Sprightly Obama, Slogging McCain

More double standards on the campaign trail? Check the lead of two parallel stories in Thursday's paper, one on the Obama campaign, the other on McCain.

The Obama story, reported by Peter Baker and Jeff Zeleny from Sunrise, Fla., has a sprightly, active-verb leadshowing Obama getting things done:

As he races across the country in the climax of a marathon campaign, Senator Barack Obama has honed a final message calling on America to "turn the page" on an era of "greed and irresponsibility," tapping into populist sentiment while reassuring voters that he is no radical.

By contrast, reporter Elisabeth Bumiller in Miami marked "the waning days of Senator John McCain's quest for the White House," making boththe campaign itselfand his warning about "the evils of taxes" sound like hopelessly out-of-date gestures:

In these waning days of Senator John McCain's quest for the White House, he has returned in his speeches to a time-honored Republican attack line against Democrats: the evils of taxes. Or, as he summed it up while pummeling Senator Barack Obama in a lumberyard here on Wednesday, "This is the fundamental difference between Senator Obama and me: He thinks taxes are too low, and I think that spending is too high."

The line was the central theme of the final version of Mr. McCain's evolving stump speech and reflected what his advisers calculate is his last, best argument against Mr. Obama. Higher taxes, they say, strike fear in voters already threatened by the precarious economy, as do Mr. McCain's charges that Mr. Obama would effectively be a socialist.

Bumiller then talked about McCain's use of Joe the Plumber and how the Obama campaign had attacked him.

From there, Mr. McCain's address moved into his new mouthful of a slogan against Mr. Obama, a charge that his Democratic rival would be a redistributor, or the redistributor in chief, or some similar formulation that seems to conjure up images of the internal workings of cars.

Bumiller fired off some backhanded compliments about McCain and his supporters:

While Mr. McCain's speeches are more smoothly delivered than they used to be, he can still sound angry and sharp, as he did at times here on Wednesday. Still, he has modulated from his harsh tones of early October, when rowdy crowds were shouting insults about Mr. Obama.

Only after he delivered his economic message on Wednesday did Mr. McCain get to national security, the issue he had planned to be at the center of his general election campaign.