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Monday, September 29, 2008

News at noon.

* Domestic terrorism at a Dayton mosque. More at BeliefNet.

* Now McCain will (apparently) show up to vote on the bailout after all. But will he suspend his campaign beforehand?

* Is this a 'victory'? Peter Galbraith takes a sober look at Iraq in the New York Review of Books. Via MeFi.

* Nancy Gibbs in Time tries to puzzle out whether the problem is Sarah Palin's handlers or Sarah Palin herself, while Howard Kurtz says that CBS is still sitting on even more damaging footage from the interview with Katie Couric. (UPDATE: CBS says they're not. 2ND UPDATE: The footage Kurtz was referring to is actually from a different interview.)

* All this comes at a time when the McCain camp is increasingly, visibly concerned about Palin's ability to perform in the debates, even taking the highly unusual step of trying to lower expectations for her opponent.

* And the evidence continues to suggest that Obama's debate performance was better than even I thought at the time. James Fallows has received a bunch of links for this post comparing the debate to 1960, 1980, and 1992:

In each of those cases, a fresh, new candidate (although chronologically older in Reagan's case) had been gathering momentum at a time of general dissatisfaction with the "four more years" option of sticking with the incumbent party. The question was whether the challenger could stand as an equal with the more experienced, tested, and familiar figure. In each of those cases, the challenger passed the test -- not necessarily by "winning" the debate, either on logical points or in immediate audience or polling reactions, but by subtly reassuring doubters on the basic issue of whether he was a plausible occupant of the White House and commander in chief.
Steve Benen elaborates with a round-up of polling data and analysis supporting this basic claim. For high information voters, Obama may have seemed to merely draw (though I thought at the time and still think he won on the merits)—but for lower information voters expectations were significantly lower for Obama than McCain, and so Obama seemed to those viewers to be much more clearly the winner.