COMMENTS: Campaign Features

Each of the networks rounded out Campaign '08 coverage with a feature. ABC is working with USA Today to look at 50 States in 50 Days. The Commonwealth of Virginia was John Berman's focus this time: he contrasted Barack Obama's 43 field offices concentrating on person-to-person canvassing and backyard barbecues with John McCain's focus on banks of data-collecting telephones.

On CBS, anchor Katie Couric went on the road with the Democrats' Vice-Presidential nominee in Ohio, the "freewheelin'" Joe Biden. "Have you found you have to be ubercareful and disciplined?" "No. I feel passionately about what I am doing and saying…and if I have to go parse through every single thing that I am going to say then I am not me." A couple of cases in point--he imagined a time-traveling Franklin Roosevelt addressing the nation on television and he criticized his own campaign for its ad teasing the computer-illiterate McCain. "I thought that was terrible," he asserted. "If I had anything to do with it we would never have done it and I do not think Barack…" and then his soundbite trailed off because he realized the ad contained that I Approved This Message tagline that was about to catch him in a lie.

NBC's issues series Where They Stand was a straightforward task for CNBC's Carl Quintanilla. The tax policies of the two candidates are clearly different. A middle class family would get three times as big a tax cut under Obama's platform than under McCain's--$1100 annually as opposed to $325. A rich family would get a $50,000 tax cut under McCain and a $94,000 hike under Obama.


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