The US presidential race in the States took a new direction with the McCain and Obama both appearing at a Forum on faith, held over the weekend, moderatorated by pastor and author Rick Warren.
Commentators and opinion leaders are now disecting the event, offering their views. For example in the Washington Post Michael Gerson wrote:
It is now clear why Barack Obama has refused John McCain’s offer of joint town hall appearances during the fall campaign. McCain is obviously better at them.
The suggestion that it’s McCain who has the edge will be surprising to many in NZ, who assume that Obama was a sure thing. It got me thinking about our domestic version of the presidential race between Key and Clark. A recent comment in the ODT indicates that Key has been working hard, and has lifted his performance out on the campaign trail, with Dene MacKenzie saying:
An assured National Party leader John Key kept to the party message during a visit to Dunedin yesterday. He showed no signs of any nervousness about the forthcoming election campaign.
Certainly the verbal stumbling and hesitation has been disappearing from Key’s appearances. The coaching and media training seems to be paying off. It looks like he will be able to step into the campaign proper with a justified sense of confidence. The challenge for Helen Clark is whether she will be able to take the fight to him – the Labour leader has not encountered such territory since the 1996 election against Jim Bolger.