Final preparations are made at the presidential debate site at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. John McCain, needing a dramatic turnaround to his waning White House hopes, vowed to unmask his rival Barack Obama as a radical sympathizer at their third and final debate in New York Wednesday.(AFP/Getty Images/Win Mcnamee)
The Obama campaign is trying to raise the stakes for McCain by stressing that the debate may be his last chance to turn the race around, and to raise the expectation that he’ll attack.
“This is John McCain’s last chance to turn this race around and somehow convince the American people that his erratic response to this economic crisis doesn’t disqualify him from being President,” say the talking points.
And they’re continuing to drive the “erratic” message.
“John McCain has been erratic and unsteady since this crisis began — staggering from position to position and trying to change the subject away from the economy by launching false character attacks,” says the document, which is essentially a more deadpan version of Bill Burton’s pre-debate memo.
Full talking points after the jump.
· This is John McCain’s last chance to turn this race around and somehow convince the American people that his erratic response to this economic crisis doesn’t disqualify him from being President.
· Just this weekend the weekend, John McCain vowed to “whip Obama’s you-know-what” at the debate, and he’s indicated that he’ll be bringing up Bill Ayers to try to distract voters.
· So we know that Senator McCain will come ready to attack
Just one troubling quandry for John McCain….
is at odds with many of his top advisers over launching a renewed attack on ‘s ties to his long-time pastor and mentor, the , according to campaign sources.
and several top campaign officials see a sharp attack on Wright as the best — and perhaps last — chance to rattle (D-Ill. ) and force voters to rethink their support of him. But McCain continues to overrule them, fearing a Wright attack would smack of desperation and racism, the officials said.
With McCain unlikely to budge, GOP officials are hoping groups outside of the campaign will finance an ad attack on Obama-Wright ties. It is unclear if any conservative group has the cash to bankroll a serious effort, however.
“Wright is off the table,” said one top campaign official. “It’s all McCain. He won’t go there. His advisers would have gone there.”
Barack Obama’s Famous Friends, Associates: Hate Speech, Crimes, Fraud Incorporated
WASHINGTON (CNN) — GOP Sen. John McCain must clearly differentiate his plan to fix the ailing economy from that of his rival Sen. Barack Obama at Wednesday night’s presidential debate if he is to shake up the race, political analysts said.
“I think what he has to to do is talk about the issues. … He’s got to talk about his economic plan,” CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger said. “Yes, he’s got to convince voters that he’s got the judgment to be president, but he’s also got to convince voters to like him.”
Above: Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain sparred about domestic
policy during their second presidential debate.
The third and final debate, taking place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, at 9 p.m. ET, may be the last time the Republican presidential candidate may be able turn the race to his favor before Election Day, now less than three weeks away.
The 90-minute face-off, which will air on CNN and CNN.com, will undoubtedly focus on the economic crisis plaguing the country.
CNN political editor Mark Preston said the debate will likely be McCain’s “last chance to reach tens of millions of people with his vision for America.”
“He needs a game-changer,” Preston said.
Read the rest:
By CHRISTOPHER WILLS, Associated Press Writer
TOLEDO, Ohio –is looking to turnaround his fortunes in the final with , a forum focused on pocketbook issues and domestic policy Wednesday night.
Both candidates released proposals this week designed to boost the economy as financial institutions wobble and voters feel the pinch of a faltering economy. The debate is at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., with the candidates seated at a table with moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS.
With the economic crisis fueling public unease, Obama has built leads nationally and in key states as the turmoil has returned the nation’s focus to the policies of the unpopular President Bush. The burden now is on McCain to try to reverse his slide.
To that end, the Arizona senator took a new approach this week, positioning himself as a fighter for the American middle class and easing off his most direct attacks on Obama, an Illinois senator. McCain also took pains to separate himself from Bush.
“We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change. … As president I intend to act, quickly and decisively,” McCain said Tuesday in battleground Pennsylvania.
He announced a $52.5 billion economic plan Tuesday that calls for halving the tax rate on capital gains and reducing the tax on withdrawals from retirement accounts, among other measures. A day earlier, Obama unveiled a $60 billion proposal that includes an extension of unemployment benefits, a 90-day freeze on home foreclosures, penalty-free withdrawals from retirement funds and a $3,000 tax credit for each new job.
Both candidates call for doing away with the tax on unemployment benefits.
McCain has suggested that he is likely to bring up Obama’s links to , a radical during the Vietnam War era. Ayers was a member of the violent Weather Underground group but later became a in Chicago and an expert on education. He and Obama both worked with some of the same charity foundations in Chicago, and Ayers hosted a reception for Obama when he first ran for the Illinois state Senate.