidence enough that they are unfit for any public office, let alone the White House. As Americans face the hardest financial disaster in the History of the USA, this is the McCain Policy? John McCain / Sarah Palin have no idea what Americans trying to survive face. 401K plans gutted, Unemployment, Foreclosures, Wall Street in the Tank, Main Street hopelessly waiting for a bail out, and the Global Economy in disarray...
    McCain/Palin are a disgusting self serving disgrace undoubtedly proving they are not up to the complex task of keeping the Nation together in hard times.

    P.S. Acorn / Ayers / Rev. Wright / Socialism / Raise Taxes on 250K A Year Income, Joe the Plumber AKA Sam Not Really a Plumber these are not the real issues facing America!

    October 27, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  23. Mindy Chatsworth, Ca.

    McCain did himself no favors with his appearance on Meet the Press yesterday. He couldn't even remember the five former secretaries of state who are supporting him! Then he decides that he and Bush DO see eye-to-eye most of the time. Where on earth is he these days? One day he's anti-Bush, the next he's his buddy. He is all over the place. No wonder he is down in the polls and fighting to defend red states.

    McCain's choice of Palin was the beginning of the end for him. It serves him right for listening to the right wing ultra conservatives. She continues to be a huge embarrassment. Why on earth she decided to bring up the clothes yesterday in her latest campaign stop, God only knows. The more they talk about it, the worse it gets. Why don't they just admit that they made a big mistake already! I don't see Saks and Neiman's taking back clothes that have been worn for a few months. So much for being a hockey Mom.

    October 27, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  24. John

    Well my question is this for John McCain, you told us about "Joe The Plumber" But I think America needs to hear about Max Dunlap the Plumber? So Senator what about Max the Plumber?
    Kind of ironic if the journalists ever bother to look it up that Don the Journalists is you're Oct surprise.

    October 27, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  25. Dee Stevens

    Within a margin of error how accurate are these predictions John king?

    October 27, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  26. ralph

    The place where I check the poles say McCain has a 3.3% chance of winning. he only needs to make up 46.7% to be even. Of course his tax cuts don't help. 90% of the run up in the national debt is just the revenue shortfall for failed tax cuts. Share the debt socialists. The Neo-con republicans have gotten their way again for 8 years ending this administration just about like that B movie star guy that finished with an F for economy. They need to come up with something that does not steal 6 trillion dollars from future generations to pay for. Now they earned their name again. Nero-con. McCain should put a realists idea on his campaign and put up a picture of the White House burning in the back drop of his stumped speeches.

    October 27, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  27. John

    I'm tired of McCain/Palin with all the indirect rude comments about Hispanics/Blacks/Jews etc. We are all Americans no matter the color of ou skin. I'm from Tampa Florida & yes we have a lot of Hispanics here but that's what makes us great & diverse. Please get Obama in the White House quick, we don't need divisions we need UNITY. OBAMA for CHANGE!!!

    October 27, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  28. Brenda

    McCain & Spread the Wealth On Tax Payers Fund Palin called Florida the H–ker State due to the amount of immigrants (Hispanics) in Florida. This is totally out of line.

    October 27, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  29. Ronnie

    I wanted to vote for Hilary, but no this time. I figured I would vote for McCain, so Hilary will have a chance. But, since McCain made such stupid decision on choosing Palin, I have to vote for Obama. I just can't stand her stupidity.

    October 27, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  30. Sara

    I am a staunch Barack Obama supporter, however I would not be so absouloutly terrifed of the Republican ticket winning if Sarah Palin was not John McCain's running mate. For whatever reason she is a very devisive figure and brout out an ugly portion of America to her rallies and the videos I see imply many are ignorant and definatly racist.

