by Frank Schnittger
Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 10:22:38 PM EST
The Obama campaign have just released an ad reminding voters of McCain's close connection with the Keating Savings and Loan financial scandal when savers lost Billions because McCain and 4 other senators had managed to pressurise the regulator into not issuing enforcement proceedings against Keating. The full video is available here
It could be argued that releasing the video now is just a case of the Obama campaign getting even for McCain/Palin raising Obama's alleged links with William Ayers in an attempt to "turn the page" from the economy and onto Obama's alleged "character" defects.
However there is also a more serious argument that the Keating 5 episode, and McCain's central role in it, is a very appropriate issue to raise at this time because it speaks to the effects on ordinary savers and investors of banking deregulation and lack of oversight. We may never know whether the Obama campaign would have released the video in any case, but McCain and Palin trying to resuscitate Obama's links to Ayers many years ago certainly gave the Obama campaign the opening to do so. Democrats live in terror of being "swift boated" again and are determined not to take Republican attack ads lying down. Obama is often accused to playing defense too much, but with this ad and longer video release they have certainly gone on the attack.
Later today (or early Tomorrow for those of us in Europe) sees the second debate between Obama and McCain in McCain's favourite "Town Hall" format. It represents McCain's second last set piece chance to turn his campaign around - because he has been sinking fast. As I predicted in The Blow-out begins? McCain is now over 6% behind in the national averages and many swing states have swung away from his grasp.
Of all the Toss-up states above, Obama needs to win just Colorado (or another large Toss-up state) to reach the magic 269 number. Democrats are even getting excited at the prospect of swinging solid Republican states such as Georgia and even Texas because of the success of Obama's ground game - with huge voter registration, mobilisation and GOTV efforts being reported in all swing states and even some states which were never on the original target list. McCain has already abandoned Michigan and may well have to focus his campaign on an increasingly narrow band of "winnable states".
The "blow-out" is by no means a certainty. Similar large swings (in favour of an incumbent) have taken place - if rarely - before, notably when Bush almost overhauled an 8% Gore lead in the polls in 2000 and when Ford narrowly failed to secure re-election against Carter in 1976. Many still expect the race to tighten in the run up to the Election. However if Obama can avoid disasters in the next two debates and the economy remains centre stage there is only one way Obama's numbers can go.