With the announcement of Joe Biden as his running mate (which I correctly predicted by the way), I am sure Barack Obama is breathing a sigh of relief. Last week was not a good week for him, and I bet he's looking forward to the convention this week. Let's recap the week that was for Obama:
Last Saturday was the Saddleback Forum. He did well, but McCain did fabulously. A lot of undecided McCain voters made their decision.
As the Sunday shows dissected the Saddleback Forum, Obama's performance at Saddleback got panned. He seemed to avoid hard questions ("that's above my pay grade") while McCain came off as principled and precise. And, by criticizing Clarence Thomas, he opened himself up more to questions of his own experience.
The bad news continued when Vanity Fair published a story about Obama's brother George, living in a shack in Kenya. So much for all that "least of these" talk at the Saddleback Forum.
The week went on with lots of bad press about the Saddleback Forum, his brother, and falling poll numbers. On Wednesday, news came that Obama was close to or had already chosen his running mate. He was going to send out a text message making the announcement.
When would that happen? Wednesday? No. Thursday? No. Friday? No. Any of these days would have stopped the wave of bad news and changed the subject. Instead, the bad press continued. And it was joined by the stories about how Obama dissed Hillary and her 18 million voters.
Finally, he made his announcement (which got leaked to the press before the text message went out) on Saturday morning as the Olympics were ending. People don't pay attention to the news on Saturday. And they don't pay attention to the news when the Olympics are much more interesting.
The week ended with McCain holding a 5 point lead in the polls.
Obama hopes that the convention will mean change for his campaign. But half of the convention is dominated by the Clintons. His hope might be a little audacious.