    October 27, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  31. Jay in Arkansas

    In the first place, I'm tired of hearing Rush Limbaugh's name in connection with this election. He has ablsolutely no affect on the outcome of this election. If he thinks he does, then he flatters his obese self, which is usually the case.
    For all practical purposes this election is over. McCain/Palin are doing nothing at this point but talking down Senator Obama trying every which way to discredit him. They are no longer talking about the issues. The McCain camp is also starting to fall apart and everyone involved are pointing fingers and running for cover. In a couple of more days they will all deny even being a part of the GOP campaign for President. That's pretty typical.
    I'm very proud to see the people of American unite and stand bodly and proclaim that we are tired as hell and are not going to take it anymore. The past 8 years has been a GOP playground. They have controlled the house and Senate for the majority of the last 8 years. They and their "friends" on Wall Street have abused us, laughed at us, lived like fat Kings and their days are now numbered. I say thank God for Barract Obama and for hearing our prayers and delivering us finally a President that will begin to heal our wounds. It is time we are finally delivered from the hypocricy of the GOP party.
    OBAMA/BIDEN 08.

    October 27, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  32. Jay in Arkansas

    In the first place, I'm tired of hearing Rush Limbaugh's name in connection with this election. He has ablsolutely no affect on the outcome of this election. If he thinks he does, then he flatters his obese self, which is usually the case.
    For all practical purposes this election is over. McCain/Palin are doing nothing at this point but talking down Senator Obama trying every which way to discredit him. They are no longer talking about the issues. The McCain camp is also starting to fall apart and everyone involved are pointing fingers and running for cover. In a couple of more days they will all deny even being a part of the GOP campaign for President. That's pretty typical.
    I'm very proud to see the people of American unite and stand bodly and proclaim that we are tired as hell and are not going to take it anymore. The past 8 years has been a GOP playground. They have controlled the house and Senate for the majority of the last 8 years. They and their "friends" on Wall Street have abused us, laughed at us, lived like fat Kings and their days are now numbered. I say thank God for Barract Obama and for hearing our prayers and delivering us finally a President that will begin to heal our wounds. It is time we are finally delivered from the hypocricy of the GOP party.
    OBAMA/BIDEN 08.

    October 27, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  33. Larry

    John, who is Sen. Obama's biographer? There is so much documentation lacking on Sen. Obama. Who is vetting Sen. Obama for POTUS?

    October 27, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  34. Susan

    McCain and the country have a real problem with Palin and her internal editing. She's a loose cannon with her own self interest at heart. And a smart mouth to boot (I wonder how that will go over with the international political intellectuals regarding woman in business).

    Regarding Palin's comment on the RNC's wardrobe purchase for her..."I didn't pick it". Sounds like a trick I used with my mother when I shoved the candy in my mouth after she told me not to eat it!

    I feel sorry for the commission based retail persons at Saks and Neiman Marcus when the RNC reurns $150,000 in worn clothes and shoes. Does she know that they will have their 8% commission earned deducted from their wages? How's that for helping the economy?

    Susan

    October 27, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  35. Max

    Just put up a DIFFERENT map on the "wall" ...

    it will be MORE interesting.

    :))))

    October 27, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  36. J Ponder from MD

    Why is it that every time McCain wants to draw contrast between himself and Obama, the contrast has to have a Civil Rights or Race angle. In a nutshell, McCain want people to think that Obama want to give their money to blacks and Illegal immigrants. Not only that, but no one is reporting on the fact that McCain has stated that he would veto his own senate votes, on Meet the Press. Every McCain ad is an attempt to scare, not persuade, people into voting for him. As if Obama, is out to still people’s money. Can a politician give people a fair shot at opportunity, without being demonized? This type of racial fear will have a lasting effect on minorities, and immigrants, far after the campaign is over. Someone, please get to the bottom of this issue, where McCain states he would veto his own senate votes on Meet the Press Sunday.

    October 27, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  37. P.D.

    McCain's judgement call on picking Sarah Palin: I believe Sarah Palin was a bad choice. Mainly because it seems that Senator McCain lacked judgement in that he had to rely on Rush Limbaugh's suggestion of her rather than a reasoned decision. Rush talked Palin up when Obama and Clinton were still debating each other and the notion was aired that they may run on the Democratic ticket. Secondarily, Palin has shown single-handedly that she is not qualified to be V.P. or become President if something were to happen to John McCain. This is a strong point that could be made on Obama's coattails.

    October 27, 2008 at 2:32 pm |