Last week was full of bad economic news, said David Yepsen in the Des Moines Register, but there was a silver lining for Barack Obama. Hard times tend to help Democratic candidates at the polls. John McCain is reinventing himself as a “born-again, pro-regulation populist” to counter that effect, but he didn’t help his cause by saying the “economic fundamentals were sound.”

McCain won the “sound-bite war” by railing against greed and corruption on Wall Street, said Albert R. Hunt in Bloomberg. But Obama showed a steadier hand through his choice of economic advisers. McCain called former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, while Obama consulted with former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and former Treasury secretaries Robert Rubin and Larry Summers.

The so-called experts say the economic crisis works in Obama’s favor, said Michael Barone in National Review Online, but polls suggest the “old rule that economic distress moves voters to Democrats” doesn’t apply this time around. People understand that higher taxes under Obama “will hurt the economy,” and the little guy.