CNBC: The MSNBC Business Channel

07 October 2008

John Harwood Delivers Glum Assessment Of McCain's Prospects


Is John Harwood a graduate of the Olbermann School Of Broadcasting? During a political news update this morning on CNBC, the network political correspondent was adamant that John McCain's presidential prospects had all but vanished.

Citing poll data that has Obama taking a runaway lead, Harwood played the role of grim reaper for the McCain campaign. Oddly enough, CNBC doesn't appear to have posted the story, it's at MSNBC's site and is written by Mark Murray:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Fueled in part by the candidates' responses to the current economic crisis — as well as their performances at the first debates — Barack Obama has increased his national lead over John McCain, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Obama is ahead of McCain by six points, 49-43 percent, which equals his biggest lead in this poll. Two weeks ago, the Democratic nominee held a two-point advantage over his Republican counterpart, 48-46 percent.

"Over the past couple of weeks, McCain has absorbed a very tough, one-two punch," says Republican pollster Neil Newhouse, who conducted this survey with Democrat Peter D. Hart. "First, the financial crisis... Second, the debates. These two things have clearly led to a momentum shift in this campaign, where Obama has slowly started to [increase] his lead."

With fewer than 30 days until Election Day, Hart adds, "I think John McCain finds himself in a hole no candidate wants to be in" — behind.

After delivering this gloomy assessment of McCain's supposedly hopeless campaign, Harwood found himself challenged by CNBC's Mark Haines, who wondered out loud what exactly it was that made Obama so strong on the economy.

How do we know that Wall Street's meltdown will hit McCain? The public is still in shock and there are many feelings yet to be sorted out. Yet NBC would have its viewers believe the race is already over.

By the way, CNBC's coverage of the presidential contest seems particularly important when one considers the idea that Wall Street is spooked by the thought of Obama winning the race. Could this be contributing to the stunning series of sell-offs we've seen to date?

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