determine how to proceed and that he would defer to the commanders.
Bernard says that each candidate should be expected to redefine positions as events on the ground change. “Both campaigns need to stay away from the term flip-flopping,” she adds. “Obama could accuse McCain of flip-flopping on immigration, where he heralded one bill and wouldn’t vote for his own bill now.”
Conservative commentator Tara Wall says there’s a difference between evolving one’s position and doing a complete 180. “There are legitimate issues where you do evolve, but issue after issue, there’s an ongoing pattern of evolvement. I think Obama is leaving voters scratching their heads on where he stands,” Wall says.
So, how is that evolution playing in the polls? The July 16 daily national Gallup tracking poll shows Obama ahead by three points, down from more recent spreads of six to eight points or higher.
But, he leads in the Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, and Ohio battleground states. McCain is ahead in Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Bumps along the campaign trail aside, the economy is still a top issue.
And according to Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, both candidates have their work cut out for them on the issue that may likely be the deciding factor in November.
“Neither candidate seems to have come up with a unifying economic message that really reaches voters and that they can build their whole campaign around,” Tanner says. “What’s ironic is if we had the economy we have today six months ago, we might not have either of these two candidates. They won largely based on the war in Iraq and the foreign policy issues on which they focused their campaigns originally, and neither one has a huge economic pedigree.”