McCain was tedious as usual but he just had to come across as dependable, genuine and not a war monger to make the sale. Palin did the heavy lifting, especially putting the spotlight on Obama's "community organizer" roots. IMO this was a hint at what the McCain team's negative strategy will be down the homestretch. An inquiry into Obama's "community organizing" role will bring his lifelong radical associations to the forefront. I expect by early next week McCain will have the lead. This will be very hard for Obama to overcome, especially given the Bradley effect, which, while diminished from Wilder's days, is still probably substantial- maybe 5%. I'm not sure massive democrat voter fraud will be able to compensate. Alot of people claim they are undecided or voting for Obama so as not to incur the outrage of their liberal friends, while still privately leaning toward McCain and Palin. For Obama to win he has to: 1. lower Palin's favorability: This is becoming more difficult after his minions overplayed their hand, such as the muckrakers on this board. Most people won't believe bad things about her coming from sources that were demonstrably biased in the first few days after her announcement. My guess is Obama's team will decide her vulnerability lies in being a "religious extremist" and they will play this up. However, this invites contrasts with Obama's religion/religions, which will likely backfire unfavorably on him and J. Wright et.al. Biden could accomplish much by embarrassing her in a debate. That will be hard to do on a personal level, because Palin is much more likeable than Biden who often comes off as a bullying blowhard. So the debate moderators will have to trip Palin up with policy minutiae at the debate. I have little doubt this will occur, but I am not sure it will matter if she handles herself with grace and charm and doesn't become excessively flustered. 2. Obama must impress in the debates. Obama must seem healthy, young and physycially and intellectually vigorous. The first few criteria will be easy for him. However, having listened to him frequently in his off the cuff statements, "intellectually vigorous" is not his strong suit. He tends to uhh and ahh and trip over his own words. It would be helpful if he could somehow get the questions beforehand, a possibility I am sure his campaign team will pursue. McCain's main weakness is his decrepit appearance, and obvious age. Those problems are exacerbated when he delivers set speeches, a skill he has never mastered- to be kind. OTOH, he is an energetic extemporaneous speaker, comfortable in his own skin and able to sense and play to his environment. 3. Obama must fight off the attacks coming his way, which will be brutal. One thing libs don't seem to grasp, is that their dirty pool with Palin merely exposes their own candidate to similar treatment, and he is much more vulnerable to this kind of attack. Palin has character witnesses, a clear biography and an all-Ameircan persona. We are going to learn more and more about Obama's radical associations as the campaign unfolds, and he will be on the defensive. K. Kilpatrick, Dr Al Mansour, Rev Wright, Farrakhan, Ayres are not the "usual suspects" you want trotted out as your campaign heads into the home stretch, especially in the rust belt. I still feel Obama needs a game changer to win this election. McCain becoming ill in the next 2 months would help, highlighting Obama youth. Palin embarrassing herself at the debate is another. Biden "falling ill" and being replaced with Hillary is another possibility. Massive election fraud is another element that will help Obama, a strategy I am confident his campaign has been promoting given his ACORN roots. Barring those "gamechangers" I think McCain will win comfortably.