- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 31, 2008

Conventional thinking

Denver is so over.

But that doesn’t mean that Democrats have lapsed into an alpha state. As Republican loyalists arrive in St. Paul in the next few hours, they will be greeted by a sprawling welcome billboard courtesy of the Democratic National Committee. It shows Sen. John McCain and President Bush in convivial embrace.

“Does this look like change to you?” reads the motto below.

“We’re going to spend every day looking for every opportunity to remind voters in the Twin Cities and across the country that a vote for John McCain is a vote for George Bush and his failed policies,” spokesman Damien LaVera told the Associated Press.

Similar posters will adorn nearby bus stops. The canny Democrats also will distribute a multimedia press kit to the press that is loaded with flash drives plus a complete catalog of McCain’s voting record and public statements. A team of two dozen Democratic “fact checkers” will be sending out rapid responses to every GOP speaker who mounts the dais.

And look out. There’s a media center right across the street from the XCel Center — site of the Republican event — where loquacious Democrats will hold daily press briefings to counter the Republican message.

That message may not be as glitzy as what went down in Denver, though. Republicans are staging things a bit differently — a “more intimate, you-are-there feeling. Simple but classy,” said one who knows.

“We’re much more simple this time than we have been in the past,” said David Nash, the convention’s lead producer. “Basically, Senator McCain and his staff feel that to do something real glitzy and Las Vegas-like would be inappropriate.”

Quotes of note

“Joe Biden is an impenetrable thicket of words. I can’t imagine anybody is ready to debate Joe Biden.”- Mitt Romney, to CNN

“If this party has a message it’s done a hell of a job hiding it, I promise you that.” - Democratic strategist James Carville, on CNN.

“I believe in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels.” — Geologically challenged energy plan from Senate Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, to MSNBC.

“FOR NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNING ONLY.” — Message written at the bottom of a $2,300 campaign donation check to Mr. Obama, from Democratic strategist Paul Begala

Days of yore

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