He tried to match the ranger with the big iron on his hip

"John McCain shoots from the hip, while Barack Obama is thoughtful" loses to "John McCain is a leader, while Barack Obama is a professor", and not just because of anti-intellectualism. The intended contrast of the first is between recklessness and prudence, but that message is so dominated by the competing contrast of action with inaction that it can't possibly get through. Put it all together and Obama settles comfortably into the frame as an ineffectual professor matched against a shoot from the hip leader. Point McCain.

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