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Obama Camp: Will McCain Look At Obama Tonight?

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Preceding tonight's town hall presidential debate, the Obama campaign has put out a memo Tuesday morning both lowering expectations and accusing McCain of being "erratic," launching nasty attacks, and lacking the character to even "look at Obama on stage."

In an email to reporters, National Press Secretary Bill Burton, played the traditional pre-debate game, touting John McCain's experience with the town hall format that the candidates will face tonight in Nashville.

"When it comes to sheer format, we enter today's debate the decided underdog," he wrote. "John McCain does extremely well in town hall settings. It's been his favorite format throughout his career and we think that he will of course do very well."

But Burton also used the memo to launch a series of digs against McCain. They included the familiar swipes about the Arizona Republican's desire to "turn the page" on the economy. But the memo also targeted McCain's notorious temper, recalling his inability to look at Obama during the first debate.

"We don't know if McCain will continue his refusal to even look at Obama on stage -- like in their first debate -- but we fully expect that his "turn the page" strategy to ignore the economy will be seen in full view for 90 minutes of character attacks against Barack Obama," he wrote. "The fact is, McCain has erratically been all over the map in recent weeks, telling Americans that the fundamentals of the economy are strong only days before claiming to suspend his campaign and warning of another depression. John McCain just doesn't get it. The American people aren't interested in nasty, false attacks, and they're not interested in four more years of Bush policies. But that's all he's offering."

HERE IS THE FULL MEMO

TO: Interested Parties
FR: Bill Burton, National Press Secretary
RE: The Town Hall Presidential Debate
DA: October 7, 2008


"'When are you going to take the gloves off?' a John McCain supporter wanted to know this afternoon. 'How about Tuesday night?' McCain replied, grinning and looking ahead to his crucial second debate with Democrat Barack Obama." [Washington Post, 10/2/08]

John McCain is running out of time for a game-changing event. In the latest sign of desperation, his campaign admitted just yesterday that if they "keep talking about the economic crisis, they're going to lose." It's our view that the American people are already worried about losing - their homes, their jobs and their health care - and it's up to the candidates at this debate to demonstrate who is best equipped to make sure that they can get ahead again.

In order to change the dynamics of this race, we anticipate that McCain will launch his nastiest attacks and continue to lie about Barack Obama's record and his vision to fundamentally change our country. We don't know if McCain will continue his refusal to even look at Obama on stage -- like in their first debate -- but we fully expect that his "turn the page" strategy to ignore the economy will be seen in full view for 90 minutes of character attacks against Barack Obama.

The fact is, McCain has erratically been all over the map in recent weeks, telling Americans that the fundamentals of the economy are strong only days before claiming to suspend his campaign and warning of another depression. John McCain just doesn't get it. The American people aren't interested in nasty, false attacks, and they're not interested in four more years of Bush policies. But that's all he's offering.

If all he does is attack Barack Obama, as he's said he'll do, it will be yet another colossal missed opportunity. In the face of those attacks, Barack Obama will continue to offer steady leadership, and talk about his plan to give real relief to the middle class and create good jobs here in America.

When it comes to sheer format, we enter today's debate the decided underdog. John McCain does extremely well in town hall settings. It's been his favorite format throughout his career and we think that he will of course do very well. See below for more reviews of John McCain's town hall performances.

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