The Note: Drama Club

(We'll see if it hurts sales.) The campaign put together a response "book" of its own. File this under lessons learned -- and bonus points for realizing that how you appear to be responding can be as important as the response itself.

"It's called 'Unfit for Publication,' but the subtitle could be: 'We Are Not John Kerry's Campaign,' " Politico's Jonathan Martin writes. "In an move that is one part genuine pushback and one part message-sending, Obama's campaign has released a 41-page pdf file designed to rebut accusations made in Jerome Corsi's book, 'The Obama Nation.' "

Is McCain pushing too hard on the Russia-Georgia dispute?

Who's presumptuous now? "With his Democratic opponent on vacation in Hawaii, the senator from Arizona has been doing all he can in recent days to look like President McCain, particularly when it comes to the ongoing international crisis in Georgia," Dan Eggen and Robert Barnes report in The Washington Post.

"The extent of McCain's involvement in the military conflict in Georgia appears remarkable among presidential candidates, who traditionally have kept some distance from unfolding crises out of deference to whoever is occupying the White House," they write. "The episode also follows months of sustained GOP criticism of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, who was accused of acting too presidential for, among other things, briefly adopting a campaign seal and taking a trip abroad that included a huge rally in Berlin."

Maybe it's just the comparison that matters: "For the last several days, Senator Barack Obama has seemed to fade from the scene while on his secluded vacation here, as his opponent, Senator John McCain, has seized nearly every opportunity to display his foreign policy credentials on the dominant issue of the week: the conflict between Russia and Georgia," Michael Falcone writes in The New York Times. "It is as if the candidates' images have been reversed within a matter of a few weeks."

Thursday brought the pics most everyone will see of Obama's vacation (at least he looks graceful).

On Thursday: "McCain for the first time declined to rule out a military intervention, if diplomatic pressure fails," Seema Mehta and Maeve Reston report in the Los Angeles Times. Said McCain: "I really hesitate to talk about a military option at this time because I think that would escalate rather than de-escalate what we want to see achieved here."

McCain brought back an attack line on Iraq Thursday in Aspen, Colo.: "I think he used the issue of Iraq for political reasons to get the nomination of his party," he said, per ABC's Ron Claiborne.

Easy pushback on national security: "Democrat Barack Obama has received nearly six times as much money from troops deployed overseas at the time of their contributions than has Republican John McCain," Luke Rosiak reports for the Center for Responsive Politics. "[T]he fiercely anti-war Ron Paul, though he suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination months ago, has received more than four times McCain's haul."


McCain's "pro-choice" trial balloon is making for good target practice, with former governor Tom Ridge, R-Pa., in conservatives' sites. "For those who have been anxiously awaiting McCain's pick as a signal of his ideological intentions, there was deep concern that their worst fears about the Arizona senator may be realized," Politico's Jonathan Martin writes.

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