Now that the last scrap of confetti has been swept from the convention floors, Americans know what each major party promises in the presidential campaign.
It's surely a natural line for the Democrats, with Republican George W. Bush's two-term lease on the White House about to expire in a fit of unpopularity. Barack Obama gives the theme an extra twist, suggesting that he'd fashion -- or so he hopes -- a post-partisan Washington, breaking the mold of party-line division and tackling problems that stymie conventional politics.
And John McCain signaled Thursday in St. Paul, Minn., that he refuses to cede the field of change to Democrats. He too is taking change as his mantra.
It's an audacious stroke -- at once trying steal Obama's thunder and distancing the GOP candidate from the economic record of an unpopular president of his own party. And like Obama, McCain would seek to end "partisan rancor."
The thought is appealing. Is it plausible?
Accepting the presidential nomination before a convention still dazzled by Sarah Palin's speech the night before, the former Vietnam War POW and four-term Arizona senator cited a record of reaching across the aisle in Congress. Speakers dubbed McCain a reformer, and a "maverick." He proclaimed that as president he'd work just for "you" -- the public. He also offered the slogan "Country First," as an antidote to "me first" Washington thinking.
Otherwise the proud, wounded warrior -- tortured in a Hanoi prison -- located his policies in a traditional Republican framework. Lower taxes. Smaller government. Strong defense.
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