LIGHTNING ROUND: THE BELL TOLLS FOR THEE.

  • An increasingly desperate McCain campaign staff has started fighting amongst themselves and spinning outlandish victory scenarios. Steve Schmidt: "The McCain campaign is roughly in the position where Vice President Gore was running against President Bush one week before the election of 2000. We have ground to make up, but we believe we can make it up." The Gore analogy sounds fishy on the surface and here's some evidence it is in case you're inclined to give Schmidt the benefit of the doubt. Also, the McCain temper must run in the family and Randy Scheunemann lets off some steam on Marc Ambinder.
  • The New York Times editorial board has endorsed Barack Obama for president, their thirteenth consecutive Democratic endorsement. Former White House spokesman Scott McClellan endorsed Obama yesterday, as did the granddaughter of Barry Goldwater.
  • The presidential campaigns are getting into some of their heaviest advertising of the season, but Barack Obama still dwarfs John McCain on this front, spending nearly $100 million in the first two weeks of October alone. Meanwhile, Hill PAC is back in business and helping out downticket Democrats, although it isn't clear what the status of Sen. Clinton's outstanding debts from the primaries is.
  • The engaging and charismatic Fred Thompson has cut an ad for John McCain, warning the country that we need solid leadership in a dangerous world. Over at The Corner, K-Lo describes it: "Thompson works his magic to get out the vote." Funny, I thought narcolepsy was a medical, not magical, condition. Lopez also likes this substance-free spot from Laura Ingraham: "SmartPeople4McCain&Palin" (originally edited to read "Intellectuals4McCain&Palin" -- guess they needed to dumb it down a bit). "A movement begins," Lopez writes.
  • In other wingnut news, Jon Swift rounds up the very best of the right-wing blogosphere's Obama conspiracy theories, Fox News' James Pinkerton asks, "Could Lucifer play a role in this presidential election?" and Thomas Sowell warns that electing Barack Obama and the Democrats will mark "the point of no return" from which the United States will degenerate into oblivion.
  • The New York Times Caucus blog comments on the other great story coursing through the conservative blogosphere's veins, that the security settings on Barack Obama's donations website are set irresponsibly low, allowing anyone to donate under any fake name and address they wish. The Obama campaign contends that they do audits after the transaction has been completed, and if fraud is found, the money is refunded. But the issue is whether this is actually evidence of a policy of collecting illegal donations to pad the campaign's coffers. I think not -- the campaign would have to be out there encouraging fake donations and advertising the fact that it is easy to do so. To the contrary, the lax security settings appear to be indicative of a well-intentioned but poorly executed attempt to make it as easy as possible to make a donation. Add all these deliberate or accidental fake contributions up, subtract the refunds, and I'll bet you find a drop in the bucket of an otherwise ethical and sophisticated fundraising machine.
  • Everyone's favorite modern McCarthyist, Michele Bachmann, is showing signs of weakness in two post-"anti-American" polls in Minnesota.
  • Dana has the right take on this business of a McCain campaign volunteer mutilating herself and filing a false police report to make the crime look racially- and politically-based.
  • The Obama campaign has a nifty interactive map that lets you track instances of McCain robocalls in your state.

--Mori Dinauer

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