McCain Now in Control of Campaign Tone

Article excerpt

For Illinois delegates, the 2008 Democratic National Convention was a "Tale of Two Cities" Denver and Springfield, Ill.

Denver was easy. Nearly, all Illinois Democrats bellowed and cooed their love, support and admiration for their partys presidential nominee and native son, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.

During the convention, the delegates ate breakfast together and heard countless speakers express their devotion to Obama. Little effort was made to be politically analytical save for Chicago Mayor Richard Daley who in his own unique way of speaking gave terse practical advice to die-hard Hillary Clinton supporters.

Springfield in Denver was another matter. On Aug. 27, otherwise known as "Wacky Wednesday," top Illinois Democrats engaged in one-on-one hugs. Much has been written about this remarkable event, but from someone who has been to both party conventions since 1984 it was by far the most unusual and dramatic political spectacle I have ever seen.

As for the upcoming Nov. 4 election, U.S. Sen. John McCain has to hit a home run at his partys convention this week. Why? Barack Obama has pushed McCain into an election challenge no, not one based on the overused "change" rather its the word "turnout."

Obamas hard-nosed, Chicago-based political brain trust is literally modeling its fall campaign on Karl Roves 2004 strategy to re-elect President George Bush. The Obama game plan is to register and then turn out on Election Day, millions of new voters who are either young, African-American or poor. His advisers see these folks as untapped Obama voters who in key battleground states could turn GOP "red" into Democratic "blue."

McCain cannot out-spectacle, out-orate or outspend Obama. The Arizona senator needs to find a rhythm

and a theme that will generate excitement from his partys conservative base while at the same time counter the Denver Democrats arguments that he is no longer a "maverick."

It will not be easy! …