Shoot at the Elephant. Not the Pit Bull.

Popularity polls don’t win elections. But they do measure (duh) popularity. And as this week’s polls show, the appeal of the McCain and Palin ticket has soared following last week’s convention.

Obama and Biden have wisely gone on the offensive, pointing out Team Maverick’s shortcomings and, most importantly, its deceptions.

But it’s doing it the wrong way by calling Mac and Sarah  “liars,” which will win ovations from supporters, but appear vulgar and disrespectful to many independents, who are openly swinging toward the Republican ticket.

Need evidence of that: Consider the flap being generated after Obama slipped up (I hope he did) with his “lipstick on a pig” quip yesterday.

I hate to get into a repetitive groove here, but Obama needs to subtly shift his rhetoric from “McCain and Palin are liars” to “don’t be fooled again by the Republicans.”

Same strategy, but a different message strategy. It depersonalizes the attack, making it easier to for independents to reject the party pulling the strings, rather than two personalities for whom they have a growing affection.

And it’s wholly credible, since the GOP has earned a reputation for being both deceitful and manipulative over the past eight years.

Shoot at the elephant. Not the war hero and the pit bull. There are only 54 days left to get it right.