From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Barack Obama’s calmly assured response to the economic crisis and solid debate performance have bolstered the view among voters that he is ready to be chief executive, a crucial threshold he needs to cross to win the presidency.
The improved standing for Obama, a candidate still not well-known, was captured by polling this weekend, in interviews with Democrats and Republicans and by the response of his rival, John McCain, who intensified his criticism that the young senator lacks the experience and judgment to lead the nation.
‘‘A vote for Senator Obama will leave this country at risk,’’ McCain told a rally in Columbus, Ohio, ratcheting up the criticism in a speech that acknowledged his likeliest path to the White House is casting his Democratic rival as unacceptable. McCain said the choice voters face is: ‘‘Country first or Obama first?’’
Obama countered that McCain is the one who ‘‘doesn’t get it’’ and likened his GOP rival to ‘‘a bet we can’t afford.’’
Aligning McCain with the unpopular President Bush on the economy, Obama said: ‘‘The greatest risk in this election is to repeat the same mistakes of the past. We can’t take a chance on the same losing game.’’
McCain lags in recent polls that also show Obama gaining some ground in overcoming his candidacy’s biggest hurdle — convincing skeptics who have trouble seeing the 47-year-old freshman senator, vying to be the first black president, in the White House.