This will be the most interesting week of the election as far as I’m concerned. It is the week that the candidates have to sum up all the issues and charges they have raised for months in order to firm up the support they have generated with voters.

Of course there have been, as the news said last night, about 7,000,000 early voters so far – everyone in my household included – and the reports of an Obama lead (based mostly on post-voting surveys, I guess) could have some influence on those who make up their minds at the last minute. There are always those who merely want to vote with a winner.

This will be the week of outrageous e-mail, at least from one side. has already awarded a “pants on fire” designation to a new one claiming Obama is preparing to re-design the American flag “to better offer our enemies hope and love.” The fact that there are people who might believe this crap is as scary as the fact that there is a campaign (or its unmentioned support groups) that would put it out.

The Financial Times, surprise surprise, has been added to the Obama endorsements after a long campaign coverage of seeming mostly pro-McCain. I guess this is the reason:

Mr Obama fought a much better campaign. Campaigning is not the same as governing, and the presidency should not be a prize for giving the best speeches, devising the best television advertisements, shaking the most hands and kissing the most babies.

Nonetheless, a campaign is a test of leadership. Mr Obama ran his superbly; Mr McCain’s has often looked a shambles. After eight years of George W. Bush, the steady competence of the Obama operation commands respect.

The focus of both campaigns early in the week appears to be Pennsylvania and Ohio. The basic thinking is that if McCain loses these he loses everything. Expect some pretty heavy mud-slinging here.

Under The LobsterScope