While it is impossible to say how much Palin’s selection has to do with it, new polls do seem to confirm that McCain has pulled even with or gained a slight lead over Barack Obama since the conventions ended. The New York Times reports that Obama’s campaign is preparing to respond to recent McCain charges and to more strongly criticize the GOP candidate.
Obama has been put on the defensive in the past week by having to counter charges that his “lipstick on a pig” comment was a dig at Palin–a charge that even McCain surrogate Mike Huckabee thinks isn’t true. It seems obvious to me that Obama was saying that just because McCain is now talking so much about change doesn’t mean that he would be able to deliver it: McCain is just changing the packaging, in other words. “Lipstick on a pig” is an old expression and McCain used it himself to criticize a policy of Hillary Clinton’s earlier in this election cycle.
Obama has also had to respond to a McCain ad that implies that, while in the Illinois Senate, Obama supported a measure that would have taught kindergarteners “about sex before learning to read.” The ad is very dishonest. The measure in question included a parent opt out and all material would be age-appropriate; students in kindergarten would learn about inappropriate touching, not sex. FactCheck.org has said, in no uncertain terms, that the ad is off base.
For information on what Obama has said about education matters, see my blog post here.