Why Politico, why?

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

We've already noted how dopey we think Politico's daily tabulation is of which candidate "won" each day. We think it's dopey because it seems to be such an obviously bad, forced idea to declare at dinner time every night who "won" that day.

It's a bad idea because most days on the campaign trail are not won or lost. But journalists obsessed with the horse race are determined to pretend that each day a victor emerges. (Why stop a daily winners? Why not announce which candidate won each passing hour?)

Instead, we'd guess that between September 1, and November 4, there will probably end up being just five or six truly important, momentum-changing days on the trail. (We're thinking of the afternoon McCain "suspended" his campaign as an example.) As for the other 50+, they'll end up looking pretty much just like each other, with no winners or losers.

Nonetheless, Politico persists with its manic who's-up-who's-down approach (i.e. insert manufactured drama here) and pretends to be able to pick the winners and losers. So let's take a look at how the tea leaf-readers at Politico arbitrarily decided that McCain had "won" Tuesday.

According to Politico, the Republican ticket won because (and this was the only proof presented) Sarah Palin picked up a comment Joe Biden made over the weekend about how he and Barack Obama would be tested with an "international crisis" within six months of taking office. Palin ridiculed Biden during her stump speech.

Politico conceded the Biden comments did not constitute a gaffe and that put in context they were "pretty tame." And yes, Politico mentioned that on Tuesday new polling data from Pew Research showed Obama up 14 among likely voters.

But because Palin made a passing reference to to the "crisis" comment in a speech, that meant Republican "won" the day.

Did we mention this exercises is dopey?

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