John McCain's recent foray into pop culture commentary has drawn the mockery and scorn of everyone from Paris Hilton to his own mother. But did it work? Tom Daschle think so. He tells the Financial Times the attack ads are responsible for Barack Obama's dip in polls:
Tom Daschle, the former Democratic Senate majority leader, said in an interview with the Financial Times that the Mr Obama's Republican rival John McCain was seeing a "short-term blip" as a result of the advertising, including one that used the image of Charlton Heston as Moses to mock the supposedly messianic Mr Obama as being "The One".
"To a certain extent the ads are having some effect," Mr Daschle said. "But you can't be thrown off your game plan by a momentary dip in polls."
Meanwhile, the Washington Post finds Democratic strategists worried that Obama's response has been too soft:
Such attacks have raised worries among Democratic strategists -- haunted by John F. Kerry's 2004 run and Al Gore's razor-thin loss in 2000 -- that Obama has not responded in kind with a parallel assault on McCain's character. Interviews with nearly a dozen Democratic strategists found those concerns to be widespread, although few wished to be quoted by name while Obama's campaign is demanding unity.
"Democrats are worried," said Tad Devine, a top strategist for Kerry who thinks Obama must stay on the high road. "We've been through two very tough elections at the national level, and it's very easy to lose confidence." ...
"If somebody attacks you, you have to frame the attack: 'This is the same old politics, or better yet, the Bush-Rove politics,' " something Obama has done well, said one Democratic strategist. "At the same time you do that, you have to counterattack. You don't want to look like a whiner. You want to look tough."
The Obama campaign says outside complaints are no reason to change strategy, and one consultant admits that that could be a good thing: "One of the great strengths of the Obama campaign has been to not listen to the D.C. chattering class. They have a plan and they stick to it. But clearly, the D.C. chattering class are all wringing their hands."