Writing in the new issue of Newsweek magazine, Karl Rove says McCain can still win this race, but he has to go on the attack against a flawed candidate in Barack Obama.
McCain and Sarah Palin face an uphill battle, but they still have time to turn this race around, Rove writes.
"Economic woes, war and the natural desire of Americans to give the other side a chance (after eight years with one party in the White House) should mean a big edge for Obama and Biden," Rove writes. "But the race is tight, no candidate can get above 50 percent for more than a day or two, and it is likely to stay close right to the end."
Despite polls showing Obama pulling ahead, many Americans still have doubts about Obama, Rove says. McCain and Palin have to keep reminding voters about Obama's numerous character flaws and his disastrous policies, Rove says.
From his column:
McCain-Palin must deepen those doubts by pounding away on questions about Obama's character, judgment and values. Drawing on Obama's own record and statements, they need to paint him as a big spender, class warrior and cultural elitist; they need to say he's never worked across party lines or gotten his hands dirty solving big issues. But the duo must also give voters reasons to support them. They must crystallize a positive, forward-looking vision so people who see Obama as unqualified have something to hang on to. It can't be a laundry list of positions. McCain-Palin must offer a narrative about what they will do to help America see better days, especially on kitchen-table concerns.Read the full column at the magazine's Web site.
McCain must launch these themes in the two remaining debates. Knockouts are welcome but unlikely and unnecessary. Introducing a theme and sticking to it day after day worked this past July, when McCain successfully depicted Obama as a celebrity taken with his own press notices. The GOP nominee did it right in the first debate when his assaults were formal and indirect ("Senator Obama has the most liberal voting record …") while Obama was personal and direct ("John, 10 days ago you said …").