US on course for first black president?
FROM JON SNOW IN WASHINGTON- - -
The $700bn bill is going to go through in one form or another and the markets will jump with joy but the joy won't last long...
It's a hell-uva day news-wise what with the Mandelsonian rescue of Labour one side of the water and this side of the water Biden's performance for Obama and Palin's for McCain and then the amazing drama on Capitol Hill and yet perhaps the real story is only just emerging.
Let's take the financial collapse and the economic downturn. New figures today reveal 159,000 Americans lost their jobs last month alone, the ninth straight month in a row, bringing unemployment to about 6.1 per cent. Around 9.5 million Americans are now out of work and what's hurting the working American is destroying the McCain campaign.
Watch a brief history of the credit crunch here.
US ON COURSE FOR FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT?
This country looks increasingly like it is on course for its first black president and it is hard to see how, in the remaining 32 days that can change.
McCain has just abandoned his campaign in Michigan. Obama now has a seven-point lead there, with 17 electoral votes written off for the Republicans.
In Ohio and Nevada, both critical swing states, Obama is now sporting significant leads. In Ohio it's 2 per cent; in Colorado it's 4.4 per cent; he even has a 3 per cent lead in once un-winnable Florida.
These are the daily tracking polls, add significant leads in states like New Mexico, and a surging 5 per cent in Minnesota and this is Barack Obama's "change you can believe in".
OK so I have stuck my neck out...but the way it looks at the end of this devastating two-week period (and that's not the end of the matter) is that the crisis may have tipped it the Democracts way.
BIDEN AND PALIN SPAR IN DEBATE
Tonight we'll be reflecting that and reflecting on the vote in the house on the great bailout bill. It's almost certainly going to pass as I said and in our time, so quite a programme in prospect, not to mention the amazing Biden-Palin debate.
I witnessed the first man/woman debate between Bush senior and Geraldine Ferraro in 1984. She won that then.
Last night Palin won too, so did Biden. She did what she had to do to stay alive and not drown the McCain ticket. If he sinks now he'll take himself down. She remains an icon for the right after last night. It was almost like something out of Come Dancing....
Yet despite being asked to do the foxtrot she persuaded with her samba instead, a dozen times simply avoiding the question and retreating to her strengths. Biden took the fight to McCain as Obama never has, Bushed him endlessly, for Biden a brilliant and ticket enhancing performance.
Watch Sarah Palin and Joe Biden's TV clash: here.
This is a week in which American and world history is being made, not to mention British political history too, a week when for a journalist it's a joy to be alive. Watch tonight, you won't regret it, at seven on four, Jon.
We Brits LOVE Jon Snow!
P.S. Afterthought, an hour later: If I had to vote, I would base my decision on what the Democrats have done and said over Iraq, Darfur and Israel - ever since the time that Senator John Kerry started his race for the White House. I admire Hilary Clinton but her husband bombed Sudan and recently she said something really shocking about her intentions to wipe Iran off the map if it attacked Israel. It seems to me that the Democrats go with the tide and are easily swayed by minority groups who shout the loudest. They appear willing to do or say anything to get into the White House but one can never be sure of how well they would handle foreign affairs after they got in. I believe that George W Bush and his family are warm, kind, decent, honest, hardworking people who want the best for America, and that history will judge them (and Tony Blair) kindly. For all of those reasons, even though I am a Blairite and would not vote for the Liberals or Conservatives here in Britain, I would vote for the American Republicans.