Matt Lewis
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Tina Fey and Sarah Palin (AP Photo)

Having given it more thought, I am now convinced the McCain campaign and Sarah Palin have a golden opportunity on Saturday Night Live.  After all, when you are down in the polls and the game is getting late, you've got to take advantage of every opportunity you can find -- risky, or not.

It was assumed that the final debate this past Wednesday would be the last chance for the campaign to garner the kind of national attention that might result in a "game change."  But with just days left until the election, it appears that is not the case. 

And Saturday night is a chance to continue the positive momentum McCain has gained since the debate (by the way, I now agree with Dick Morris' analysis that -- though not immediately apparent -- the last debate was a turning point for McCain because it ratified "the issues that will dominate the weeks that follow.") 

Frankly, I feel much more positive about McCain's chances today than I did a week ago. Combining the "Joe the Plumber" story with the humorous moments from last night, the last couple of days have been reminiscent of the type of "earned media" campaign that helped John McCain win the GOP nomination -- even after he ran out of money. 

And though John McCain didn't take Bill Kristol's advice and "fire his campaign" -- he does seem to be following Kristol's other advice from that same column:

"... let McCain go back to what he's been good at in the past — running as a cheerful, open and accessible candidate. Palin should follow suit. The two of them are attractive and competent politicians. They're happy warriors and good campaigners. Set them free ... Do town halls, do the Sunday TV shows, do talk radio ..."

... John McCain had a great day yesterday by injecting humor into the campaign.  He was terrific on Letterman -- and out-performed Obama at the Al Smith dinner, as well

By the way, if done correctly, humor works for politicians.  Remember Nixon rehabing his career by doing the rounds on "Laugh-In"?



... Or Bob Dole suddenly becoming funny after he lost?

Luckily, it seems McCain and Palin have been able to show a humorous side before Election Day -- not just after.

The media does love comeback stories, and they do benefit by keeping this race close.  While they will likely stay with Obama, I think there is at least an outside chance we could begin hearing more talk of a McCain comeback (after all, he's done it before).  And this SNL appearance fits perfectly into that narrative.

It seems the media praises John McCain most when he is being humorous.  Here's hoping Palin's Saturday Night appearance is just as funny as McCain's Thursday night appearances.  Personally, I'm still hoping for a Tina Fey, "30 Rock" parody...

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Matt Lewis

Matt Lewis is conservative writer and blogger based in Alexandria, VA.

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