The Note: Return of the Empire

Flawed outlier, said Team McCain, pointing out that other recent polls peg the lead rather consistently in the range of six. "The memo is about much more than just one outlier (or, if you include Newsweek last weekend, two)," Politico's Jonathan Martin writes. "The McCain camp, putting onĀ their psychology hat, is trying to ease [anxieties] and calm fears among party elites and activists that Obama is developing a lead so significant that it can't be overcome."

Right on cue -- it's 45-45 in the Gallup daily tracking poll.

McCain is still talking energy policy -- and still choosing odd venues for it. "After fending off ocean drilling critics in California, Republican John McCain on Wednesday bucked opponents of a Nevada nuclear waste repository as he outlined ways to resolve the nation's energy crisis while seeking votes in another swing state," per the AP's Glen Johnson.

Team McCain has found a consistent message on energy: It's Obama as "Dr. No."

But citing a Bond villain from a film that hit theaters back when Obama was in diapers may not be the best way to relate to the younger set.

"A late comeback, and one that tens of millions of Americans who have no memory of the Carter presidency might find as evocative as a Grover Cleveland joke," ABC's Jake Tapper writes.

And give the bad doctor his due: "In his own way, Dr. No was something of a pioneer in nuclear energy," Noam Levey writes in the Los Angeles Times. "Before Bond disrupted his plans, Dr. No was building a reactor on an isolated island off Jamaica as part of his scheme to redirect U.S. rocket launches from nearby Cape Canaveral, Fla."

How long will this last? "Since effectively capturing the Republican nomination when Mitt Romney dropped out of the race on February 7, John McCain has held just one public campaign event on a weekend," Politico's Jonathan Martin reports. "Instead, after workweeks full of fundraisers, town hall meetings and interviews, McCain has been, in campaign parlance, 'down' on nearly every Saturday or Sunday for 20 weeks, largely sequestered away from the news media."

The Sked:

Before he hits the Mayflower, Obama wraps up his economic tour in Pittsburgh Thursday morning. At the event, retired general Jim Jones jumps off the Straight Talk Express long enough to join some big names (including Eli Broad, Steve Case, Federico Pena, Andy Stern, and Rick Wagoner) to talk economic competitiveness at Carnegie Mellon University.

Michelle Obama campaigns in Manchester, N.H., on Thursday, in advance of the unity event in Unity on Friday.

The AFL-CIO will make its endorsement on Thursday (and if McCain is chosen over Obama, we'll eat this Website).

From the Obama campaign: "Also today, the campaign will announce that more than 3,000 Unite for Change events have been organized for [Friday]. Unite for Change house meetings will bring together voters who supported Democratic candidates in the primary -- as well asĀ independents and Republicans who are ready to turn the page on the failed policies of the past and commit to taking action this year."

McCain is in Cincinnati, for a noon ET town-hall meeting and an evening fundraiser; at both events, he's scheduled to be alongside (veepstakes alert!) former congressman Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

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