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McCain was in New Orleans tonight making his historically laughable "I'm not George W. Bush" speech.
He opened with a relatively transparent play for disaffected Hillary Clinton voters. He said: 1) she didn't get treated with the respect she deserved by the media and the Obama campaign; 2) she is an inspiration to his daughters; 3) he is proud to call her his friend. I wonder if he'll repeat this line on the campaign trail; even if he does, he'll never have a microphone as loud as the one he had tonight.
But none of that is going to undo the fact that McCain is a pretty awful public speaker. His voice is basically a monotone, his pauses are unnatural, and the audience applauds awkwardly. And it's not just his style. Today, his central message was essentially a defensive one — "this is a change election, but there is the right kind of change and the wrong kind of change" — and when that's the case, you're in serious trouble, methinks.
McCain attacked Obama repeatedly today — using the standard conservative attacks on liberals. Senator Obama wants to take your money and let the government decide how to run your lives. My approach trusts in the common sense of the American people. After every attack, McCain stuck a forced grin on his face and said, "That's not change we can believe in." Applause was, as I've mentioned before, awkward.
And before he could finish CNN cut him off to announce that Obama had secured the delegates needed for the Democratic nomination, reinforcing just how much this is Obama's night.
Update: I should have linked to my April blog post on John McCain's miserable record on Hurricane Katrina.