Monday, July 21, 2008

An Overview of Recent Tactics, Challenges

In the effort to keep voters up to date on the latest from each campaign, I have prepared a brief summary of recent developments regarding political strategies and challenges coming out of both the Obama and McCain campaigns.


Trip to the Middle East
- Though the Obama camp talks about it as an opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with other leaders, this trip, announced earlier this summer, may be seen as an attempt to demonstrate that the democratic hopeful has what it takes to handle the foreign relations aspect of the presidency. The question that remains, as presented in an earlier post, is whether this will actually convince skeptics.
Framing Iraq- Instead of coming out on the defensive, combatting suggestions that, based on his position on Iraq, he is soft on terrorism, Obama is now trying to frame the debate to focus on Afghanistan. In a speech on the war on terror, Obama calls efforts in Iraq a "dangerous distraction" and argues that the bulk of our efforts should target Afghanistan because the heart of terrorist operations lie in this country. This strategy allows him to take a strong stance on terrorism without having to compromise his position on Iraq.

Trip Abroad Highlights Foreign-ness
- A recent article suggests that the wide support Obama enjoys abroad does not necessarily help his campaign. Rather, this support may serve to show that he is "not one of us" and has too much in common with other nations in the eyes of American voters.


First, there is one attacking Obama's position on Iraq, particularly with regards to financing for U.S. troops and his lack of Iraq visits in recent years. Another ad links Obama to rising gas prices. It promotes drilling as a solution to the current oil crisis and Obama's opposition to drilling, according to the ad, represents an opposition to "independence from foreign oil".

unding- Various sources have reported that on the last day of June, Obama racked in a reported $25 million, which is more than the McCain campaign earns in an entire month. This is not to say that the amount of money a candidate has and spends will determine the winner in the next election, but realistically it really couldn't hurt to have a monetary edge.
Iraq Timetable- Recent negotiations have placed McCain in a tough situation regarding his position on troop withdrawal. After reaching an agreement on Friday, President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki both acknowledged their support for developing a "time horizon" for U.S. troop withdrawal. While this appears to support Obama's position on troop withdrawal, both leaders later tried to make it clear that they were not endorsing the democratic nominee's stance. However, it is clear that McCain is not yet on the same page as everyone else.

To be sure, these are not the only strategies and challenges the candidates are using and facing. However, this sampling does show generally what Obama and McCain are up against and how the are trying to deal with these obstacles.


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