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The Putin Factor

With Obama chilling in Hawaii this week, I suspect the McCain campaign sees a fine chance to be out front in the news in response to the Russia-Georgia conflict. I'm a little skeptical that this crisis will have a major impact on the campaign, however. My guess is that most Americans see this as an obscure regional dispute, not a portentious historical moment akin to the fall of the Berlin Wall, as Robert Kagan argues today. Moreover, there was much talk in December that Benazir Bhutto's assassination would boost Hillary Clinton, who, much like McCain does now, claimed that such a reminder of our perilous world argued for someone with her "experience" in the White House. Iowa voters didn't buy it and I'd guess much the same will go for McCain.

--Michael Crowley