I'm a Negative Creep and I'm Stoned


There's not a lot of point to tracking the day-to-day presidential polls: Before Labor Day, none of these horse race numbers matter. The internals of this new CNN poll (which shows Obama basically static since last month, with the Europe trip a wash-out) are compelling, though:

The poll suggests few of the McCain campaign's criticisms of Obama's trip have stuck, especially charges Obama was presumptuously acting as if he had already won the election and claims he nixed a visit with injured troops because members of the media could not accompany him.

Instead, more than two-thirds of voters surveyed said the trip was appropriate for a presidential candidate, and 72 percent said they think Obama cares about veterans and the troops in Iraq.

A third of voters polled said they believe Obama is arrogant, about the same number who said that of McCain.

Also: "Forty percent say he is attacking Obama unfairly, while only 22 percent say Obama is unfairly attacking McCain." I'm getting deja vu. McCain lost the South Carolina primary for a lot of reasons, but a big one was his angry meltdown brought on by Bush's negative attacks (most of which were about McCain's economic centrism and Senate votes). McCain slapped back with this:

It was a beautiful gift for Bush. Comparing a fellow Republican to Clinton a short year after McCain had voted to remove Clinton from office was unthinkable to South Carolina voters. On election day, after weeks of a multi-million dollar, brutally negative anti-McCain campaign, only 35 percent of them said Bush "attacked unfairly." Forty-three percent said that about the senator with the black baby.

It's really hard to tell when an attack will backfire, but at the rate McCain's cranking out attack ads and lines about Obama lusting "to lose the war," the higher the odds he'll wreck his image. And then Obama can say whatever he wants about McCain without much blowback. I can't believe McCain doesn't remember how this works.

In weirder campaign trail news, the dead-end Hillary supporters (the PUMAs) invite say-anything Clinton backer Lanny Davis on their radio show. It's sort of surreal to hear Davis making the case that Hillary supporters are irrational sore losers.