Open to Debate

The best way for Obama to defend against the McCain campaign's attacks is to start a real conversation

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John McCain TV ad: "Celeb"

Over the past month, a foolish narrative has been abroad in the land: that this election is going to be a "referendum" on Barack Obama. This is not uncommon in presidential politics--John Kerry's consultants fantasized that the 2004 election was going to be a referendum on George W. Bush--but it is usually peddled by weak campaigns that want to avoid dealing with their own candidate's deficiencies. Presidential elections are never referendums. They are, ultimately, a choice. Two candidates stand on a stage in debate: they talk; you decide.

Quite often, though strangely not in Kerry's case, the referendum gambit is a...

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