Today Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin presented her second speech in as many days on the topic of opponent Barack Obama’s political involvement with past leader of radical group Weather Underground — a subject repeatedly punched by the McCain campaign. Palin’s words were responded with boos and shouting alike from the McCain supporting crowd, a harsh way of showing they wanted more. 

But has this been the response from the general public, especially neutral undecideds? 

The popular trend has been no, but past and present pollster stats have had a history of contradicting this claim. But in contrast, Barack Obama’s recent climb in the polls have been widely linked with the fact that his campaign has been running a lower percentage of attack ads. 

But in truth it really comes down to the campaign making their attacks carefully and with strategy. Although incredibly dated, my case in point is knockout campaign ad “daisy” by then-presidential candidate Lyndon Johnson. The ad (click here) was truly a textbook attack that although was in fact a PR gamble, paid off handsomely for the Johnson campaign, and is even credited at times in part for his presidency win.

Why? Though a gamble alone because of its topic, the ad was in fact very well played. The Johnson campaign found a large stumble by opponent Barry Goldwater where he stated that nuclear bombing Vietnam was a possibility. 

For those as young as me, to put this into prospect: the political importance of capitalizing on the uncertainty and fear of a nuclear war in 1964 was by all means not the equivalent but rather of the same concept as a candidate in this race falling on a political pot of gold. In other words, finding something (most useful would be a quote) coming out of the opposing campaign that involved the prospect of funding the people who are suspected to have started the financial crisis.  

 But once something like this has been discovered, the  campaign must in fact use their information carefully. 

 What is my point? There are essentially three steps a  campaign must take to orchestrate a successful ad — a juicy  and controversial topic (in Daisy’s case a nuclear war), a  somewhat truthful piece of information from the opponent  (the more untruthful it is the more skilled the director must  be), and finally a non-generic: “and this is why you should  vote John ’64″ quote. 

 And “daisy” not only hit straight on all of those topics, but  also found time to put fourth an intense start (the young girl counting roses that turns in to a T-Minus countdown for an nuclear bomb) that has made people think and argue for decades.

And what does this have to do with the 2008 presidential race? In a strategic sense, almost everything.

In my opinion, Obama’s lead has come from two things — his policies and the topic of this post — McCain campaigning. 

But not as you might suspect — I am not discrediting McCain for his negativing campaigning itself, but rather the fact that it has not successfully followed all the points to make a successful PR ploy. This is simply because he has thrown out way too many talking points as ads, and hasn’t followed what has worked in the past and will continue to — a central arguement.

Senator Barack Obama’s pick for Vice Presidency has been a rare case — swaying everyone’s opinion from your teenage daughter to the head of the New York times. And in a presidential race that is one for the history books from the candidates to the voters, what better time to keep the suspense high? So I guess the questions are who and why — but now its “when?”

Obama has left the country guessing left and right, but this time — the press has nowhere to go. Obama has been in a dark room with six top advisers, which means two things: a well thought out final decision — and no leaks. Although many news segments and articles have been written about possible choices, they have no possible leads and no one to get information to. So in the end, even with their top politics men analyzing anything everything and anything that could be going on in that room, they really don’t have a clue about who Obama will actually pick. It could be anyone from Vladimir Putin to Rihanna, as Paris Hilton put it. 

So with that said, who Obama does pick is not only a very important decision for his long term campaign, but will make a huge point to the public and sadly, race will be a factor. Obama’s best reception publicly as far as race, however, will probably a white male. As Hillary Clinton best put it during one of the primary debates: “there’s me {in other words a woman}, there’s Obama {in other words a black man} and then there’s John.” Referring here to John Edwards, her point was that with Obama and her breaking racial and gender barriers, John Edwards just looked like a stereotypical politician – a rich white male. And at this time in America, that’s what it can come down to — what race or sex you are as opposed to your actual political policies. 

His pick also shows to the more educated Americans what kind of policies he likes and what kind of politician he enjoys working with. He/she pick will show people who he thinks is a true leader and what he thinks his Vice President (lets call him/her “x”) has strengths and weaknesses. And that’s one of the reasons that picking Hilary Clinton would be complete suicide. In the rare case that Obama does pick Clinton as his running mate, he will get pounded by the press and the public. Why? Although Clinton shares many of the same opinions as Obama, she has not only fiercely attacked Obama throughout her campaign and decided to not completely disable her campaign after losing, she has attempted (and mostly failed) to cut Obama down in any possible way, and that mostly doesn’t involve politics. 

So who does this leave as the perfect running mate. In my case, John Edwards — but it would take more than just a flawless PR stunt to get his personal problems out of the way. And although what he did was horrible, I think he would be the perfect “x” for Obama — a publicly nice, white male that doubles as a great politician. Plus, he hasn’t gotten on anyone’s nerves yet. But since he is most definitely done (in the rare occasion he comes back it will be years), Obama is digging deep into his list of possible running mates, and the world will keep guessing.

So with no clues, the last thing to guess would be from a tactical point of view. During John F. Kennedy’s campaign, he chose (under great controversy) Lyndon Johnson, who wasn’t exactly his biggest fan or vice versa. One of the bigger reasons of choosing him was because JFK was not very popular in the South — and in the end — Johnson was. Obama could use this tactic for his advantage in his long struggle to steal some (bright) red states. Although it probably wouldn’t be in Obama’s best interest to shoot for Mike Gravel as VP, it would be almost monumental for the general elections to find someone with good connections to the midwest, preferably Ohio, who as we know literately picks the eventual president. So who has connections there? Well, there’s Ted Strickland…and not much else. As far as Ohio their aren’t many people over in the first door on the left, and Ted Strickland as governor is the best bet for Obama there.

But no news of anything in that category has popped up, we really have no leads in any direction. And with the democratic convention coming up, all we can guess all we want but — unless some sort of leak or lead surfaces — we’ll just have to wait and see. 

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