News Release: Politics

Sep. 2,  2008

Challenges and Opportunities for McCain

The Republican National Convention – back on track after Hurricane Gustav and revelations about the personal family life of vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin – provides an essential opportunity for the McCain campaign to make its case to the American public, says Emory University political scientist Merle Black.       

"Palin's first impression in Ohio was terrific. She has definitely brought a lot of energy to the campaign," Black says. The disclosures about Palin's family issues "seem to have produced a rallying of the conservative base around her," he says.  However, "these revelations have hurt her and McCain among independents and Democrats."

Wednesday and Thursday will be make-or-break-nights for Gov. Palin and Sen. John McCain: "They both need to have really strong speeches," says Black. "Palin is now under great pressure to show strong leadership, to take a beating and keep on trucking.  That is part of McCain's appeal as well, and if they can display that strength, they will make a good impression on Republicans and independent voters."

Black, Emory's Asa G. Candler Professor of Politics and Government, is a renowned expert on national politics and the foremost authority on politics in the South. One the nation's most incisive commentators, Black is coauthor of “Divided America: The Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics.” The groundbreaking work details, for the first time, the country's distinct regional differences to assess the driving forces of partisanship in national politics. Reach him at 404-727-6570 or


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