LIGHTNING ROUND: BARBARIANS AT THE GATES.

  • Barack Obama has formed a National Security Advisory Group made up mostly of Clinton-era appointments.
  • Michelle Obama appeared on The View this morning, earning mostly positive reviews for a uncontroversial performance. The world of potential First Lady polling tells us that Obama has a 48 percent approval rating compared to Cindy McCain's 39 percent, but more Americans have heard negative coverage of Obama than negative coverage of McCain.
  • A new Quinnipac poll has Barack Obama up over John McCain in Florida (47-43), Ohio (48-42) and Pennsylvania (52-40). Similarly, a Public Policy Polling survey [PDF] has Obama ahead 47-45 in Virginia. This "Obama bounce" essentially puts McCain on the defensive in all of his "must-win" states. McCain, however, still predictably trounces Obama amongst white evangelicals.
  • The Obama campaign and Democrats hit back hard against Rudy Giuliani's lecture on foreign policy from yesterday. Meanwhile, Greg Sargent reminds us of Giuliani's insistence in wake of the the 1993 WTC bombing that law enforcement was more effective than violence against terrorists, andthat even John McCain questioned Giuliani's foreign policy experience last fall.
  • Delicate flowers: former Bush hack Michael Gerson pens a column in the Washington Post describing Al Franken as nothing less than a "vulgar" barbarian at the gates of decent civilization. Fortunately, Jason Zengerle reminds us that Gerson's former boss is just about the most vulgar politician on the planet.
  • Christopher Beam has an informal list of rumors the Obama campaign should not try to squash.
  • The politics of oil drilling are heating up, but the facts remain pretty clear that little, if any, immediate benefit would flow from such a policy that McCain and president Bush have embraced in order to attack Democrats. Even McCain's economic adviser has admitted as much. This hasn't prevented Larry Kudlow at National Review from remarking that "McCain's drilling flip-flop is a good first step" because "When circumstances change, political leaders should change their policies."
  • Jon Chait has a good, short piece in TNR that locates Joe Lieberman not, as he insists, in the tradition of liberal internationalism but rather in the "rollback" policies of the Cold War-era right wing.
  • Noam Scheiber claims to have a "slam dunk" case for Tim Pawlenty as McCain's VP. In other veepstakes news, ABC News discovers that McCain and LA Governor Bobby Jindal has conflicting opinions on Katrina funding.

--Mori Dinauer

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