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How Palin Put The Mccain Camp In A Bind

The McCain campaign faced an interesting choice last night: They could go for gravitas, weaving in wonky specifics to offset Palin's resume, or double-down on her small-town charm. They went with the latter, which played well on television, but I'm not sure it ultimately advanced Palin's cause. I could see people thinking this was a person they liked but wouldn't want anywhere near the White House. For that matter, I'm not sure the letters "PTA" should ever appear in a vice-presidential speech--at least not the biographical portion. Certainly the independents in that focus group Mike cited seemed to feel that way. (As did Eve.)

This basically brings us back to the Jamie Lynn debate Mike and I were having earlier this week: Palin may be on her way to pop culture icon-dom. But people have vastly different standards for cultural icons and presidents. You'd think the McCain campaign would know that better than anyone.

On the other hand, I'm not sure the alternative was really available to them. At least judging from the brief foriegn policy section of the speech--the one section where Palin actually used proper nouns (that weren't family members' names). I thought it was far and away her least fluent of the night. If I were a McCain operative, I would have felt like time was standing still.

--Noam Scheiber