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Barack Obama and John McCain both could use Realtor help

June 18, 2008 |  5:37 pm

It strikes us that both presidential campaigns this week ignored the cardinal rule of real estate: location, location, location.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama shares a stage in Detroit with former Vice President Al Gore  It was a foregone conclusion that Barack Obama would receive an official blessing from Al Gore, the question was when and where. The ringing endorsement Gore bestowed Monday came a bit later than might have been expected, but the real surprise was the setting -- a rally in Detroit, the leading city in the one state where words from perhaps the world's best-known advocate for transforming oil-based economies might be greeted with chagrin.

True, Gore carried Michigan by about 5 percentage points in his 2000 presidential bid. But in that campaign he did not stress the environmental call to arms that since then has become his life's mission.

Although we appreciate the skepticism with which many greet any analysis of Democratic maneuvering by Karl Rove, we do think he got it right on Fox's Hannity & Colmes when he said, "If you're an autoworker or in the auto-parts business or somebody who feels strongly about the auto economy, you don't want to have Al Gore sort of rubbing your nose in it in your own hometown."

Rove mentioned alternative sites for the Gore/Obama love-fest, and two made particular sense to us: Colorado or New Mexico, states expected to be battlegrounds in the general election and places where the environmental movement is revered by some and supported by most.

Similarly, of the possible venues for John McCain to announce his change in position of offshore oil drilling, was Houston the best choice? We don't think so.Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain delivered a speech in Houston calling for an end to the federal ban on offshore oil drilling

McCain's decision to propose an end to the longstanding federal moratorium on oil exploration in coastal waters -- a ban he had long backed -- may play out as a bold stroke that benefits from growing public anger over rising gasoline prices. And, as the Houston Chronicle reported, McCain's audience at a ballroom "in the nation's energy capital gave him two standing ovations as he called for fewer federal regulations on oil exploration."

Maybe his campaign wanted to ensure he received a warm response. But the chosen audience also made it that much easier for critics to argue that McCain, on most issues, was little different than President Bush and that his policies were more oriented toward big business than the average citizen.

An audience of long-haul truckers or residents of exurbs in Ohio or Pennsylvania -- two of the key targets in November -- probably would have been just as welcoming toward McCain's new policy.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credits: Associated Press