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The Olympics are a distraction, but they won't have a long-term impact. Americans across the political spectrum can be proud of our athletes without that pride swaying their vote. (We can also be proud of all the athletes who were born or educated here but represent other countries.)
Once the Olympics have ended, those of us who have watched the Games will go back to noticing the problems afflicting the country: high gas prices, high food prices, ongoing problems with the financial markets and credit that will lead to continued turmoil, foreclosures and layoffs, etc. And that's even before we remember the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, problems with Russia and Georgia.
We're all proud of Michael Phelps, but when Bob Costas and the others return home, we're going to want a new storyline. We'll want change.
That does not bode well for McCain.
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