LIGHTNING ROUND: MI CASAS, SU CASAS.

  • Barring an game-changing text message coursing through our cell phones, the biggest news today is the renewed populist vigor being displayed by Barack Obama, spurned by John McCain's inability to recall how many homes he owns. Tim has the video of the rapid response ad Obama released to paint McCain as out-of-touch, and the McCain campaign's weak response can be found here (but McCain was a POW!). See also Greg Sargent on the unfortunate timing of McCain's second beach condo purchase and Noam Scheiber's story on how the wealth of Cindy McCain (nee Hensley) made it all possible.
  • Barack Obama outspent McCain in July, $55 to $32 million, with Obama spending nearly twice as much on advertising as the Republican, and $2.2 million, over twice as much, on staff payroll.
  • The presidential debate schedules have been finalized, with both campaigns signing off in a joint statement. See also Dana on the lack -- or rather concentration -- of diversity amongst the moderators.
  • Hillary Clinton has created a "whip team" to police her more unrepentant fans at the Democratic National Convention. I have to say that Clinton's transformation from fierce nomination competitor to good party surrogate (and potential Obama attack dog) ought to keep her on anybody's short VP list.
  • Politico "exclusive:" McCain rejects a one-term pledge. I never quite understood how such a move was supposed to help McCain. Make him more of a maverick in the press' eyes? Take the age issue off the table? I don't think the public is quite that gullible.
  • Jonathan Cohn wants to know why Barack Obama hasn't been pushing harder on the popular issue of health care, and worries that his window of opportunity to blend it into a larger economic pitch is closing fast.
  • Ann says what needs to be said on MSNBC's hiring of Rachel Maddow, but did you know that she has a Ph.D in political science from Oxford? Imagine that -- a pundit who actually knows what she's talking about instead of one who projects, as seems to be de rigueur on cable, the concerns of white male victimhoood.
  • Is it just me, or does this seem like a bad idea: "The presidential candidates will discuss their views on service and civic engagement in a post-9/11 world during prime-time in New York City Sept. 11." Meanwhile, in right-wing fantasyland, independent group American Issues Project will be airing an ad "tying Obama to the former Weather Underground bomber, hints he had something to do with failed 9/11 attacks on the Capitol." Lovely. The Page notes that this will be the largest third-party ad buy this election cycle, and the ad will air in the crucial battleground states of Michigan and Ohio. Even more lovely.
  • More bad news: TPM Muckraker reports that Hans von Spakovsky, voting rights' bete noir, has been hired by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights as a consultant. To paraphrase The Simpsons, sometimes democracy simply doesn't work.
  • Polls: Obama hangs onto a narrow one-point lead in Nevada, 44-43, according to Research 2000, and Minnesota Public Radio and the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute report a ten-point lead in Minnesota, 48-38. Fox News/Opinion Dynamics has new national numbers showing a three-point Obama lead, 42-39, and NPR has an in-depth survey of likely voters in 19 battleground state, profiling the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate.
  • And Finally, Dave Weigel at Reason pens a real head-scratcher about Bob Barr: "With Bob Barr's nomination, the Libertarian Party is threatening to achieve historical relevance." Shouldn't it be historical irrelevance, or is that too obvious?

--Mori Dinauer