Barack Obama made his final major play of the presidential campaign today with a 30-minute, multi-million dollar infomercial on primetime US TV. So what kind of show does a cool $3-million buy you these days? Check it out for yourself at our website.

While you’re there, catch up on all the other breaking election news, polls, analysis and videos at our Campaign Crikey live news page and blog. It’s all happening.

Each day until the election, we’ll be taking a look at the media discourse around a particular election issue. Today we’re rounding up the pundits’ views on race — how it’s affected the polls, voting habits and media coverage. But first, refresh your memory of Obama’s ‘A more perfect union’ speech on race with the video or transcript, then see our picks of the articles:

Racial amnesia may be the cure. After this election, we may never see race in the same way again. Getting people to address racial disparities in education, employment, and healthcare still won’t be easy. In addition to acknowledging that race in America today is complex and evolving, equality advocates must also support policies that strengthen the American economy. Figuring out the significance of race will be a challenge, but relying on racial memories based on a divided reality is not a good option. — Boston Globe

Obama, the Bradley effect, and Cliff Huxtable. Dr. Huxtable and his family were successful, charming, and upper-middle-class. You didn’t have to love multiculturalism to appreciate them. They were made for Middle America and, in some places at least, so, it seems, is Obama – particularly combined with his message of “ending divisiveness.” — Christian Science Monitor

Why race matters in Obama’s quest for the presidency. Only a small fraction of the U.S. population is openly prejudiced against African Americans. Most Americans do not see themselves as prejudiced and they would not behave in a way that is inconsistent with their non-prejudicial self-image. Yet, my research indicates that when two conditions are met, African-American job applicants, even if they are at least as qualified as their White counterparts, are less likely to be hired. — Joerg Dietz, National Post

How race can help Obama. On Election Day, if current polls hold true, hundreds of thousands of racists will vote for Barack Obama. In fact, if the election is close in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Virginia, one could argue that the support of people who have at least some degree of prejudice against blacks could hand Obama a victory. — Slate

A reverse Bradley Effect? An interesting argument from a pair of researchers at the University of Washington, who note that Obama overperformed primary polling. There was, in the primary, clearly a “reverse Bradley Effect” among black voters, whose support for Obama was consistently understated in the polling. — Ben Smith, Politico

Race still an issue in western Pennsylvania. Voting for the black man does not come easy to Nick Piroli; he is the first to admit that. This retired steelworker wrestles with this election and his choice. A couple of friends, he says, will not vote for Barack Obama. “I’m no racist, but I’m not crazy about him either,” he says. “I don’t know, maybe ’cause he’s black.” — International Herald Tribune

Here’s our daily pick of the best news commentary and analysis, as featured on the Crikey website:

Obama’s lead slips, but still strong. Barack Obama’s support may have dipped slightly in today’s polling as the race slowly tightens, but John McCain has failed to make new headway and Obama remains ahead. — Talking Points Memo

McCain’s keys to Pennsylvania. Based on my travels this election season, I feel confident in saying that, aside from the “white guiltists” and the liberal intelligentsia, most Americans over 30, of all political stripes and religious affiliations, are morally conservative. While they may differ on abortion or gay marriage, the vast majority seek to enforce tighter borders, keep their families safe, get honest news, lower their taxes, and rid themselves of programs and policies that they feel are antithetical to how we became the world’s superpower. This is true in Indiana where I live, in my native California, and it sure as heck is true in 99% of Pennsylvania. — Pajamas Media

Why it’s still a race. It’s hard to make the Electoral College numbers add up for McCain. He has to win all of the current tossup states (Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina and Florida), plus Ohio and Virginia and one of the following three: New Hampshire, Colorado or New Mexico. That isn’t just drawing one inside straight; that’s drawing a whole casino’s worth of them. Why hasn’t Obama run away with this? — Race to the Finish, Newsweek

Obama: Fundamental change? Count on it. I am sincerely worried that if Obama wins, the checks and balances incorporated into our Constitution may not be enough to prevent a radical and irreversible diminution of our individual liberties because a confluence of factors has emerged to create a climate conducive to fundamental change. — David Limbaugh, Townhall

Why does Sarah Palin pal around with felons? On November 4th everywhere in America John McCain and Sarah Palin will be on the ballot and Sarah Palin would not have gotten to that place had it not been for Ted Stevens. Sarah Palin is a Ted Stevens Republican. I have written a lot about that fact here’s a overview of their tight working relationship. — The Populista Report [via The Nation]

10 phrases that will never be the same. Elite: It used to refer to the cream of the crop, the best in class, the top of the line. Now it means out of touch. Talk about a downgrade. Not since “community organizer” has a phrase seen such a reversal of fortune. — Chicago Tribune

Several websites have ‘liveblogged’ the Obama TV commercial, as the more technologically adept among us are wont to do these days. Check out bloggers’ reactions as the ad was unveiled in our pick of the liveblogs:

Liveblogging Obama’s fancy teevee infomercial about the poors — Wonkette

Obamarama liveblogFiveThirtyEight

The Barack Obama half-hour fun hourIndecision2008

Obama infomercial liveblog — The Swamp

The latest election coverage on the Crikey blogs:

Will you be responsible for Obama’s loss? — Trevor Cook, Corporate Engagement

The Obama TV show — Chong Weng Ho, US election blog

Tito, Joe and Khalidi – mia for the McCain campGuy Rundle Live

The best clips from our US election video wrap — posted daily on the Crikey US election blog:

Michelle Obama on Leno, parts one and two

Sarah Palin lets us know she’s a “redneck woman”

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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