Mind the 'If' Vs. 'When' I'm Prez

Seeming presumptuous turns off voters
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Oct 28, 2008 9:38 AM CDT
John McCain waves with his wife Cindy on stage during a campaign rally in Pottsville, Pa., Monday, Oct. 27, 2008.   (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
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(Newser) – Both presidential candidates try to stay humble about their chances, writes Mark Leibovich in the New York Times. They always say, “If I’m president,” even if supporters sometimes respond, “When!” Barack Obama, leading in the polls, has to take extra care not to seem presumptuous, as John McCain regularly accuses the Democrat of prematurely “measuring the drapes.”

Both campaigns have an interest in keeping their supporters anxious. If Obama voters and volunteers get complacent, they may not bother to show up. And if it looks hopeless for McCain, his backers may just give up. When his supporters corrected his “If” with a “When,” Obama replied, “No, no, no. I’m superstitious. I don’t like counting those chickens before they’re hatched.”