The Campaign Trail

How are they doing?

financing because, lacking the fundraising energy of his opponent, he won’t have to take time from campaigning to raise money. There will be $19 million in coordinated party money and the millions of dollars the RNC can raise independently. In addition, Corrado says, McCain is raising approximately $20 million to $25 million a month and can continue to do so through the end of the summer.

Public financing and other issues have led McCain to begin questioning Obama’s trustworthiness. Last week, the Democratic candidate said he would vote in favor of granting immunity from lawsuits to telecommunications that allegedly cooperated with the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretaps after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

He also stated he would back the death penalty for child rapists. Epstein says Obama is seeking middle ground on a variety of issues. “I think he’s been very intelligent about moving to the political center and talking about values, including religious values, in a way that should touch a chord with religious values voters, but not offend the people on the left who worry about separation of church and state,” he says.

McCain is also no stranger to the political flip-flop. The Republican candidate initially opposed Bush’s tax cuts, stating they would increase the deficit. McCain has also changed his mind on offshore drilling. “McCain, in trying to cast Obama’s public finance decision as a character issue that raises questions about whether he will keep his problems, is trying to highlight trust, which is always an essential characteristic to voters in a presidential candidate,” Corrado says.

Another controversy on the campaign trail involved comments by McCain’s senior adviser, Charlie Black, who reportedly stated that another terrorist attack would boost McCain’s campaign.

“It was a reflection of the fact that McCain’s strength right now lies in the gap between him and Obama on which candidate is better prepared to handle issues of terrorism and foreign policy,” Corrado says. “But the frankness of it was cast as an inappropriate comment that was not in line with the type of politics McCain is professing his campaign will practice. The two comments were more or less bookends on how both of the campaigns recognize how attributes of trust and leadership are going to be important concerns for voters and don’t concede any ground with respect to that aspect of the campaign.” So far, Obama is leading rival McCain in most polls, by a margin of 47% to 42%, and an LA Times/Bloomberg poll shows him leading by 12 points.

In a recent Gallup poll, 39% of respondents said they believe Obama is “honest and trustworthy” versus 35% for McCain. On which candidate “can manage the government effectively,” respondents were evenly split at 42%, and 46% say McCain is a “strong and decisive leader” versus 40% who say the same of Obama.

Last week Obama held a unity rally in Unity, New Hampshire, with former rival Sen. Hillary Clinton, which was a significant move toward bringing the Democratic Party together.

“Obama has to make sure he puts some meat on

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