Rove: Voters haven't decided yet (updated)

Rick Moran
Excellent piece by Karl Rove in today's Wall Street Journal. He points out that there are probably more undecided and persuadable voters at this stage since any campaign since 1968:

For those open to Mr. McCain, it is unclear how they will respond to his plan to order the Treasury secretary "to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America and renegotiate at the new value of those homes." It came across as both impulsive and badly explained. No experts were ready to defend it. No explanatory paper was flung at journalists. Nor were surrogates like Mitt Romney briefed. But the campaign did admit it borrowed the idea from Hillary Clinton.

While it was good Mr. McCain engaged on health-care reform, his explanations were not crisp or powerful. And he failed to defend his proposed corporate tax cut. Why not say America has the world's second-highest corporate tax rate, putting the U.S. at a disadvantage in creating jobs?

For those leaning to Mr. Obama, there was no evidence of bipartisanship. There was no talk of accomplishments. Did he really think it was smart to answer Mr. McCain on Fannie by dismissing the GSE reform bill and pointing to a letter he wrote? In the Senate, is the pen mightier than legislation? And Mr. Obama's say-one-thing, do-another approach was apparent. Blast Mr. McCain for talking up the economy, then say, "I am confident about the American economy." Blame Mr. McCain for the credit meltdown, and end the assault with "you're not interested in hearing politicians pointing fingers." Say "only a few percent of small businesses" will get taxed when 663,000 small enterprises are in the top 5%.

Obama seems so intent on not making any mistakes that he may repeat his mistake made at the end of the Democratic primaries when Hillary Clinton won 10 of the last 12 contests.

And Rove had this warning for Obama:

Mr. Obama's test is that voters haven't shaken deep concerns about his lack of qualifications. Having accomplished virtually nothing in his three years in the Senate except to win the Democratic nomination, Mr. Obama must show he is up to the job. Voters like him, conditions favor him, yet he has not closed the sale. He may be approaching the finish line with that mixture of lassitude and insouciance he displayed in the spring against Mrs. Clinton.

But here's a warning sign for Mr. Obama. Of recent candidates, only Michael Dukakis in 1988 has had a larger percentage of voters tell pollsters they believe he lacks the necessary qualifications to be president.

McCain is a fighter. If Obama goes back on his heels, the GOP candidate is likely to close the gap between the two. Economy or no economy, Obama has not clinched anything yet. And as Rove points out, he's got a ways to go before people will believe he is the right man for the job.

Update from William Zeranski:

Many continue to say that Barack Obama can't close the deal, especially because of his primary performance when his nomination was sealed only by keeping the Super Delegates from revolting. Zogby confirms that:

The presidential race is still too close to call and could come down to the very last weekend before voters decide if they like or distrust Barack Obama, a national pollster predicts.

"I don't think Obama has closed the deal yet," pollster John Zogby told the Herald yesterday.

Zogby's latest poll, released yesterday in conjunction with C-Span and Reuters, shows Obama and John McCain in a statistical dead heat, with the Illinois Democrat up 48-45 percent.

Zogby also said:

...the race mirrors the 1980 election, when voters didn't embrace Ronald Reagan over then-President Jimmy Carter until just days before the election.

This particular reference must give Obama camp a very creepy feeling.





Excellent piece by Karl Rove in today's Wall Street Journal. He points out that there are probably more undecided and persuadable voters at this stage since any campaign since 1968:

For those open to Mr. McCain, it is unclear how they will respond to his plan to order the Treasury secretary "to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America and renegotiate at the new value of those homes." It came across as both impulsive and badly explained. No experts were ready to defend it. No explanatory paper was flung at journalists. Nor were surrogates like Mitt Romney briefed. But the campaign did admit it borrowed the idea from Hillary Clinton.

While it was good Mr. McCain engaged on health-care reform, his explanations were not crisp or powerful. And he failed to defend his proposed corporate tax cut. Why not say America has the world's second-highest corporate tax rate, putting the U.S. at a disadvantage in creating jobs?

For those leaning to Mr. Obama, there was no evidence of bipartisanship. There was no talk of accomplishments. Did he really think it was smart to answer Mr. McCain on Fannie by dismissing the GSE reform bill and pointing to a letter he wrote? In the Senate, is the pen mightier than legislation? And Mr. Obama's say-one-thing, do-another approach was apparent. Blast Mr. McCain for talking up the economy, then say, "I am confident about the American economy." Blame Mr. McCain for the credit meltdown, and end the assault with "you're not interested in hearing politicians pointing fingers." Say "only a few percent of small businesses" will get taxed when 663,000 small enterprises are in the top 5%.

Obama seems so intent on not making any mistakes that he may repeat his mistake made at the end of the Democratic primaries when Hillary Clinton won 10 of the last 12 contests.

And Rove had this warning for Obama:

Mr. Obama's test is that voters haven't shaken deep concerns about his lack of qualifications. Having accomplished virtually nothing in his three years in the Senate except to win the Democratic nomination, Mr. Obama must show he is up to the job. Voters like him, conditions favor him, yet he has not closed the sale. He may be approaching the finish line with that mixture of lassitude and insouciance he displayed in the spring against Mrs. Clinton.

But here's a warning sign for Mr. Obama. Of recent candidates, only Michael Dukakis in 1988 has had a larger percentage of voters tell pollsters they believe he lacks the necessary qualifications to be president.

McCain is a fighter. If Obama goes back on his heels, the GOP candidate is likely to close the gap between the two. Economy or no economy, Obama has not clinched anything yet. And as Rove points out, he's got a ways to go before people will believe he is the right man for the job.

Update from William Zeranski:

Many continue to say that Barack Obama can't close the deal, especially because of his primary performance when his nomination was sealed only by keeping the Super Delegates from revolting. Zogby confirms that:

The presidential race is still too close to call and could come down to the very last weekend before voters decide if they like or distrust Barack Obama, a national pollster predicts.

"I don't think Obama has closed the deal yet," pollster John Zogby told the Herald yesterday.

Zogby's latest poll, released yesterday in conjunction with C-Span and Reuters, shows Obama and John McCain in a statistical dead heat, with the Illinois Democrat up 48-45 percent.

Zogby also said:

...the race mirrors the 1980 election, when voters didn't embrace Ronald Reagan over then-President Jimmy Carter until just days before the election.

This particular reference must give Obama camp a very creepy feeling.