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Well folks, the conservative backlash continues! Today it is Dick Morris' turn to completely trash the McCain campaign, saying "McCain sure as hell didn't provide any leadership" in the financial crisis and was lacking in courage last week. Interesting, no? With friends like these...

We also have some news on Obama's quest to turn Nevada blue, and why can't John McCain seal the deal in... North Dakota?!

The conservative backlash continues! Perhaps the trickle is turning into a flood? Steve Peoples of the Providence Journal (RI) reports on Dick Morris' visit to the state to campaign for Mark Zaccaria and his very critical bashing of the McCain campaign in News commentator Dick Morris critical of GOP nominee McCain:

McCain sure as hell didn’t provide any leadership,” Morris said, standing alone in the center of a spacious room bordered by several dozen GOP contributors. “This is a man who conceivably has a lot of courage — certainly showed it earlier in his life — but man, it was lacking over the last week,” Morris said. “I think his campaign staff and the Republican Party set the table for him, but he refused to sit down and eat the meal.”

and:

“I think that he’s blown a very good opportunity to make a clear distinction between himself and [Sen. Barack] Obama on this bailout,” he said.

and:

He said that Democratic nominee Obama bested McCain in the most significant portion of last week’s nationally-televised debate, and that recent polls reflect growing support for the Illinois senator. “I am not sure it’s going to be very easy for McCain to get those votes back,” Morris said. “Can McCain still win? Yes, he still can. I don’t at this point think he will.”

That apparently wasn't enough for Morris, who also pushed the panic button over at Townhall.com in McCain needs to get his campaign back on track:

John McCain isn't dead in the water. But he sure is dying. He lost the debate and the polls are dismal. Gallup has him down 50-42. Rasmussen has Obama ahead 50-44. And both polls are only partially after the debate. Obama won the debate. When the polls come in fully after the debate, the picture won't get any prettier for those of us who favor McCain.

Morris doesn't have many positive things to say about the McCain campaign this morning, does he?

Many news outlets are picking up on Obama's ground game in Nevada ahead of his visit in Reno today. Mark Barabak of the Los Angeles Times details In Nevada, Democrats are on a roll:

The numbers are going Obama's way. There are 76,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans statewide, and the party has posted big gains in the Las Vegas and Reno areas, where most voters reside. Four years ago, registration tilted Republican, and President Bush won Nevada by 21,500 votes.

"All Obama needs is to get a third of those new Democrats and those numbers turn around," said Eric Herzik, who teaches political science at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Dan Hoyle at Salon.com has a similar story about Democratic hopes for Nevada in Obama's big bet on Nevada:

Bill Clinton is the only Democrat to win Nevada in a presidential election in the last 40 years. But the Obama campaign believes that by turning out thousands of newly registered younger and Latino voters, many of whom have been hard hit by a sinking economy, they can capture the Silver State's five electoral votes. Those five votes could be pivotal on a national electoral map that remains too close to call.

Just like in swing states across the country, it's all about the economy. The unemployment numbers are staggering:

As Erik Herzik, the political science chair at University of Nevada-Reno, puts it, Nevada has been "ground zero of the economic meltdown. Nevada's economy has been turned around like we've never seen before." In August, unemployment in the state hit 7.1 percent, its highest rate in 23 years, above the national average of 6.1 percent. Nevada has the nation's highest home foreclosure rate, a position it has held for the last 20 months, with one in every 91 households receiving a foreclosure filing in August, according to RealtyTrac, a researcher and seller of foreclosed homes. Latinos have been particularly hurt by the foreclosure crisis, and are also heavily represented in the state's beleaguered gaming and construction industries.

Side note for those of you in Nevada: Hoyle details in his article that the Obama offices are in need of Spanish-speaking volunteers. He specifically mentions Reno, but I'm sure the need exists throughout the state.

And if you needed another indication of how this race is going, check out the headline from Andrea Stone in today's USA Today: Usually red state, N.D. not sold on McCain. And this is a state where Bush won 63% of the vote to Kerry's 35% in 2004:

North Dakota hasn't voted for a Democrat for president since Lyndon Johnson in 1964, but observers across the political spectrum here say it's too soon to color the state red in November.

Nearly twice as many Democrats as Republicans turned out in February for party caucuses that gave wide margins of victory to Obama and McCain's then-rival, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

"This is a surprisingly tight race. It's still leaning Republican, but what's different is it's usually a lock," says Steve Light, a political scientist at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

There is also good news out of Pennsylvania this morning, where Bill O'Boyle of the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader (PA) reports that the Dem registration gap in Pa. widens to 1.1M:

In 2004, Sen. John Kerry defeated President George W. Bush by 144,000 votes in Pennsylvania. Democrats held a 580,000 voter registration edge at the time.

“We’re seeing the desire for change right here in Pennsylvania, where Democratic voter registration is growing every day,” said Obama spokeswoman Ellen Mellody. “The electorate will be fundamentally different than it was in 2004.”

McCain spokesman Paul Lindsay says the registration edge doesn’t necessarily translate into more votes for Obama.

The Palin Pakistan gaffe is continuing to get traction this morning, even after Sarah brought her daddy to Principal Couric's office to get her out of trouble. I think this is one of the funniest headlines I have seen in this crazy election, from the AP's Will Lester, off the wires this morning - Palin: Pakistan remark was a response to a voter.

Uh.... oh, I get it! We, the voters, have no right to ask questions of our presidential candidates when they gratuitously use us for a photo op, and if we do manage to get a question in, no one has a right to actually take seriously the answers they give us. As we've all said so many times in regards to Palin, it would be hysterically funny if it wasn't so damn terrifying:

Gov. Sarah Palin said Monday that her comment about attacking terrorist targets in Pakistan, which appeared to contradict the position of GOP presidential nominee John McCain, was a response to a "gotcha" question from a voter.

"This was a voter, a constituent, hollering out a question from across an area asking, 'What are you gonna do about Pakistan? You better have an answer to Pakistan.' I said we're gonna do what we have to do to protect the United States of America," Palin told the "CBS Evening News" in an interview about her exchange with a voter Saturday at a Philadelphia restaurant.

And, finally, the AP lede this morning on the implications of the bailout failure for McCain?

Republican John McCain has maneuvered himself into a political dead end and has five weeks to find his way out.

So what do you think about Obama's chances in Nevada? I am very heartened by the voter registration numbers, especially in Clark County. The RCP average has McCain +1.7 in Nevada, but it looks like the last state poll was conducted 9/17-9/21 (which had McCain +1) so there are no new ones to cover the McCain campaign suspension stunt and the Friday debate.

What else is on your mind this morning? Oh, one last thing - if you want to help shape reaction to the VP debate on Thursday, register at Media Curves to take part in their audience testing.

Originally posted to Kula2316 on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 01:41 AM PDT.

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