I've come to the conclusion that if the election were tomorrow, Barack Obama would cinch it. Clearly, he has taken this campaign to all new heights by continuing to keep John McCain on the defensive. This coupled with the fact that NBC and MSNBC are so tilted towards him (Chris Matthews isn't a journalist. He's color commentator for the Obama campaign every night on MSNBC: The Barack Obama Channel), that there's only one simple solution for Mr. McCain to go from defensive to offensive: NAME YOUR VP NOW.
Think about it. We already know who John McCain is, so why not demonstrate change by never really saying it. By naming your VP now, you'd be breaking from tradition and literally changing all the rules. All the news, including NBC and MSNBC would have no other choice but to focus on you, your maverick idea and your nominee. MSNBC and NBC are so desperate for anything democratic, they're still talking about Hillary when the rest of us (and her) have clearly moved on. I'd give anything to see Mr. Matthews' jaw drop at that one. It might even make him speechless.
All the pressure from right wing conservatives would disappear and you have re-written the rules with one simple stroke.
Here are some more tips:
Whether you care to admit it or not, you're a salesman. We all are, no matter what profession we're in. So sell us. The first rule of selling on television is to speak to one person, not a group of us or ever refer to us as folks. There isn't a crowd of people watching you on TV. Even if there were, you're still talking to one person: ME. Speak to me by looking into the camera and saying, "You". Use "fellow Americans" sparingly, and since obviously you're shy in front of big crowds (sorry, but your economic speech the other night still couldn't hide the fact that you had less than 100 people in the room even though you were careful never to let us see them), turn the negative into a positive (another selling tip on TV). "I'm not into big crowds or grandstanding like my rock star wannabe opponent. I'm more of a one-on-one kind of guy. I speak to you because I care about you and your family.
A lot more eye contact one-on-one to the camera would be a much more beneficial. When you're on camera no matter how many or how few are in your studio audience, WE'RE THE AUDIENCE, not them. Even Barack Obama hasn't figured this one out yet, but trust me, he will.
Never forget to keep me watching. I dozed off 3 times during your last speech. If I'm not watching, I can't hear the message, can I? Barack Obama doesn't do that to me.
Tear apart his plan, piece by piece. Do the same with his voting record. A few jabs about the on again, off again flag pin would be cute.
Finally, and this is VERY IMPORTANT. After ever single line, make sure what you're answering the questions we're all asking you, "Why should I care?" and more specifically, "What does this mean for me?" In the world of selling on TV, we call that features and benefits.
(Feature) "My tax plan means lower taxes"
(Benefit) "That means when I'm elected, you'll have more money to spend at the grocery store."
Even go one step further for the benefit of the benefit:
(Benefit of the Benefit) "More money for gas. More money for the kids and the quality time we all seem to lose sight of when things get too tight."
You get the idea. Take everything one step further, hearing me ask you, "Why should I care?" and "What does this mean for me?"
I feel compelled to help the underdog, especially considering my last party affiliation was republican before registering as an independent and I have a great deal of respect for John McCain. I'm still leery about Barack Obama, and NBC's embarrassing tilt towards his direction doesn't help much either. Anyone catch "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" soon after Mr. Obama's win of the party nomination? Practically the entire show was dedicated to him, and then a few days later, a brief segment was dedicated to John McCain, with the rest available on their website, a navigational nightmare no doubt.
Honestly, Barack Obama is beginning to work for me. His 50-state plan was nothing short of brilliant, even though I'd guess it was just a head fake. Take my advice and the ball, Mr. McCain. You can be the star. It's independents like me who can make or break you and right now I'm openly saying, "Hey, I'm still undecided. Yes YOU CAN!"
P.S. Get your wife to dress you as fabulous as she does for herself. You're looking a bit frumpy. And no, I'm not suggesting wearing a leather blazer.