(CNN) - Why is the presidential race dead even after both parties have had their conventions? In a nutshell, it's because the conventions have not changed the basic dynamic of the race.
Earlier: CNN poll shows race dead even
New numbers released by CNN Monday explain just how the presidential race remains so close with 57 days to go until voters weigh in at the polls: the conventions were so successful for both parties that that each essentially canceled the other out.
The candidates' favorable ratings are identical (60 percent) - and almost identical to what they were before the conventions began. The GOP convention made Republicans more enthusiastic (an increase of 17 points). But Democrats are more enthusiastic as well (up 14 points), so an 11 point "enthusiasm gap" favoring remains: 71 percent of Democrats say they are enthusiastic about the election, compared to 60 percent of Republicans.
The candidates' strengths and weaknesses on the issues also have not changed over the last month - Obama retains his edge on the economy and health care; McCain's advantage remains on Iraq and terrorism.
Full poll results [PDF]
In fact, the Iraq issue is instructive of just how effectively the conventions molded public opinion. Before the Democratic convention, McCain had a 9-point edge; after the Democratic convention it was a tie, and now McCain has a 14-point lead on Iraq.
(CNN) – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s vice presidential nomination has energized the base of the Republican Party and challenged Sen. Barack Obama’s status as the rock star of the 2008 White House race.
In the latest episode of CNN=Politics Daily, Dana Bash reports on Palin’s popularity with conservatives and Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley reports on what the Obama campaign plans to do to counteract Palin’s power out on the campaign trail.
Jessica Yellin is part of CNN’s team of reporters and producers on the ground in Alaska taking a closer look at Palin’s background. She has a report on the Pentecostal church that Palin belonged to until six years ago.
Finally, on Monday, Sen. Hillary Clinton made her first appearance on the campaign trail since Palin’s selection was announced. Jim Acosta takes a look at how Democrats might use Clinton to win over the women voters the McCain campaign is targeting.
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(CNN) - Barack Obama makes his second campaign stop of the day in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
At a campaign stop earlier in the day in Flint, Michigan, Obama said rivals John McCain and Sarah Palin were "making stuff up."
Watch Obama's event on CNN.com/live.
UPDATE: This event has ended, but stay with CNN.com/live for all the day's events on the campaign trail.
(CNN) - The McCain-Palin team is continuing its pushback campaign against stories about VP nominee Sarah Palin that have taken on a life of their own on the Internet.
Watch: Abbi Tatton on the Palin book ban rumor
On Monday, they sent reporters a memo in response to reports that the Wasilla, Alaska resident had tried to ban a lengthy list of books when she was mayor of that town.
“This is categorically false. The fact is that as Mayor, Palin never asked anyone to ban a book and not one book was ever banned, period,” McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said, directing reporters to campaign research "debunking this smear."
Watchdog Web site snopes.com has also debunked an e-mail that purports to include a list of books Palin tried to ban – several of which were not even published in 1996, when the message says her attempt took place. Factcheck.org also published a lengthy list of rumors they had found to be false under the headline "Sliming Palin."
The language used echoes that of the Obama campaign’s “Fight the Smears” Web site and “Obama Action Wire” e-mails, which look to discredit false rumors about the Democratic nominee.
The McCain campaign has issued increasingly aggressive responses to rumors about the presumptive Republican VP nominee, including some detailed public statements denying sensational stories that had not previously been reported by any mainstream media organizations.
CNN – Barack Obama’s campaign responded to the McCain-Palin team’s new ad touting the Alaska governor’s opposition to the Bridge to Nowhere with a spot released Monday afternoon that attacks the Republican VP nominee by name for the first time.
“They call themselves mavericks. Whoa,” says the announcer in the 30-second spot. “The truth is, they’re anything but.
“John McCain is hardly a maverick when seven of his top campaign advisers are Washington lobbyists. He’s no maverick when he votes with Bush 90 percent of the time. And Sarah Palin’s no maverick either. She was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.
“Politicians lying about their records? You don’t call that maverick. You call it more of the same.”
The ad, which will air in battleground states, echoes the language of Obama’s own campaign trail attacks against the GOP ticket Monday.
“John McCain says that he is going to tell all those lobbyists in Washington that their days of running Washington are over,” Obama said at a Michigan campaign stop. “So who is it that he’s going to tell? Is he going to tell his campaign chairman? Is he going to tell his campaign manager? I mean, these are folks who have represented every major corporate interest…”
McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said that there are no registered lobbyists currently on the payroll, “and Barack Obama knows it.”
A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll found those surveyed give the Democratic nominee the edge when it comes to which candidate is the “real reformer” – but McCain has narrowed Obama’s advantage on “change” from 18 to 8 percent.
(CNN) – John McCain’s edge is growing in the latest CNN Poll of polls - the first comprised of surveys conducted entirely after the Republican convention.
After averaging in new survey results from CBS, ABC/Washington Post, and Gallup, CNN’s national Poll of polls now shows McCain leading Obama by 2 points, 47 to 45 percent. The CNN Poll of polls released earlier Monday showed McCain ahead of Obama by 1 point, 47 to 46 percent. Eight percent are undecided.
“John McCain is riding high after an extremely successful Republican Convention,” said CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib. “For the first time all year, McCain is ahead of Obama in the Poll of Polls. The GOP base is energized. The so-called ‘convention bounce’ is alive and well, and has resulted in an overall swing of seven percentage points in McCain’s favor since the Republicans met in St. Paul on September 1. This historic race for the White House will now likely remain tight all the way to Election Day.”
