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The Essential Ingredient?

It's an honor to be joining the Townhall blog populated by thinkers and writers I have long admired.  I'll be focusing a lot on cultural issues -- so if readers think there's something that merits coverage or comment, please feel free to email me
here (   I welcome your mail, and will do my best to answer it (I'll certainly read it!).

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With her usual insight, Amanda notes below that John McCain "struck a nerve" with Barack Obama earlier today, quipping about the existence of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Let's hope the McCain campaign took note of the "indignant" reaction.  Judging by my own personal experience, Barack certainly has some good qualities (see this Townhall column).  But it's worth noting that he's likewise extremely thin-skinned, and has plenty of trouble handling criticism graciously (both qualities attributable, no doubt, to his not-insubstantial ego). 
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What McCain did today -- offering a jab that made a serious point, but leavened with a light touch -- is the most effective way to go after Obama.  It forces him onto the defensive without being heavy-handed or nasty, and showcases the peevish and "uptight" side of a candidate who has been successful both in letting other attacks roll off his back and in constructing a political persona that reeks of "coolness." 

Hillary Clinton doesn't do humor well -- so it's been easy for Barack to bat her attacks aside with a laugh or a shrug.  But it's more difficult for him to keep the "hipness" quotient up if he's forced to respond to a quip rather than to a weighty, ham-handed attack.  A deft touch and a bit of humor is always welcome on the campaign trail -- but it may well be an essential ingredient in campaigning against Obama.


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