Mark Halperin’s three things to watch for in presidential politics for Friday, August 1:
1) Take note of the dynamics between John McCain and Barack Obama today. Things have gotten very negative on the campaign trail in the last 48 hours. McCain has defended his campaign manager’s accusation that the Obama team played “the race card” in some of his recent comments. On the other side of the aisle, the Obama camp penned a fundraising letter decrying the McCain “celeb” ad as a “desperate new set of attacks.” Watch to see if the “celebrity” attack on Obama and the issue of race continue to be factors on Friday. Also, watch closely to see which campaign feels like it’s getting the upper hand at this very key moment in the campaign.
2) Keep an eye on both candidates making stops in Florida today. The Sunshine State is one John McCain must win in order to get to the White House, but some recent polling data suggests Obama is doing well there. Pay attention to how both candidates come across in local media interviews in the Sunshine State on Friday.
3) As we head into the weekend, watch to see how the media deals with the race. Take note of whether the campaign is painted as competitive, or whether the media sees Obama with a commanding lead. Also, be mindful of McCain’s current tactics and whether they’re deemed effective rather than desperate and perhaps risky. Today’s coverage can have a major effect on the Sunday shows, and how the race is discussed into next week.