Jackie Gingrich Cushman
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SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- A lot has changed over these past two weeks in the presidential campaign.  Labor Day has passed, vice presidential candidates have been picked and both conventions have been held.  Senator Obama and Senator McCain have won their party’s nomination marathon, testing their endurance and strategy.

With a little less than two months left in the presidential race, it is time for the middle-distance race.  Middle distance combines endurance, speed, strategy and tactics. In a footrace, it’s often thought to be the hardest race because it requires aerobic and anaerobic training, i.e., you have to endure, and be fast. 

The final sprint to the finish will begin about two weeks prior to election day.

The selection of vice presidential running mates created a stir and provided insight into their middle-distance strategy.  Obama added experience and national security knowledge with the selection of Senator Biden.  For those who are not familiar with the Senate, it was created to slow down the process of lawmaking and ensure reflection and deliberation.  The Senate is known as an august body that moves slow and talks a lot, and anyone who has listened to Biden knows that he fits right in.

McCain added youth and executive experience to the GOP ticket with his unexpected selection of 44 year-old Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska whom McCain called his “soulmate” and fellow reformer.  This selection also turned up the volume on the presidential race and promises to make it much more interesting.

Whatever the outcome in November, the increased interest from the American people will be good for our country.  The question that each and every voter will have to decide is which candidate will be the best president of our country.

Palin’s speech at the Republican convention was much anticipated, and the McCain campaign had a lot riding on her performance.  Not only did she deliver, but as I heard one viewer note, “She knocked it out of the park.”

My favorite moment of the convention? After reading signs being held up in front of her by adoring hockey moms, Palin ad-libbed, professing her love for Hockey moms and noting people say “the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?  Lipstick.”

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Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.