Yesterday's slow news day was only made worse by the fact that Barack Obama cannot control the message of the day. The President still does that as he did yesterday.
Obama started his day with a big speech on education outlining his policies. But this was after the President made his comments about Iraq. Naturally the press had all sorts of questions for Obama at his education policy speech ABOUT IRAQ.
Did this foil the entire day for Team Obama? Later Obama makes his lipstick remark trying to be casual and humorous. I laughed when I heard the quote, but then started trying to figure out what he meant beyond the humor.
It didn't matter what the remark meant to convey. The McCain team pounced on it which led to the quote dominating the talk circuit that evening. To make matters worse, Larry King's show was devoted to featuring women in politics talking about Sarah Palin.
Whoops. But still this campaign is freaking sweet.
Barack Obama cannot set the national agenda for the day. This campaign strategy is foolish and further attempts by Team Obama to do so will have to be based on defensive positions or capitalizing on immense gaffes from Team McCain.
And there is a gaffe today from Team McCain. It's an ad about education which I posted earlier. Here Team Obama can play defense effectively to push the media to talk about what they want to talk about - Education. However, did Team McCain already consider this option? If Barack Obama starts talking about Education, Team McCain can start asking about the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, something Barack Obama NEVER TALKS about.
Mr. "32 percent approval" President still sets the agenda for the day. The Obama campaign should know better.
Team Obama should be reading Mark Halperin's dispatches at The Page as well as reading his fantastic book.
Update: Barack Obama made some public statements in Norfolk, VA this morning. I promise I have no direct access to his Blackberry. Via Politico.
Obama said the McCain campaign moved to "seize an innocent remark and take it out of context because they knew it's catnip for the news media."Barack Obama just kicked this discussion from a topic that was moving to life support to a topic that will be discussed yet again for another 24 hour news cycle.
"See, it would be funny, but the news media decided that would be the lead story yesterday. This happens every election cycle. Every four years, this is what we do. This is what they want to spend two of the last 55 days talking about...Enough!" he said.
Obama called the attacks "lies, outrage and swift boat politics."
"These are serious times and they call for a serious debate...spare me all the phony outrage. Spare me all the phony talk about change."
Where are the handlers? The rookie needs a visit to the mound. Coach him.