The Note: Mom vs. Messiah

"Sen. John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate has shaken up the presidential race, lifting enthusiasm among his once-subdued supporters and boosting the ticket's appeal with women, rural voters and Southerners," Laura Meckler writes in The Wall Street Journal. "The survey also had good news for Sen. Obama, showing that he improved his standing with the electorate in areas where he had been seen as weak."

Cautions pollster Peter Hart: "The faster they rise, the steeper the descent."

But that rise says something about Obama's pull (or lack thereof) among female voters: "Frankly, it's because they are conflicted on Obama," Geoff Garin, Hillary Clinton's former chief strategist, tells Time's Karen Tumulty. "They'd like to vote for a Democrat, but they're not sure Obama is the one." (As The One met The Other One?)

Writes Tumulty: "Whether this is merely a blip or a real trend has yet to be determine."

Howard Wolfson says don't panic: "My hope, and expectation, is that Team Obama will remain as disciplined and focused as they have been throughout the campaign's entirety and avoid getting thrown off their game," he writes at his New Republic blog. "It's funny, the same DC wiseguys who confidently predicted a McCain Convention bump ten days ago are now running about waving their arms in the air nervously now that the bump has arrived."

Yet watch the map shrink: "Tightening voter polls, a more competitive money race than originally envisioned and a McCain campaign invigorated by his unconventional vice-presidential pick are prompting a return to the old political map -- and a grudging concession by some Obama campaign operatives that certain states once deemed winnable may be more of a long shot than once thought," Christopher Cooper and Elizabeth Holmes write in The Wall Street Journal.

The truth is there isn't much time for pushback: "More than 30 states allow some form of early voting, forcing the campaigns to deal with a rolling series of Election Days," per The New York Times' Adam Nagourney. "Given the truncated general election season, campaign aides said they were going to have make triage decisions sooner about what states the nominees are actually going to compete in. The ambitious battleground presented by Mr. Obama's aides, of at least 18 states, may soon get whittled down in deference to a calendar that does not leave that many days for campaigning."

Time to fight? "Here's what I've been feeling for a while: Whoever slipped that Valium into Barack Obama's coffee needs to be found and arrested by the Democrats because Obama has gone from cool to cold," Tom Friedman writes in his New York Times column.

"Somebody needs to tell Obama that if he wants the chance to calmly answer the phone at 3 a.m. in the White House, he is going to need to start slamming down some phones at 3 p.m. along the campaign trail," Friedman writes. "I like much of what he has to say, especially about energy, but I don't think people are feeling it in their guts, and I am a big believer that voters don't listen through their ears. They listen through their stomachs."

"There's anxiety developing because of a perceived lack of aggressiveness," Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., an early Obama supporter, tells The Hill's Alexander Bolton.

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