For the past year the ongoing crisis in the housing and credit markets has set a gloomy backdrop for the 2008 presidential race, fueling voters' anxieties about the economy and desire for change.
Now the meltdown on Wall Street threatens to deepen those anxieties--and provide john McCain and Barack Obama with the campaign equivalent of what Hillary Clinton once described as the 3 am phone call that presidents receive.
It’s not yet clear who might benefit, but increased attention to economic troubles more closely fits Obama's campaign strategy.
As the democratic candidate seeking to replace on unpopular Republican president, Obama has always been better positioned than McCain to capitalize on desire for change. And with voters calling the economy their top priority, Obama has made the issue his central theme.
But by choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain managed to shift attention back to cultural issues over the past two week. And that helped him rise in the polls.