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Flipping the ticket

Justin Webb | 03:49 UK time, Thursday, 9 October 2008

STRONGSVILLE, OHIO: Exclusive: the ticket has already flipped. There was some loose talk recently about Palin McCain replacing McCain Palin but here in Strongsville, Ohio the (very large and very enthusiastic) crowds out to see the two of them were only really interested in one of them. They chant her name in the hall but more importantly outside - when asked what it is about the Republican case that gets them going this year - almost everyone mentions her.

She is, it seems to me, doing the party great good and great harm at the same time. The Republicans could not hope to win without the backing of the people I watched lining up in British style weather behind the Target car park. And yet the Palin world-view - essentially ignorant, unable to name a single paper read - is not the view that a nation facing an economic catastrophe, complex and international and baffling to most minds, is likely to choose.

But having lost - if that is what happens - what then? Does Palin become the future? This is what David Brooks is getting at in a warning that will come to haunt the Republicans, who have after all been the party of ideas for most of the last 30 years. To hear Palin screeching on about Reagan must be painful to many Republicans who knew him. Reagan knew what papers he read.

But will they lose? Not necessarily and Dan's Balz's piece sets out why not - Sarah Palin again. McCain is currently adrift in Ohio (where Balz and I were today) by about four percentage points. FOUR! Same in some other of the key states. This is not locked up.

As for the debates - everyone hates them. Inside the Beltway and out.

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