Print Politics

Sen. McCain, Where’s the Sparkle?

Where's the direct mail? The full color banners? The slightest effort to stand out!

Less than two weeks before the pivotal primary contests in Ohio and Texas, John McCain is comfortably entrenched as the inevitable choice for the Republican Presidential nomination. It seems to me, then, that he should already be running his presidential campaign, but from what we've seen as of late, McCain is still running the same old campaign. So far, his team has continued to offer voters:

– Infrequent updates on the campaign website.

– No fresh election campaign printing, and nothing tailored to individual states.

– A reluctance to agree to GOP debates.

Weak responses to media attempts to attack and discredit him.

Back of the Bus

Last week, the New York Times broke a story that implied McCain had an affair with lobbyist Vicki Iseman. This week, all the scrutiny is on his campaign finances. The media wants everybody to know that the man who has consistently touted campaign finance reform throughout this race is now avoiding sharing his own fiscal details with the FEC.

Throughout both of these scandals, McCain has spoken out to defend himself, but he's done it quietly, with little fanfare. But why? His Democrat rivals are using every opportunity to defend themselves by loudly protesting slights against them. In fact, these rebuttals and shows of indignation are often the day's top election news stories.

But John McCain, from his understated campaign printing to his soft-worded condemnations of media gossip, actually seems to be making an effort to stay under the radar. It's a bizarre phenomenon to observe. After all, he might be so far ahead of Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul that there's no contest, but he's still competing against two of the most visible candidates in U.S. primary election history.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are playing this primary race like it's the race for the White House, and if John McCain doesn't step up his campaign advertising chops, it very well could be. McCain's campaign cannot afford to wait until after the candidates have been chosen to begin campaigning in earnest. Can he?

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