There's an early sense Julia Gillard is gaining the ascendancy on the ground, and not just the polls. A return to his rigorous exercise routine with pre-5am ride would've no doubt helped reinvigorate Tony Abbott after a difficult start to his campaign.
Today, he tries to come out on the front foot with an announcement that could finally shift the focus off WorkChoices, back onto topics which suit the Coalition.
He brought in his heavy hitters too. Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb flanked him as he promised to cut $1.2 billion dollars of Labor spending. "Wayne Swan is to surpluses what Paris Hilton is to celibacy. They remember it once existed but they'll never see it again," Joe Hockey exclaimed. Oops.
As I reported on the 6pm news, "loose lips sink ships, and the shadow treasurer's comments well and truly tanked."
It's one thing to liken government spending to Paris Hilton's own spending habits. But her sex life...? Sure, I found it funny. But it was inappropriate, as the reaction from some women proved. The comments ensured the substance of the announcement would come second to the slip-up in coverage.
Labor had its own slip too. Its candidate in the Liberal seat of Flinders was quoted in a local newspaper on the Mornington Peninsula effectively saying Tony's Abbott's policies influenced people to commit suicide.
Fortunately for Julia Gillard, this guy is a no-name who isn't likely to win the seat, because the comments were offensive, and have no place in modern politics.
With such intense scrutiny, you wonder how politicians, or aspiring politicians can trip up so easily and so often.
They may get frustrated that journalists like myself sometimes focus on trivial things, but personality is as much a part of politics as policy.
Pollies have to find a balance between not being repetitive robots, and not saying whatever comes into their heads.
Then again, it makes my job more interesting when they don't.
Off to Brisbane again tonight. I'm becoming a local.Four days down, 32 to go.
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