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Column: It's Time To Step Up To The Political Plate

This story was written by Kevin Cirilli, Daily Collegian

Weren't you beginning to worry that this year's presidential election would be boring?

Since Barack's epic primary battle, politics has been pretty stale. But last week provided some much needed water cooler talk to quench everybody's thirst. For starters, there was more evidence surrounding Sen. John Edwards' baby scandal. The press continues to ignore the story, but the Internet is buzzing with rumors of the former presidential candidate's alleged affair and baby cover-up.

The self-described "son of a mill worker" is avoiding the media by darting out of hotels and hiding in bathrooms while his wife battles cancer. What's he hiding? Hopefully this scandal won't overshadow the conventions.

But if Sen. Edwards doesn't, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Moses might. John McCain's latest ads compare Obama to the pop stars and biblical prophet, asking, "Is he ready to lead?" Obama's campaign responded, labeling the ads as typical Republican strategy. "Oops! He did it again," Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

That's right, the Obama campaign referenced a Britney Spears album. John McCain wasn't just on the offensive last week; he played the victim too. Obama told supporters that Republicans were labeling him a "risky" choice because he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills." We know, Barack, but race doesn't matter.

"Barack Obama has played the race card!" McCain's campaign manager told reporters. "It's legitimate," McCain added on CNN.

You can't blame John McCain for last week. He's fighting for his political life. Even the Clintons couldn't steal the press from Obama.

But it looks like McCain's camp cracked the code. McCain caught up in the polls after the ads, and now trails by just three percentage points nationally, CNN reported. And in swing states like Florida and Ohio, Obama lost his lead and is statistically tied.

Many Americans drank the Obama Kool-Aid, savoring each sip of hope and change. But now they're hungry.

This country is worth fighting for, Obama, not just talking about.

True, a presidential election is a marathon and not a sprint. With less than 100 days until Nov. 4, it's time for Obama to pick up the pace. But, despite the current situation, it doesn't look like that's going to happen too soon.

According to the Associated Press, "Hawaii native Barack Obama will likely vacation in the islands ... before the Democratic National Convention."

A Hawaiian vacation during a recession? At least Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch is on the mainland.

Didn't Obama learn anything from Hillary Clinton? Americans don't like candidates who feel they are owed the presidency, and lately it seems Barack Obama has cast himself as Prince President-in-waiting.

But even when on vacation, policy issues arise, and Obama is sure to bring his flip-flops.

For example, last week the Illinois senator said he would accept offshore drilling if it were part of a larger energy reform agenda. But just one day earlier he said offshore drilling was "a strategy designed to get politicians through an election."

Regardless of your political views, Obama's quick change should not be accepted.

So John McCain compared you to pop stars, Barack. What are you going to do about it?

Debate him. You're a basketball fan, so accept McCain's challenges for one-on-one Lincoln-style debates.

Obama has told Americans, "yes, we can;" now it's time to prove it. Step in the ring, Barack; it's time to fight for the change we believe in.