With Economic Drama Back Home, Will McCain's Absence Hurt Him?

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Mar 17, 2008 3:24 PM
Everyone -- including me -- thought McCain was wise to head to Iraq during this "down" time.  After all, it's the five-year anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war, so it was fairly safe to assume the media would be focused on that topic. 

And if you are McCain, why not focus on your strengths?  After all, Hillary's 3 am ad seems to have helped defeat Obama in Texas.  Why not begin highlighting the clear experience contrast between the two men, in preparation for a general election?

And while McCain was looking presidential in Iraq, so the theory went, Hillary and Obama would be arguing over race and other petty partisan issues.  This would show a clear contrast between a serious McCain, and the petty bickering of the Democrats.

But then, the Bear Stearns takeover happened.  And all of a sudden, all eyes turned toward the economy.  And while McCain is out-of-pocket reinforcing a political strength, he is also effectively AWOL on a potential political weakness -- the economy. 

Meanwhile, Obama and Hillary are right here in the U.S., talking about economic distress.   All of a sudden, there is danger they may seem in-touch with average people, while he seems out-of-touch (literally and figuratively). 

If the Democratic race were settled, this might be the perfect opportunity for them to begin casting McCain as an out-of-touch hawk who doesn't care about domestic policy.  Then again, he probably wouldn't have left the country if the Democratic race were settled.

This may end up working out okay for McCain -- who has already been very lucky this year.  After a major drop this morning, the market seems to have stabilized a bit this afternoon.  Stay tuned ...