Fear is in the air and, while it initially helped Barack Obama, fear is now beginning to hurt him.

Both the Rasmussen and Gallup daily tracking polls have the race getting tighter and, in a remarkable turnabout, Rasmussen will release a poll Thursday that says Americans now trust McCain more on the economy than Obama. So NBC News will have to tone down the victory dance.

A series of Obama issues regarding spreading the wealth around have hurt him. "Joe the Plumber" and other expositions have caused some fear among the undecided voters, that an Obama administration will harm the economy more than help it.

The USA remains a capitalistic country, much to the chagrin of the far left. Any deviation from capitalism will not play well, especially among older voters, and it is here where the swings are taking place, especially in places like Florida and Ohio.

McCain lost ground in those states because many seniors lost faith in the federal government to protect them against corrupt Wall Street gangsters. That fear was well-founded. Both parties in Washington failed to protect the folks, and allowed the economy to get out of control.

Even now, the feds can't control hedge funds and speculators, which is why you see the wild gyrations in the stock market and in oil prices.

The fear that our money is not safe has propelled Barack Obama, but now some voters are re-evaluating, and older voters are leading the way.

Is that fair to Obama? "Talking Points" can't say with any certainty. I simply don't know if Obama understands how fragile the economy is. I don't know because the senator is still pretty much a mystery to me, and I'm not the only journalist who feels that way.

Writing in the very liberal Los Angeles Times, Obama beat reporter Peter Nicholas says:

"...Those of us who were sent out to take (Obama's) measure in person can't offer much help in answering who he is, or if he is ready. The barriers set in place between us and him were just too great."

Those barriers are that the media has limited access to Senator Obama and he's very cautious in his casual comments, which, by the way, is smart.

But there is no question that uncertainty leads to fear, and now some voters are growing more uncertain about Obama and more fearful of voting for him. That's why the race is not over. The fear that has dramatically hurt John McCain is now turning to his advantage.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

Actress Hilary Swank has cut her hair to help cancer victims.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILARY SWANK, ACTRESS: Sixty percent of the women who are undergoing chemotherapy, their most feared side effect is losing their hair, and they will actually forego potentially life-saving treatment in order to not lose their hair, so I thought, "I'm cutting my hair off."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

And that hair is donated to the American Cancer Society, so Ms. Swank and others like her are patriots.

On the pinhead front, there are some things that are simply very strange, like former basketball player Charles Barkley commenting on the presidential election. Why? Apparently, old Charles believes the Republicans are playing the race card.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES BARKLEY, FORMER PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER: And they use code words, like welfare and things like that. And they just use code words. They're using the terrorist thing now. You know, they're trying to use the Muslim thing. Those are racial innuendoes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Well, Charles, here's a word not in code: "pinhead."

You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com