Politico: Obama has advantage on economy

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published September 29, 2008

The financial crisis has redefined the presidential race, bringing into stark relief the candidate who can deal with the complexities of the global markets and return the country to prosperity over the next four years.

The race is no longer about change, experience, Iraq, tax cuts or universal health care. The job posting has been fundamentally altered.

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Politico: Candidates must come out swinging

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published September 24, 2008

The two prep teams for the presidential debates are moving into high gear, readying their candidates for the ring, knowing the stakes are probably the highest since the Kennedy-Nixon face-offs played a decisive role in the 1960 election.

The winner of Friday’s presidential debate could be the candidate who beats expectations and thereby causes another jump ball in this volatile election.

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Politico: So goes the nation: New electoral map

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published September 17, 2008

The outcome of the 2008 election will, like the last two presidential campaigns, come down to a small number of voters in a few places. Yet those votes will be affected by big, overarching events such as the emergence of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, the economic crisis and the upcoming presidential debates.

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Politico: Penn on who won at conventions

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published September 9, 2008

Here’s my post-convention take on the most important questions likely to decide the general election.

Who won the conventions? No one — or everyone — won. The post-convention polls suggest that the party gatherings did not fundamentally change the race — this is going to go right down to the wire, and debates will be key. Nearly 55 million people voted in the primaries, and nearly 40 million watched the key speeches at both conventions. Voters are interested, listening and undecided.

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Politico: DNC sets high bar for RNC to reach

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published September 1, 2008

As the Republicans get their turn this week at the GOP convention in St. Paul, Minn., they start out with a difficult — though not impossible — mountain to climb. Democratic nominee Barack Obama is getting his convention bump for his party confab in Denver last week. If the Republican convention this week fails, the rest of the campaign probably won’t matter much.

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Politico: Mapping a path to the White House

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published August 19, 2008

During the Super Bowl, the seventh game of the World Series and the “American Idol” finale, Americans can be counted on to sit in front of their television sets. The same is true of the quadrennial political conventions. America is a country that tunes in for a good contest.

This year, the party that wins the battle of the conventions will likely win the election. In the past 60 years, few presidential candidates have overcome negative poll numbers taken after the conventions. While races have gotten closer and debates have had an effect, nothing in the months between convention and election has swayed the voters’ preferences.

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Politico: Negative ads: They really do work

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published August 11, 2008

Clever negative advertising works. That is reality.

The tactic meets with media and pundit disapproval and spawns accusations of negativity, but the reality is that a clever negative ad can be devastatingly effective.

The 2008 presidential race is shaping up to be a close battle, and the tighter it is, the more the advertising will be ratcheted up, by both of the campaigns and the myriad independent groups sure to emerge.

Of course, voters publicly condemn negative advertising and suggest they would never be swayed by it. That was my experience in focus groups more than a decade ago, which found negative advertising to backfire. But Republican consultants such as the late Lee Atwater have used these tactics successfully in campaign after campaign. When reality and research differ, it is the research that is wrong.

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