The old pro might not have the best of cards in his hand but he keeps playing them well. John Howard had another fair day on the campaign trail yesterday as he manfully tries to prepare us all for what all the pundits say the Reserve Bank has in store.

There’s something innately attractive about a man who keeps on keeping on when most people think he is getting beaten. And something a little unsettling about the man being acclaimed as an easy winner seemingly tracking his opponent everywhere. To my eye the pictures on television of the battling PM beat those of a smiling political assassin.

Perhaps the image of the dogged competitor will be further enhanced by the short priced good things being done out of a Cup victory this afternoon by an outsider. For an outsider, the pollsters tell us with increasing regularity, is still what the Coalition is.

The win on The Daily Indicator for Monday was again just a narrow one but going forward a little is better than going backwards!

Coalition ALP
Television 1.22 1.17
Newspapers 0.11 0.06
Radio 0.48 0.35
Internet 0.06 0.13
TOTAL 1.86 1.71

Down in the Liberal Party bunker they should be getting out the old newsreel footage of Harry Truman and looking for inspiration.

Perhaps those mix and mingle tours of shopping centres are the modern day equivalent of speaking from the back of a train. It certainly shows John Howard as a man who will argue out his case with the Australian people right to the end.

And not being deterred by publicity seekers from taking that morning walk looks gutsy as well. This morning’s effort was so good it could have been scripted from down in that bunker. “Is Mr Rudd going to walk behind you and copy your walk as well?” a worker yelled from a building site just after 6am this morning as the PM strode out. “He won’t be able to keep up with you, bro,” another added.

There’s life in the underdog yet if the interest rates don’t kill him.

You will find details of the way the Daily Verdict is compiled, with the help of raw material provided by our friends at Media Monitors, on the Crikey website.

Peter Fray

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