"[McCain chief strategist] Steve Schmidt and company organized speeches that basically totally misrepresented Obama’s record—they were basically lies," said one former Clinton aide. "They aren’t idiots. They know what his proposals are. But they said, 'Fuck it, we’re just going to go out there and say he is going to raise taxes and do all this bad shit.' And they got a decent bounce. And then you see the reaction from the Obama people saying, 'We’re not going to be bullied, we’re not going to let our record be misconstrued.' The second you start hearing that kind of rhetoric, you are being bullied and your record is being misconstrued."The same article quotes Leon Panetta:
"My concern is that I see them as totally reactive right now as opposed to getting out there on their own and saying what the hell they are about. .... They seem to be intimidated by the Palin pick. They seem to be intimidated by how the Republicans are coming at them on change. And you cannot win if you are constantly on defense."For what it's worth, TPM ended up its day with a cartoon, a few more 'lying liars!'-type quotes, generally attacking Palin on the sheer volume of Alaska's earmarks. The real question isn't really how much does Alaska get but rather did earmarks go up or down under her watch.
That said, I wouldn't mind if Obama threw out a few earmark ads featuring squealing pigs. Or did something. Anything. It would be nice.