With a week to go in the race, George Stephanopoulos painted a more or less rosy picture for the Obama campaign, but one nevertheless framed with a few last, lingering concerns. While both VP candidates have become, in Stephanopoulos' estimation, "punchlines," he said that "Biden has made voters more comfortable with Barack Obama," while Sarah Palin "has made voters overall less comfortable with John McCain." Going into the final week, the Obama camp remains concerned about "a surprise...something coming from outside the campaign," as well as "complacency in the voters." As for the McCain campaign, Stephanopoulos says that the Obama team is convinced that there isn't "any argument right now that can hurt them that john McCain can make."
ROBERTS: Bottom line, George, the running mates, getting a lot of attention: good, bad, or indifferent?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, they have become punchlines which isn't great for either candidate, but the bottom line here is, across all voters, across the last couple of months, Senator Biden has made voters more comfortable with Barack Obama. Governor Palin has made voters overall less comfortable with John McCain.
ROBERTS: We can talk about the running mates, but people want to talk about the issues. But if you look at the polls, it comes down to the battleground states. Both campaigns will tell you it comes down to some key states. What are you seeing in the new polling?
STEPHANOPOULOS: We got brand-new polling out this morning. Important one from the Washington Post showing Barack Obama is holding an eight-point lead in the state of Virginia, 52% to 44%. There's an astonishing number inside that poll, it shows that more than half of the voters in Virginia have been contacted, a visit, a phonecall, an e-mail from the Obama campaign. The intensity of their ground operation is just unreal. What that also means, for John McCain to be able to win, if Obama holds on to Virginia, McCain is going to have to win Pennsylvania and Florida and Ohio, yet, Barack Obama has comfortable leads in all three states. Right now, we have a new poll out just yesterday in Ohio showing that Obama is leading McCain 49% to 46% there.
ROBERTS: So no doubt, John McCain has some ground he needs to make up in the next seven days. And we heard him out on the campaign trail really making the argument that you don't want one party, in this case, the Democratic party, running everything. That you want a divided government. Will that gain some traction for him?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, as Jake pointed out in his piece, that argument may appeal to independent voters, but if you talk to the campaigns - and the Obama campaign feels this especially - they really don't think that there's any argument right now that can hurt them that John McCain can make. They're worried about a surprise, something coming from outside the campaign. They're worried about complacency and overconfidence among their voters. But this argument may have some appeal for independents.
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