A shakeup in the McCain campaign has seen the Republicans install a former Dubya campaigner as leader of the team. Meanwhile Obama weighs into the gay marriage debate.

Leadership shakeup for McCain campaign – Concerns within the Republican camp have lead to another change of course for the McCain campaign. Steve Schmidt, a player in George W Bush’s run for president, will head the campaign team. The move comes a year after the previous campaign manager was installed. “The shift was approved by Mr. McCain after several of his aides, including Mr. Schmidt, went to him about 10 days ago and warned him that he was in danger of losing the presidential election to Senator Barack Obama,” reports Adam Nagourney at the New York Times. Republicans are hoping the new set up will address their frustration with “inconsistent messaging, sluggish fundraising and an organization that is too slow to take shape,” says Politico.

Can Iraq win it for McCain? John McCain’s message on Iraq may be his strongest point, according to Reid Wilson at Real Clear Politics. In short, while it may look like political suicide, John McCain’s only choice is to cast the war in Iraq as winnable, and to use his credibility on the issue to put the war, and what he will argue is his successful approach to winning, front and center. Having declared himself less than knowledgable about the economy, McCain will find his appeals on that issue a difficult sell. But his track record on Iraq, especially his criticism of and distance from the Bush Administration, makes a promise of success in the war a viable path by which McCain could win in November.

Obama opposes ban on Gay marriages. The candidates were pretty quiet on June 17 when California ushered in its first gay nuptials – but now Obama has weighed in.Gay rights moved to the forefront of the presidential campaign Tuesday after Democratic Sen. Barack Obama’s announcement that he opposes a November ballot measure that would ban same-sex marriage in California. In a letter to San Francisco’s Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Democratic Club, the presumptive presidential nominee said he opposed “the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution” and similar efforts in other states.” — San Francisco Chronicle

But not everyone’s entirely convinced about his position. “This substance of this Obama’s opposition to a ban on gay marriage is underwhelming, but the message that it conveys is encouraging.” — Intelligent Discontent

Obama’s FISA ‘flipflop’ – Barack Obama’s been under fire for reversing his position on the FISA legislation – deciding he would support laws granting legal immunity to telecos that cooperated with the Bush administration’s program of wiretapping without warrants. Salon says that the campaign’s fudging of the facts adds insult to injury: “It’s bad enough that Obama is supporting a new warrantless eavesdropping scheme. They should just candidly admit that he changed his position rather than feeding incoherent and insultingly false rationalizations to the public”.

The Daily KOS has a fascinating article looking at the backlash amongst Obama supporters. Some of them have used the social networking tools provided on Obama’s own website to lobby him to oppose the FISA legislation.

Andrew Bartlett on why we should care. “I know some people complain about how much coverage the election President of the USA is getting in Australia, but it has the potential to have a very significant effect on the future of the entire planet, so I think it’s worth following. Even though Barack Obama now seems to be doing the inevitable tilting to the centre that happens once every primary is concluded, he seems to me to have a real prospect of steering some much needed new courses and just as importantly shifting some of the attitudes toward the USA from the rest of the world – and vice versa.” – Andrew Bartlett

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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