The national general election "Poll of Polls" consists of five surveys: CNN (September 5-7), ABC/Washington Post (September 5-7), CBS (September 5-7), Gallup (September 5-7), and Diageo/Hotline (September 5-7). The Poll of Polls does not have a sampling error.
(CNN) – Bill Clinton will join Barack Obama and John McCain in visiting Ground Zero this Thursday in memory of the victims of September 11, and deliver a speech focused on national security threats.
“But just as we reflect on the past, we must look ahead to ensure we are doing all we can to support families, unite our communities, and protect our country from future acts of terrorism," said the former president in a statement released by his office.
The McCain and Obama campaigns released a joint statement over the weekend announcing that both men will appear together in New York to mark the seventh anniversary of the attacks. The campaigns have also pledged to abstain from all negative campaign ads on that day.
Also Thursday, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama will meet at the former president's Harlem offices - their first extended in-person encounter since the tense primary season.
(UPDATED to clarify McCain and Obama are visiting Ground Zero Thursday, but will not be at the memorial ceremony.)
FLINT, Michigan (CNN) –- Refusing to allow the McCain-Palin ticket to usurp his mantle of change, Barack Obama accused the duo of repackaging themselves and ratcheted up his weekend criticism of Sarah Palin, accusing her of trying to “make stuff up” and “recreate” herself in some of his toughest language against her to date.
“Let’s get the facts clear here. When she was mayor, she hired a Washington lobbyist to get earmarks – pork barrel spending – all the things that John McCain says is bad, she lobbied to get!” Obama told a small crowd at community college in this economically hard-hit town.
“When it came to the Bridge to Nowhere, she was for it until everybody started raising a fuss about it and she started running for governor and then suddenly she was against it!
“You remember that?” Obama continued. “For it before you were against it? I mean you can’t just make stuff up, you can’t just recreate yourself, you can’t just reinvent yourself. The American people aren’t stupid.”
Watch: Clinton says 'No McCain, no Palin'
Obama was reacting to a McCain ad out Monday touting Palin’s stance against the infamous $400 million earmark in her home state of Alaska – a position that is central to the Republican’s argument that his ticket will battle wasteful government spending.
The attack echoes his criticism of Palin Saturday, when he charged that she had accepted earmarks “when it's convenient, and then suddenly you're the champion anti-earmark person, that's not change. Come on! I mean, words mean something, you can't just make stuff up."
On Monday, the Democratic nominee asked how McCain could talk about change “with a straight face,” telling the crowd seven of the Arizona senator's top aides of were former corporate lobbyists.
“John McCain says that he is going to tell all those lobbyists in Washington that their days of running Washington are over,” said Obama. “So who is it that he’s going to tell? Is he going to tell his campaign chairman? Is he going to tell his campaign manager? I mean, these are folks who have represented every major corporate interest…”
(CNN) – The presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John McCain are sparring over a new television ad claiming Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin stopped the “Bridge to Nowhere” - the infamous $400 million congressional earmark that became the ultimate symbol of excessive pork-barrel spending.
Watch: The McCain campaigns latest ad, 'The Original Mavericks'
The new McCain ad, set to air in key states, calls both the Arizona senator and Palin "original mavericks," and characterizes the Alaska governor as an ardent opponent of the 2005 bridge proposal championed by Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens connecting Ketchikan, Alaska to the Ketchikan airport on Gravina Island (Population: 50).
Several opponents of Palin, as well as the non-partisan factcheck.org, have noted the claim she was against the bridge is not entirely accurate - the Alaska governor was for the bridge during her 2006 gubernatorial bid, and did not begin opposing it until it became clear the project was doomed on Capitol Hill.
Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton went even further Monday, calling the assertion a flat out "lie."
“Despite being discredited over and over again by numerous news organizations, the McCain campaign continues to repeat the lie that Sarah Palin stopped the Bridge to Nowhere," Burton said. "McCain and Palin will say or do anything to make people believe that they will change something besides the person sitting in the Oval Office."
But McCain spokesman Brian Rogers is standing by the claim, and said the Obama campaign is launching "hysterical attacks."
“The only people ‘lying’ about spending are the Obama campaign," Rogers said. "The only explanation for their hysterical attacks is that they’re afraid that when John McCain and Sarah Palin are in the White House, Barack Obama’s nearly $1 billion in earmark spending will stop dead in its tracks."
(CNN) - As the candidates try to win over undecided voters, both Republicans and Democrats are pushing a message of change.
CNN's latest "poll of polls" shows Sen. John McCain leading Sen. Barack Obama 47 percent to 46 percent.
Monday's poll of polls shows that 7 percent of voters are undecided - enough to push either candidate over the top.
With the election less than two months away, the candidates have limited time to sway undecided voters who hold the election in their hands.
According to John Avlon, author of "Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics," independent and swing voters are looking for a break from the Bush administration.
"What they're looking for in this campaign is a candidate who's going to end the hyper-partisanship in Washington and who's going to have credibility on reducing spending, but also sort of the antidote to the Bush administration," he said on CNN's "American Morning." "They've been - instead of fiscally conservative - fiscally liberal and socially conservative, and that's the opposite of what independents and swing voters want."
Change essentially means new people and new policies, said Bill Schneider, CNN's senior political analyst.
"It's exactly the theme that people want for this year after eight years of the Bush administration," he said. "But the big puzzle in this election is - what's the best way to get that?"