A REAL CONTEST

Franken in the driver's seat?

Chris Cilizza of the Washington Post's The Fix notes the change in momentum in Minnesota's Senate race.

"7. Minnesota (R): The last 14 days have not been kind to Sen. Norm Coleman. Just when it looked like he was building a small but significant edge over comedian Al Franken (D), the economic crisis hit -- bringing the race back to dead even. And now Coleman is caught up in allegations over whether or not he accepted suits from a contributor -- a controversy that caused, perhaps, the most awkward press conference in the history of politics earlier this week. Independent candidate Dean Barkley remains the x-factor in the contest; he is gaining support by the day but who does his rise hurt more? (Previous ranking: 7)"

DEBATING BILL AYERS

How important is he to the race?

Booman at the Booman Tribune claims that John McCain is all hat and no cattle.

You go around telling anyone that will listen that you are going to 'take the gloves off' and hand Obama's head to him in the debate, but when the time comes you don't even ask him for his lunch money? Everywhere in the world that is known as talking big and punking out. ... All this manly posturing by John McCain is disgraceful. He can't back any of it up. He can't even look his opponent in the eye. Barack Obama never posed with all that macho stuff. The economy is going to hell, and John McCain wants to talk about William Ayers. Just not to Barack Obama's face.

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Jay Nordlinger of the Corner thinks Ayers must be addressed now.

After November 4, it will be too late. Isn't now the time to talk about it, discuss it, air it? Let Obama address it? What are campaigns for?

And where's the media's love of "vetting" (a word we heard a lot in early Palin days)? It could be that Obama's past radicalism, or tolerance of radicalism, has nothing to do with his present self. It could be that he has come a long way. I am ever mindful that about half of NR's founding editors and writers were ex-Communists. But the thing is, they were really ex: and they were leading anti-Communists. To change one's mind can be glorious. But where is Obama now?

COMPILED BY TIM O'BRIEN