Next up purporting to help McCain is James Dobson, who's planning a radio segment Tuesday that takes it to Obama over biblical interpretation: "I think he's deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology," Dobson plans to say, per an advance audio recording provided to the AP's Eric Gorski. "He is dragging biblical understanding through the gutter."
And the corker quote: Obama is engaging in "a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution," Dobson says. (Is that a term taught in law school or divinity school?)
Then there's Rove, who in a pep talk for some GOP insiders at the Capitol Hill Club Monday morning settled on a quick way to define Obama: "coolly arrogant."
"Even if you never met him, you know this guy," Rove said, per ABC's Christianne Klein. "He's the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by."
ABC's Jake Tapper: "Interesting that Mr. Rove would use a country club metaphor to describe the first major party African-American presidential candidate, whom I'm sure wouldn't be admitted into many country clubs that members of the Capitol Hill Club frequent. But the picture Rove paints is interesting. Who, pray tell, is Rove at this country club?"
Rove said McCain "needs to come right at him" -- and, we suppose, until such time, he has the likes of Rove (if not Charlie Black and James Dobson) to do some of his dirty work for him.
The Obama campaign pushes back at Black with a 10 am ET conference call with 9/11 Commission member Richard Ben-Veniste.
For now, Obama is best positioned partially outside of this haze -- this week is about party unity (in addition to being about energy policy).
ABC's George Stephanopoulos reports that Obama and Clinton chatted by phone Sunday night, the first time they've spoken since meeting at Sen. Dianne Feinstein's house. "Clinton and Obama discussed retiring Clinton's over $10 million in campaign debt, a conversation Democratic sources called 'constructive,' " Stephanopoulos reports.
The site of Friday's first joint campaign appearance was chosen for all the appropriate optics: "The two politicians, who thumped each other throughout a bitter marathon of primary battles, will make their debut in Unity, N.H., Friday as the political odd couple on the campaign trail," Tapper writes. "The location for their stumping ground was selected for its obvious name appeal, but also because New Hampshire will be a key battleground in the fall election. In addition, Obama and Clinton each won 107 votes in Unity during the state's January primary."
"Also under consideration was a possible New Hampshire visit by Michelle Obama on Thursday," "a campaign source" tells the Union Leader's John DiStaso. "The Obama campaign said that former President Bill Clinton will not attend the Unity rally."
"New Hampshire is also the state in which Clinton first demonstrated her strong connection with older, working-class women, a group that Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, is now working hard to attract by lauding Clinton and depicting Obama as inexperienced," Shailagh Murray and Anne Kornblut write in The Washington Post.