Bill Burton, Barack Obama's National Spokesman just issued the following "spin" release in advance of tonight's debate.
John McCain is running out of time for a game-changing event. In the latest sign of desperation, his campaign admitted just yesterday that if they "keep talking about the economic crisis, they're going to lose." It's our view that the American people are already worried about losing - their homes, their jobs and their health care - and it's up to the candidates at this debate to demonstrate who is best equipped to make sure that they can get ahead again.
In order to change the dynamics of this race, we anticipate that McCain will launch his nastiest attacks and continue to lie about Barack Obama's record and his vision to fundamentally change our country. We don't know if McCain will continue his refusal to even look at Obama on stage -- like in their first debate -- but we fully expect that his "turn the page" strategy to ignore the economy will be seen in full view for 90 minutes of character attacks against Barack Obama.
The fact is, McCain has erratically been all over the map in recent weeks, telling Americans that the fundamentals of the economy are strong only days before claiming to suspend his campaign and warning of another depression. John McCain just doesn't get it. The American people aren't interested in nasty, false attacks, and they're not interested in four more years of Bush policies. But that's all he's offering.
If all he does is attack Barack Obama, as he's said he'll do, it will be yet another colossal missed opportunity. In the face of those attacks, Barack Obama will continue to offer steady leadership, and talk about his plan to give real relief to the middle class and create good jobs here in America.
When it comes to sheer format, we enter today's debate the decided underdog. John McCain does extremely well in town hall settings. It's been his favorite format throughout his career and we think that he will of course do very well. See below for more reviews of John McCain's town hall performances.
Ah yes, Barack Obama is the underdog. Just the way the Obama campaign likes it. Here's the bottom line: McCain needs to rattle Obama. So far that simply hasn't happened. Obama has shown to be steady at the wheel which has given him a presidential feel all along. Unless McCain can change voters' perception about Obama, it's going to be a tough uphill climb.