October Surprise Update: What McCain May Be Planning

... and what Obama can do about it.
Political horse-race fans are focusing on Obama's 11-point lead in the new Newsweek poll. But I'm focusing on the 10-point lead McCain has on national security and terrorism -- the only remaining issue voters believe the Republican candidate would be more adept at handling.

As the one arrow left in McCain's quiver-- other than appealing to racists -- national security becomes the likeliest playing field for that GOP fall tradition, the October Surprise.

Last week, desperate to "turn the page" on the economy, the McCain campaign flipped over to the tie-Obama-to-Bill-Ayers section of the scorched earth playbook. It helped unleash some of the darkest demons in the electoral psyche, but it didn't move the needle (except on McCain's unfavorables, which hit a new high).

So what might be the final weeks' bombshell? Here is Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press:
"There are some people in the Obama campaign who believe that there's a concerted effort under way to get Osama bin Laden before Election Day and bring him out of captivity, dead or alive, in some fashion."

They've tried and -- other than on some misprinted ballots in New York -- failed to turn Obama into Osama. (The latest attempt came from the chair of Virginia's Republican Party, who said Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden "both have friends that have bombed the Pentagon" -- a comment McCain refused to disavow, although his campaign already had.)

Of course, capturing Osama just before the election has been an October GOP dream in 2002, 2004, 2006, and now 2008.
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