(CBS) On the heels of Gov. Sarah Palin's statement yesterday that Sen. Barack Obama does not see America as "a force for good in the world," Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., accused the Democratic presidential nominee of "talking down America."
Referring to his visit to Germany where he said of America, "We've made our share of mistakes," Wilson said, "We've always had this history of saying, well, you know, 'Politics end at the water's edge.' And it didn't for Barack Obama. He has been critical not only of the president but of American policy and hence has kind of a negative view of America in the world."
"We are an exceptional country," she said on Face The Nation. "We are a force for good. And we need to talk about the good things we do."
But the Republicans' attacks themselves came under attack by Obama's supporters.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said that because of his growing lead, the Democratic candidate will face increasing attacks. "He's leading in the polls," she told host Bob Schieffer.
"He's leading in most of the battleground states. And this is going to be a month, I think, of character assassination. And so the Republican position is to try to assassinate Barack Obama's character and try to place him in a position where the trust that he has built dissipates, the credibility that he has dissipates.
"I hope it isn't successful," she said, "and we must not let it be successful. Too much is at stake in this election. And you know, it's a hard thing for me to listen to this when you know the major problems that this nation faces.
That's what we ought to be talking about, not slamming one's character like this," Feinstein said.
Gov. Palin's attacks were also criticized - as was her performance at last week's vice presidential debate - by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich. (left) "Her strategy was to be folksy and try to speak over the moderator and over the questions that were asked," said Granholm, who thought the performance would not go down well with Michigan voters suffering in the economy.
"In Michigan we are hurting so bad we don't want to hear just, you know, 'By golly,' 'Ah, shucks,' 'Doggone it.' We want to hear what are you going to do to help everyday citizens?
"I think that's what people out there want to see. Whether Sarah Palin can wink at everybody and try to charm them to death, I think that that's a question of style over substance. And at this point people are tired of style - they want to know what are the facts that are going to help me as an everyday citizen."
Supporting Palin was House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo. (left), who said, "I think she's as qualified to be president as Senator Obama is. And I think after some time as vice president, she's going to be extremely ready, if she has to take over as president.
"You know, Senator Clinton said that at the debate … Governor Palin was confident, she was engaging. I think the American people saw somebody that was not business-as-usual in Washington, and they don't want business as usual. They're ready for change."
In discussing the financial crisis, Blunt tried to make the case that President Bush and Senator McCain had been advocating for the kinds of regulation that might have prevented the near-meltdown of the financial industry, but that "Democrats were saying these government agencies have plenty of regulations."
"[McCain's] been out there for years as a pain in the side of these agencies advocating more regulation, more change. We could have stopped a lot of this problem from happening three or four years ago. The president was asking for that, but the Congress wouldn't deliver. John McCain was one of the leading advocates for that kind of, that regulation."
Also on the program, columnist David Brooks (left) of The New York Times said he thought Palin had done well in the debate, despite the nervousness of Republicans beforehand: "They were looking at that debate from behind a couch, terrified. And she did two things: She showed she wasn't George Bush and she showed she's something different.
"Now, it's not my cup of tea, but she did what she set out to achieve. And I sort of like the fact, her confidence and her poise. I mean, in this country everybody thinks they can be president, whether they deserve it or not. And she thinks that. I sort of admire the gumption in that, and the cleverness, which she displayed."
However, Brooks admitted that he thought Palin was not qualified to be president of the United States.
"I like experience," he told Schieffer. "I like somebody who's read a few more books, experienced a few more things."
Noting the viciousness of the campaign as it gets closer to Election Day and McCain falls further behind in the polls, Brooks said that the conservatives were waging the kind of campaign that is out of sync with what voters are now interested in:
"They don't understand how the same political tactics that they've used before, going after liberal, liberal, liberal, that's not going to work now because something has overshadowed it. And that overshadowing, that economic anxiety is just going to dominate the next five weeks. There's no way around that. And if they're not touching that, then they're not touching the core issue. And John McCain has not done it. And he hasn't done it over the weekend, where they've been attacking Obama for being too liberal or not loving America enough.
"This economic crisis changes the climate of the country. We were in a conservative era where conservatives could win running conservative vs. liberal campaigns. Because of this economic crisis and a bunch of other stuff, we're no longer in a conservative era. You can't win that way any more. You better win the way of this new era. And I'm afraid the Republicans are not adapting to this new era."
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