The latest USA Today/Gallup poll shows that people feel Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama would do a better job on health care, energy policy, economy, taxes, and moral values (the candidates were tied on Iraq). The issue on which McCain was viewed most favorably was terrorism.

So it’s not surprising that McCain aide Charlie Black said what he did about a terror attack working in the GOP’s favour, writes Arianna Huffington.

In response to McCain’s comment — “I cannot imagine why he would say it” — Arianna huffs, “Really, Senator, you can’t imagine why your top advisor would follow in the footsteps of Karl Rove, who made scaring the bejesus out of the American people the centerpiece of GOP strategy for the last six years?”

“Let me break it down for you: fear is a frighteningly effective sales pitch — one that has worked like a charm for Republicans since the days of the Cold War Red Scares, and especially since 9/11.”

And with that, the Huff has announced the Post’s new offering as the online juggernaut continues to walk the tightrope between offering news, election commentary and flat out campaigning for the Democrats  — FearWatch. “Throughout the campaign HuffPost will be conducting a FearWatch, keeping our eyes peeled for the lowest, most base attempts to scare voters into voting their fears, and collecting them on a FearWatch08 page.” 

McCain attacks Obama as “Dr No” on energy — The McCain campaign has released a new ad painting Barack Obama as the “Dr No of energy security” because he opposes offshore drilling, nuclear energy and other McCain-backed energy solutions. Wonkette asks where the McCain camp’s phrase “energy security” came from, asking “what the hell is that ‘energy security? Why can’t someone oppose retarded things like the gas tax and domestic offshore drilling and not be held responsible for 9/11? Because of 9/11, of course.”

McCain gets more mileage from “Town Hall” proposal — Despite Barack Obama’s reticence to participate, John McCain is continuing to get positive mileage from his proposal for a series of “Town Hall” debates — the latest being a writeup in the USA Today that reports his campaign is seeking “undecided and not overly partisan voters” to fill the audience: “That’s a contrast from the last Republican presidential campaign in which President Bush’s aides screened out opponents and emphasized loyal GOP supporters.”

Moveon “insults our troops” — Responding to Moveon’s new ad tackling McCain’s commitment to Iraq, the Union Leader editorial asked “does despise all military personnel or just think Americans are stupid?”

Obama campaign manager interviewed — The Huffington Post points out that Barack Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe flies so low on the radar that even a Wall Street Journal profile published last week didn’t score a direct interview. But the Huff along with other Washington DC journalists was invited to a briefing he delivered at the DNC on the state of the general election race. The Huff reports him as saying the campaign is confident that Obama is “enormously competitive” in over a dozen battleground states.

The Daily KOS applauded the Plouffe strategy of focusing on the 14 states won by George W. Bush in the last election as “party building“: “For a party that has been incapable of looking past the next election (read: Terry McAuliffe), it’s refreshing to have a new team in town which realizes that the presidency isn’t the be-all, end-all.”

GOP attempts to paint Obama as “privileged” — Maureen O’Dowd weighs into former George W. Bush svengali Karl Rove for attempting to paint Barack Obama as privileged, leveling that many of the criticisms he makes are better fitted to George W. himself: “The absurd spectacle of rich white conservatives trying to paint Obama as a watercress sandwich with the crust cut off seems ugly and fake.”