Dayton Game: McCain Retakes Spotlight After Obama's Big Night

(Was this the bump? Per the New York Post write-up: "Gallup released a survey yesterday showing Obama on top of McCain by 48 percent to 42 percent, based on interviews with voters during the first three days of the convention.")

Defining the meaning for the GOP: "The speech itself lacked lift but had heft. It wasn't precisely long on hope, but I think it showed audacity. In fact, by the end of the speech I thought it was quite a gamble," Peggy Noonan writes in her Wall Street Journal column.

"I have a feeling this speech will be like the Europe trip. It will take time for people to let it sink in, and decide what they think," she writes. "And I'll tell you, Mr. Obama left a lot of space for Mr. McCain to play the happy warrior next week. He left the Republicans a big opportunity to wield against him, in contrast, humor, and wit, and even something approximating joy."

Fodder from a former president (not this one, this time): "Former president Jimmy Carter called Republican presidential candidate John McCain a 'distinguished naval officer,' but he said the Arizona senator has been 'milking every possible drop of advantage' from his time served as a prisoner of war in Vietnam," per USA Today's Alan Gomez.

What does he get for a successful convention? A savvy bit of timing means -- probably not that much.

"The Republicans are hoping to change the tenor of the debate after a week focused on Democratic unity," Laura Meckler and Elizabeth Holmes write in The Wall Street Journal. "In the meantime, Democrats are aiming to draw attention to Sen. McCain's age by 'celebrating' his 72nd birthday. There will be parties on Friday and Saturday in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Local officials plan to deliver birthday cakes to the events, complete with 72 candles and lettering that reads 'Another Year of More of the Same.' "

(Will Sen. Harry Reid help him blow out the candles?).

"When John McCain rolls into Dayton, Ohio, Friday to rally with his newly minted running mate, local Democratic activists will be on hand to wish him a happy birthday -- a happy 72d birthday," Todd Gillman writes for The Dallas Morning News.

Surely it's one of the big three left standing? And what if the guessing game was the game all along?

"The mere suggestion that the name of the nominee might leak before or during Mr. Obama's acceptance speech last night had top strategists playing defense during the day, firing off charges at any number of the possible selections," Stephen Dinan writes in the Washington Times. "The guessing game also kept the cable television networks busy, taking away from time that otherwise would have been devoted to covering Mr. Obama's speech before 75,000 spectators in Denver."

Might it be a storm -- rather than a revolt -- that knocks the GOP off-course? (And McCain thought it was hard to get out on an oil rig . . . )

"Republican officials said yesterday that they are considering delaying the start of the GOP convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul because of Tropical Storm Gustav, which is on track to hit the Gulf Coast, and possibly New Orleans, as a full-force hurricane early next week," Dan Eggen and Michael Shear report. "The threat is serious enough that White House officials are also debating whether President Bush should cancel his scheduled convention appearance on Monday."

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