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John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin have used their time in the convention spotlight to paint the GOP as the party most in sync with mainstream America and the Democrats as the party on the cultural fringe. But can the party that has held the White House for eight years claim the mantle of change? How can there be two opposition parties? Also, the jobless rate hits a new five-year high. On Reporter's Notebook, what's up with all those undecided voters, many of them self-described Independents? Have the conventions made a difference? Judy Muller guest hosts.

Banner image: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Making News Jobless Rate Hits Five-Year High 5 MIN, 54 SEC

The nation's unemployment rate has soared to a five-year high, as employers slashed 84,000 jobs in August. The jobless rate jumped from 5.7% in July to 6.1% in August. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down nearly 100 points in morning trading as investors' hopes dimmed for a late-in-the-year recovery, Wall Street was not alone in its quick response. Both presidential candidates took the opportunity to criticize each other on economic policy. Jared Bernstein, senior economist with the Economic Policy Institute, is author of Crunch: Why Do I Feel So Squeezed?

Jared Bernstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (@econjared)


Jared Bernstein

Main Topic What's Next for the Presidential Campaigns? 33 MIN, 49 SEC

John McCain had a high bar to reach last night with his acceptance speech at the GOP convention in St Paul. Not only was he following Barack Obama's historical performance in front of 80,000 Democrats the week before, he was also following the highly effective speech delivered the night before by his running mate Sarah Palin. McCain brought the party faithful to their feet with a mixture of his emotional personal story and a rousing promise to do battle with the powers-that-be in Washington. But can he resurrect the maverick persona with a voting record that's supported the current administration? We look at what's next for the campaign. Can both candidates to be the agents of change the country needs? Will Palin lead the charge in a sequel to the culture wars of the past? Should Obama fight back or take the high road?

Dan Schnur, USC Unruh Institute of Politics / Dornsife LA Times Poll (@danschnur)
Richard Greene, political speech analyst and communication coach
Anita Dunn, Democratic Strategist, Obama presidential campaign
Ann Stone, Trump campaign / Republicans for Choice (@aews)

Words that Shook the World

Richard Greene and Florie Brizel

Reporter's Notebook The Independent Factor 8 MIN, 53 SEC

The speeches have ended, the confetti's dropped and the candidates are hoping to translate the enthusiasm of the conventioneers to the electorate at large, especially the estimated 15% of undecided voters, many of them Independents. With John McCain and Barack Obama both now claiming the mantle of change and positioning themselves as the anti-Bush candidate, how will Independents decide? Jackie Salit is president of IndependentVoting.org, a national strategy center aimed at developing America's growing independent movement. Political and demographic analyst Elliot Stonecipher monitors independent voting, especially in the south.

Jackie Salit, President, Independent Voting.org
Elliott Stonecipher, independent demographic analyst

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