On Wednesday night, with only 13 days until Election Day, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer led the Georgetown University Law Center into the fray at a forum in which top political pundits unanimously called the victory of Senator Barack Obama.

Blitzer served as moderator of the forum, “Decision 2008: November 4 and Beyond,” alongside five pundits – E.J. Dionne Jr., a Georgetown Public Policy Institute professor, senior fellow at the the Brookings Institution and columnist for The Washington Post; Charles Krauthammer, a syndicated columnist; Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners and a pollster and political strategist; Clarence Page, a syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune; and Byron York, a White House correspondent for National Review.

All five panelists agreed on one point, though – that Obama would emerge victorious in a few weeks.

“It does look like Barack Obama will win,” Lake said, “although the margin is still not a done deal.”

ost of the panelists also credited the economy as the primary factor as to why Obama is currently at the top of most national polls.

“Sixty percent of the voters now say that the economy is the most important [issue],” Lake said. “Barack Obama is solidly ahead on the economy, where voters believe that John McCain is the riskier candidate [who would] bring back Bush’s economy.”

Krauthammer noted that for even traditionally red states, like Appalachian ones, people now care more about the economy than anything else.

Dionne said that the economic crisis and the fall of Lehman Brothers in particular allowed Obama to better define his economic plan.

“Obama did not have a crisp economic message until the crisis emerged,” he said.

Byron said that he thinks this election ultimately comes down to the prevailing sense that the country is ready for change.

“I think the reason in 2004 that you saw Bush reelected was, in a larger sense, people didn’t think it was safe enough to make that change,” Byron said. “Now I think people have a different point of view.”

If McCain is to climb his way back into the race, Dionne said it will be in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania. Dionne added that it was a smart move of the McCain campaign to start zeroing in on the state this past week.

“If [McCain] could somehow take Pennsylvania away from Obama, then it becomes somewhat more complicated for Obama,” he said.

Because Obama has the ability to change the contours of the electorate through young voters, Lake still said it might be almost impossible for McCain to win this election

“Young voters are voting in record numbers. They voted in record numbers in the primary,” she said.

Krauthammer agreed, but emphasized that it is his support from the swing states that will put it over the top.

“If you look at the polls at all the swing states . all of that is shifting democratic,” he said. “That means that looking at the mathematics, it is almost impossible for this race to go the other way, in the absence of an act of God, and this year at least it looks like God is a Democrat.”

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.