Crikey asks the sharpest political commentators which leader got the best of the campaigning day yesterday, plus we track where the leaders are and what cash promises they’ve made … 

WHO WON THE DAY ON TUESDAY?

Bernard Keane, Crikey Canberra correspondent: Abbott “sex appeal” comment was a rare stumble from him. Worse than the merely amusing Suppository Gate, this managed to reignite all those concerns about Abbott and women. Meanwhile Kevin Rudd continues to push hard in Queensland and succeeded in forcing the Coalition to abandon its GST stance. Thus a clear win for Rudd, because of smart Labor tactics and a self-inflicted wound from Abbott.

Richard Farmer, Crikey election analyst: When you have a campaign being conducted without new policy announcements it is inevitable that the press concentrate on the most interesting trivia. Yesterday was such a day. The release by the departments of Treasury and Finance of their impartial best guess at the state of the national finances was hardly news as it confirmed what the government had recently disclosed. That left the way clear for a misjudged attempt at a light remark by Tony Abbott to become the story of the day — and the likely impact of that “sex appeal” reference on the scheme of electoral things will end up being nil. Hence victory on the day to Abbott as the concentration on him stopped Kevin Rudd having much impact with his “where’s your money coming from” taunts.

John Connolly, founder of PR firm John Connolly and Partners:  The big problem for election professionals, politicians, the media, spin doctors, lobbyists, vote counters is: REAL PEOPLE DON’T CARE. This is just another election. The sooner it is over the better.What are real people really following? James Hird and The X Factor. The Rudd bubble has burst.For Labor to have had any chance the election should have been last weekend. So nothing much matters any more. The lower house will be ALP 63 seats and LNP 84.

Ben Eltham, New Matilda political correspondent: Yesterday you’d have to say the focus was on Abbott and his gaffes. You can take two views: one is “oh well he made a gaffe”. Another view is that it actually distracted from the substantive issues, like opposition costing. The media has spent all the day talking about candidates and sexism instead of the fact that the PEFO is out and the Coalition is continuing to refuse to release their costings. That’s a win for Abbott.

CASH TRACKER

Promises made in the last 24 hours … 

Labor: 

  • $58.5 million to the Bureau of Meteorology, including a National Centre for Extreme Weather;
  • $209.8 million for 137 new trade training centres.

Coalition:

  • Nothing announced.

Crikey has developed an online Cash Tracker tool to keep track of how much the major parties have promised to spend — and cut — during the election campaign. It’s a tight economic outlook, so will the parties end the campaign in the black or in the red? We’ve compiled a list of every promise made since August 2, when Labor released its pre-election budget update, and we’ll update the list daily (including when promises made before August 2 are re-announced or detailed). The Cash Tracker calculates the net result; currently, as you can see below, Labor has some dollars in its election warchest, while the Liberals have made more cash promises. But Abbott is expected to formally announce cuts to spending in the coming weeks, which will even up the score …

CAMPAIGN DIARY (WEDNESDAY)

Kevin Rudd: Most of us start the day slowly after crashing an 18th birthday party, but not Kevin 24/7. The Prime Minister headed to Cairns, in the marginal seat of Leichhardt. He visited St Mary’s Catholic College to inspect the trade training centre and announced another round of the centres, worth $209.8 million.

Tony Abbott: The Opposition Leader started the day with a run in Brisbane, followed by a press conference where he defended his “sex appeal” comment as a “Dad moment”. He also announced that the Liberals would be preferencing the ALP over the Greens and asked if Kevin Rudd was “man enough” to do the same. Abbott then headed to a police and border control centre with Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.

Christine Milne: In Sydney to announce a policy to ban semi-automatic handguns, the Greens leader has reacted to the Liberals’ decision to preference the ALP over the Greens. Milne will also meet a new Senate candidate for the Greens, Penny Blatchford, an anti-coal seam gas campaigner.

QUIRK OF THE DAY

Sometimes the campaign makes you want to throw stuff at pollies, and now, of course, there’s a game where you can. The iOS app Abbott vs Rudd lets you throw sandwiches, shoes and beach balls at the leaders, with an occasional appearance by Julia Gillard.

TWEET OF THE DAY 

Hair salon Sharp Cuts in Bentleigh is the latest battleground for the Queensland seat of Forde with both Labor’s Peter Beattie and the LNP’s Bert van Manen tweeting photos of their haircuts this morning:

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Peter Fray
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