Expectations game

EXPECTATIONS GAME…. With the Democratic convention poised to begin, the McCain campaign has begun spinning furiously, ratcheting up expectations to a comical level. From a memo released this afternoon:

Obama’s stadium address on Thursday — the 45th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech — will result in effusive and overwhelming press coverage. On Thursday, Obama will give a great speech, as has been his trademark. The press will sing his praises and remark on his historic address and Obama’s place in history. For example, The Associated Press today published an article comparing the historic nature of the addresses — a week before Obama’s speech. This coverage will be impenetrable and will undoubtedly impact the polls.

We believe Obama will see a significant bump, and believe it is reasonable to expect nearly a 15-point bounce out of a convention in this political environment.

First, by hitting media coverage before it happens, the McCain campaign obviously hopes to discourage reporters from noting the fact that Obama’s speech falls on the anniversary of the MLK speech. I suspect this won’t work.

Second, trying to set expectations for an absurd 15-point bounce is overkill. These guys might as well have “predicted” a 70-point bounce — no one seriously believes 15 points is realistic, so the memo comes across as more than a little excessive.

Regardless, don’t miss the Obama campaign’s response: “Presidential races are close, and we expect this one to be no different. But they should figure out how to spin the fact that John McCain owns a dozen houses and thinks the fundamentals of our economy are strong before trying to spin our convention.”

I get the sense Team Obama is starting to take message discipline seriously.