Wednesday, March 26, 2008

McCain back on message

After uncomfortably delivering an uncomfortable address on the economy yesterday, John McCain is getting back into his comfort zone -- foreign affairs and the military -- with an address today before the Los Angeles-based World Affairs Council.

It makes such a difference. Where he sounded yesterday like a grumpy grandfather who won't loan you any money to get out of a jam, today he sounded like a thoughtful, learned world leader who is the best candidate to be commander-in-chief.

McCain is at his best when he's talking about national security. With his background, it's not surprising. This speech was effective because it was measured and deeply personal. It was a clear demonstration of why neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama can match him where military issues are concerned.

Actually, it was a good speech for exactly the same reasons Obama's speech on race last week was so effective: Both men spoke from a personal perspective on an issues that they have lived.

The only curious thing about McCain's speech was how -- and why -- he managed to work global warming into the topics covered. It was the "????" moment in an otherwise solid piece.

Incidentally, McCain is running even with Clinton and just slightly ahead of Obama in the latest RealClearPolitics national polls. With the economy in the tank, the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq just passed and President Bush's approval numbers in the low 30s, McCain is holding his own -- and that's good news for his campaign.