Back to the Battlegrounds

By Samantha HayesSt. Louis, MO

As far as the Vice Presidential debate goes, it was exciting while it lasted. The cameras have turned from the debate hall in St. Louis back to the bailout on capitol hill.

In politics, the story line can change quickly, and the question of who won or lost the debate will literally be yesterday’s news when the House of Representatives votes on an economic rescue package today. For the Vice Presidential candidates, their time in the spotlight is limited anyway. There was an unprecedented and impressive build up to Thursday’s debate. But observers say no major mistakes were made by either Gov. Sarah Palin or Sen. Joe Biden, a feat their respective campaigns would no doubt like to see continue in the last few weeks before election day.

After the debate, Joe Biden flew to Delaware to speak at the deployment ceremony for his son’s National Guard unit.  Sarah Palin was off to Texas for fundraisers today and a meeting with Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens.  So in many ways, maybe the VP candidates have done their jobs.  Observers say they brought excitement to the conventions, hit the campaign trail, and argued the case for their ticket in the debate.

The running mates won’t disappear, but it’s really up to John McCain and Barack Obama to seal the deal with voters.  Their next big chance is coming Tuesday in the second Presidential debate in Nashville.  The format will be different than either of the last two debates. This time, the setting will feel like a town hall meeting, with questions coming from both the moderator and people in the audience on both domestic and foreign issues. If I had to guess, the first topic of discussion will probably once again be the economy.  The jobs report out today shows a ninth straight month of falling employment, a loss of 159,000 jobs in September.  That’s the largest monthly drop in five  years.

In the Presidential election, news like that has started to affect the strategy of John McCain’s campaign heading into the final weeks. In Michigan, a swing state hit hard by job losses, polling has indicated that Obama has a strong lead, and a senior adviser to McCain confirmed Thursday that the campaign is pulling resources out of the state to concentrate on other fronts, including Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Back to the battlegrounds.

Samantha Hayes is a national correspondent for CNN Newsource based in Washington, D.C. She contributes political stories to KSAT-12. You can learn more about her here.

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