(1) The Sunday Times (UK) has a longish article on McCain's belated effort to tone down his campaign's viciousness: McCain tussles with Palin over whipping up a mob mentality. Here's the lede:
With his electoral prospects fading by the day, Senator John McCain has fallen out with his vice-presidential running mate about the direction of his White House campaign. McCain has become alarmed about the fury unleashed by Sarah Palin, the moose-hunting “pitbull in lipstick”, against Senator Barack Obama. Cries of “terrorist” and “kill him” have accompanied the tirades by the governor of Alaska against the Democratic nominee at Republican rallies. Mark Salter, McCain’s long-serving chief of staff, is understood to have told campaign insiders that he would prefer his boss, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, to suffer an “honourable defeat” rather than conduct a campaign that would be out of character – and likely to lose him the election.The article suggests that Palin doesn't care about the damage she's doing to McCain since she's positioning herself for the future. It quotes a former McCain campain advisor as saying the attacks do not do anything to persuade undecided voters: "please find me a swing voter, an undecided independent, or a torn female voter that finds an angry mob mentality attractive."
(2) In an opinion piece in the New York Times, Frank Rich rips into Palin not just for outrageous attacks but for failure to distance herself from inflammatory threats made by her supporters (The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama).
(3) Henry Farrell has updated the blog post I cited on rumors the RNC will be redirecting some of its advertising from the presidential contest to senatorial races: Horserace addendum. He gives some additional evidence why, as he puts it, "the Republican money people are trying to figure out who to chuck out of the lifeboat before it breaches."
(4) Not surprisingly, the polls are showing growing strength for the Democrats in general and Obama in particular. One report of the Washington Post-ABC News poll -- released today -- says "Registered voters, by 59 to 35 percent, now say McCain is more focused on attacking his opponent rather than addressing the issues. That's grown from a 48 to 45 percent split on this question in late August. Voters, by 68 to 26 percent, say Obama is mainly addressing the issues."