Thursday, October 02, 2008

McCain Running Out of Runway

With the national economic crisis and the continued collapse of the auto industry, speeches like this from Obama resonates soundly in Michigan:

"Nine straight months of job loss. Yet just two weeks ago, John McCain said the fundamentals of the economy were strong. I don't know what yardstick Senator McCain uses, but where I come from, there's nothing more fundamental than a job."

Maybe this explains why barely a month before the elections, McCain pulls out of Michigan:

John McCain is pulling out of Michigan, according to two Republicans, a stunning move a month away from Election Day that indicates the difficulty Republicans are having in finding blue states to put in play.

McCain will go off TV in Michigan, stop dropping mail there and send most of his staff to more competitive states, including Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida. Wisconsin went for Kerry in 2004, Ohio and Florida for Bush...

McCain will now turn his attention to bolstering his defenses in Ohio and Florida while putting more resources into Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and the second congressional district of Maine, where there is a sole electoral vote available.
This indicates McCain has switched from playing offense to defense. Marc Ambinder adds:

The move away from Michigan reflects the abandonment of any pretense that McCain can spend freely to expand the map for Republicans this year, and it's a sign that the campaign recognizes how the past two weeks have erased nearly all of McCain's gains since August. Instead, McCain's playing defense in states like Florida, Virginia and North Carolina, although his advisers do not consider the latter state as close as public polling suggests.
Though First Read sources characterize it more as a "pull back" than a "pull out" given that the Republican National Committee will still be running ads there, the fact remains that McCain decided his limited public funding resources are better shifted elsewhere.

Chris Cillizza reports on their revised strategy:

Their map: Win six toss up states -- Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana and Ohio -- that have traditionally favored Republicans and hold the solidly GOP states to get to 260 electoral votes. Then find 10 more electoral votes in some combination of Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

"To say we are on defense is not true," insisted Strimple. "We are aggressively using our resources in states where we have to win."

Maybe. But the problem with that logic is it assumes McCain can hold those six red state tossups, which, in the case of Ohio, Colorado and Virginia (at least) looks to be a dicey proposition.
Did they say Virginia?

Roughly 30,000 of the 106,000 new voters registered in September reside in just six pro-Kerry cities and counties, with many more living in other jurisdictions that voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004. More than 11,000 new voters signed up in Fairfax County, more than 5,000 signed up in Richmond, more than 4,500 signed up in Arlington, more than 3,500 in both Norfolk and Newport News, and nearly 2,500 in Alexandria.

The Obama campaign has been estimating that 80 percent of the new voters are Obama supporters, and that they'll turn out at a rate of about 75 percent, which the campaign predicts could mean about a 1.75 percent boost on Election Day.
Chuck Todd adds:

“All the trend lines are pointing in Obama’s direction …. [Pointing to a series of battleground-state polls] This should really scare the McCain campaign. This thing -- it’s at a tipping point. And this debate, frankly, is coming at GOOD time for McCain because he needs something – anything – to stop this Obama momentum. … The pressure is all on Sarah Palin, not just for her own persona, but to SAVE THE McCAIN CAMPAIGN. … I think Virginia, frankly, is a trailing indicator of the national numbers. … John McCain is campaigning in Missouri later this week. That’s not a good sign. You shouldn’t have to be worrying about Missouri at this point.”
With most battleground state polls trending strongly Obama, this is the last thing Mccain wants to hear.

Perhaps Palin will throw him a lifeline in tonight's debate. Uh, good luck with that.

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posted at 7:30:00 PM by Wonky Muse

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"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


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