(CNN) – A McCain senior advisor and a major campaign surrogate suggested Sunday that the GOP’s poor prospects in the House and Senate should give a boost to the Republican presidential nominee’s candidacy.
"Do we really believe that the American public is going to feel safe by having both the head of the Congress and the head of the White House from the same party that has had so many challenges with the way they’ve run Washington over the last couple of years?" McCain campaign manager Rick Davis asked on Fox News Sunday.
It’s a strategy popular with some high-profile conservative voices. Last month, columnist George Will urged McCain to make the idea his “closing argument,” pointing to the fact that the Democratic Congress was drawing approval ratings even more dismal than President Bush’s historic lows: “His argument should assert the virtues of something that voters, judging by their behavior over time, prefer - divided government,” he wrote, that “compels compromises that curb each party's excesses.”
And in June – just weeks after the Democratic primary race drew to a close – Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund made essentially the same case, citing the the strategy’s effectiveness for congressional Republicans in 1996.
“Facing a presidential defeat in addition to losses in Congress, Republicans boldly appealed to the public's fondness for divided government,” wrote Fund, pointing to GOP ads that year that featured “a fortune-teller staring into a crystal ball showing over-the-top scenes of Biblical devastation, plague and conflict,” that accused the media of trying to keep voters from the polls, and warned of the consequences of “hand[ing] Bill Clinton a blank check” by giving one party control of two branches of government.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The race for the White House is being waged in the final weeks in American living rooms through a blitz of negative campaign commercials.
And though Sen. Barack Obama's campaign circulated a University of Wisconsin Advertising Project study earlier this week indicating all of Sen. John McCain's ads are negative compared to just 34 percent of Obama's, both campaigns are spending about equal amounts on attack ads.
An analysis of campaign commercials aired over the last seven days shows Obama outspent McCain nationwide by more than 2-1: $21.5 million vs. $9.2 million.
Watch: Negative ads dominate the campaign homestretch
But just under half of the money Obama is spending is going toward negative spots, meaning the Illinois senator is roughly keeping pace with his GOP rival when it comes to negative commercials, in terms of cash spent.
Campaign Media Analysis Group's Evan Tracey, CNN's consultant on campaign advertising, said Obama's cash advantage over McCain provides the Illinois senator with a luxury McCain cannot afford: the means to run both positive and negative TV spots.
"McCain is almost all negative because he needs to be," Tracey said, adding that McCain is "behind in the polls and outgunned."
CHICAGO (CNN) - Fitness devotee Barack Obama has developed an obsession with of all things, pie.
The candidate known for his discriminate eating habits and daily workouts mentioned a recent pie stop at a southern Ohio restaurant during all four of his Saturday Philadelphia events.
"I was in Ohio, in a small town called Georgetown, we were on a bus tour, a bus tour for jobs in Ohio. And I was with the governor there, Governor Strickland. And we decided to stop at a diner because I was hungry and I decided I wanted some pie," Obama said in West Philly of his afternoon trip to Fireside Restaurant last Thursday. "I had coconut cream pie. The governor of Ohio, he had lemon meringue pie."
Obama started weaving the lengthy pie anecdote into his stump speech Thursday night in Ohio, telling audiences that the owner of Fireside, who served Obama and Strickland their pie slices, is a Republican disenchanted with the direction of the country.
If John McCain is as serious as he says about running a "respectful" campaign against an opponent he considers "a decent person," word hasn't yet trickled down to his newly opened storefront field office in Gainesville, Virginia.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Georgia Rep. John Lewis said late Saturday that controversial remarks he made comparing the feeling at recent Republican rallies to those of segregationist George Wallace were misinterpreted.
The civil rights icon issued a statement Saturday evening which said a "careful review" of his remarks made earlier in the day "would reveal that I did not compare Sen. John McCain or Gov. Sarah Palin to George Wallace."
McCain said Lewis' earlier statement was "a brazen and baseless attack" and called on Sen. Barack Obama to repudiate it.
Lewis had said earlier that he was "deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign" and that the Republican running mates are "playing with fire."
"What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse," Lewis said in a statement.
(CNN) – With recent polls showing Sen. Barack Obama's lead increasing nationwide and in several GOP-leaning states, some Republicans attending John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign rallies are showing a new emotion: rage.
At a rally in Minnesota on Friday, a woman told McCain: "I don't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's an Arab."
McCain shook his head and said, "No ma'am, no ma'am. He's a decent family man...[a] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. That's what this campaign is all about."
One man at the rally said he was "scared of an Obama presidency." McCain later told the man he should not fear Obama.
"I want to be president of the United States, and I don't want Obama to be," he said. "But I have to tell you, I have to tell you, he is a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared as President of the United States."
McCain's response was met with boos from the crowd.
Watch: Rising anger at McCain rallies
When asked about these outbursts, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said that he didn't know who those people were and if they were there as supporters or to disrupt the rallies.