Obama's Right to Go Negative

Obama stayed cool during primaries, but this is whole new ball game
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2008 2:24 PM CDT
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., listens to a question from the media aboard his campaign charter jet while in flight back to Chicago, Ill., Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama is going negative on John McCain, something he never did in the primary race against Hillary Clinton. But that doesn’t mean he’s abandoning a winning strategy. The current race is worlds apart from his tête-à-tête with Clinton, Noam Scheiber writes in the New Republic. For one, it’s “easier to go negative on an old white guy.”

In the primaries, Obama had two advantages: his early opposition to the Iraq war, and his “new politics” style. “If Obama had gone negative, he would have ceded one of those two key assets,” Scheiber says. But now, Obama—a popular Democrat with popular policies—can only benefit from linking McCain to the “radioactive” George W. Bush.