Palinization

Convention bounces don't necessarily last, so don't get overconfident. The race is tightening up - and there will likely be swings in both directions before the Obamafia - Ayers, Pfleger, Wright, Rezko, etc - gets called into action to sink Barack's candidacy once and for all.

In the meantime, however, enjoy!

Palin jolts U.S. Capitol, energizes Republicans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate has given Republican lawmakers new hope of minimizing anticipated losses in the Nov. 4 congressional elections.

"We have had a disgruntled base that Sarah Palin has clearly ignited," said Sen. Robert Bennett, a Utah Republican in the Democratic-led Congress. "The McCain campaign had been dull as dishwater. But it has suddenly become exciting."

"She's given us a huge lift," added Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri. "Any Republican candidate for Congress who's in a tough race would love John McCain and Sarah Palin coming into their district and states."

The Alaska governor is the first female Republican vice presidential nominee and America's newest political star, replacing in that role Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. In the two weeks since her selection, the former beauty queen, TV sportscaster and small-town mayor has turned into a charismatic attack dog.

Palin-mania can be traced to her speech to the Republican nominating convention in early September, which saw her come out swinging, a Republican leadership aide said.

"Before she began, there was a concern whether she could deliver the knockout punch," the aide said. "Halfway through her speech, there was a real sea change. You could feel it in the convention hall and can now see it across the country."

Before the nominating conventions, Democrats who control the Senate 51-49 were hoping to pick up as many as nine more seats, enough to give them a 60-vote majority that could clear any Republican procedural hurdle. That once-slim possibility now seems to be fading fast.

Polls since the convention ended last week show McCain, with Palin on his ticket, pulling even with or ahead of Obama, who led most of the year.

A USA Today/Gallup poll released last week found that voters' preference for Democrats over Republicans in Congress had plunged from double digits to just 3 percentage points. Analysts say the question is how long the bounce will last.