More roads back for McCain are looking like they're blocked off (and Powell wasn't speaking just for himself): "Likely voters overwhelmingly reject his effort to make an issue of Barack Obama's association with 1960s radical William Ayers," ABC Polling Director Gary Langer writes. "Fallout continues from McCain's pick of Sarah Palin for vice president, with 52 percent saying it weakens their confidence in his judgment. And on optimism, it's Obama by 2-1."
Among independents, in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll: "They see Obama as more optimistic by 57-31 percent and as better-suited temperamentally by 52-36 percent. The Palin pick makes them less rather than more confident in McCain's judgment by 51-39 percent, while the Biden selection makes them more rather than less confident in Obama by 50-33 percent."
Endorsements don't move votes, except: "Powell's endorsement may be unusual in that it both crosses the partisan aisle and comes from a particularly well-liked quasi-political figure -- one, as a bonus, who's steeped in the military experience Obama lacks," per ABC's John Berman, Jake Tapper, Tahman Bradley, and Arnab Datta.
The Powell endorsement "eliminated the experience argument," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" Sunday.
"Powell is a brand unto himself in American politics, and clearly transcends the media's tendency to hype endorsements more than their actual importance to voters," Time's Mark Halperin writes. "However, the indisputable benefit that Powell brings Obama is that the former Secretary of State and general is sure to block out any chance McCain has of winning the next two or three days of news coverage, as the media swoons over the implications of the choice. It is simple political math: McCain has 15 days to close a substantial gap, and he will now lose at least one fifth of his total remaining time."
The cruelest cut: "He also made clear his belief -- despite McCain's 'I'm not President Bush' disclaimer at last week's debate -- that a McCain presidency would be an unwelcome policy rerun of the discredited Bush-Cheney years," Thomas M. DeFrank writes in the New York Daily News.
Powell "massively undercuts Obama's critics and undermines John McCain's selling points about being the maverick and military man the nation needs at this point in history," Lynn Sweet writes in the Chicago Sun-Times.
El Rushbo's take: "I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I'll let you know what I come up with," Rush Limbaugh writes in an e-mail to Politico, per Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin.
"The events Sunday, taken together, dealt another dispiriting setback to Republicans, particularly since Mr. Powell is a longtime friend of Mr. McCain's and even donated to his campaign," Jeff Zeleny writes in The New York Times.
(Speaking of dispiriting . . . "I've had a wonderful life," McCain said on "Fox News Sunday, contemplating the possibility of defeat. "I have to go back and live in Arizona, and be in the United States Senate representing them, and with a wonderful family, and daughters and sons that I'm so proud of, and a -- and a life that's been blessed. I'm the luckiest guy you have ever interviewed and will ever interview. I'm the most fortunate man on earth, and I thank God for it every single day.")