The Note: Twin Paths

The real way to measure it: "John McCain's campaign expects to leave the Republican National Convention with $200 million in the bank and be able to match the Democrats' spending in the next two months," Bloomberg's Jonathan D. Salant reports. "McCain will depart from the St. Paul, Minnesota, convention with $84.1 million in federal funds and the Republican National Committee will have about $125 million, the campaign aide said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Fundraisers are working to bring in another $80 million to $100 million over the next two months, the aide said."

(In the other direction: "Barack Obama's presidential campaign said it raised $10 million Thursday following the Republican National Convention speech by rival John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin. Obama spokesman Bill Burton said Palin's address, heavily laced with digs at Obama, prompted an outpouring of donations from more than 130,000 donors," per the AP.)

Palin's success "in galvanizing the party's base here this week liberated Sen. McCain to reach beyond those voters to Democrats and independents in his own speech," Gerald F. Seib and Laura Meckler write in The Wall Street Journal.

"Sen. McCain planned to leave St. Paul immediately after the speech with Gov. Palin for a campaign tour that starts in the battleground state of Wisconsin," Seib and Meckler continue. "He does so in better shape than beleaguered Republicans generally, but knowing that to win he has to reach beyond a shrunken Republican base to reach voters from both parties as well as independents. His goal now will be to woo important blocs of working-class males, suburban women, and independents in a handful of key states to win in November."

"Although Republicans appear more excited than ever about his candidacy, McCain could win every one of their votes and still lose the White House," Mark Z. Barabak writes in the Los Angeles Times. "To prevail, McCain needs to appeal to independents and centrist voters and swing a decent number of Democrats his way."

That's it? "Now McCain must save his party," Politico's Roger Simon writes. "Its brand, as he pointed out, has been seriously damaged over the past few years, and if McCain is to win in November, he has to appeal to more than just the social conservatives who have been energized by his selection of Palin as his running mate."

As for the Palin pushback: "The Obama folks . . . seem to have settled on a strategy of downplaying Palin's lack of experience in favor of attacking her bigger claim to fame -- her reputation as a maverick, non-partisan reformer," Time's Jay Newton-Small reports.

They've been here before: "Barack Obama finds himself in the same delicate political situation he faced in the primaries: how to punch back against a hard-hitting female opponent without offending women," Christopher Cooper and Corey Dade write in The Wall Street Journal. "His campaign's emerging strategy is to criticize Sarah Palin's policies but play down the personal criticism, while keeping the focus as much as possible on her running mate, John McCain."

New Palin info: "Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin seems to have switched colleges at least six times in six years, including two stints at the University of Idaho before graduating from there in 1987," per the AP's Nicholas K. Geranios.

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