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Could Obama Contest Kansas?

I know it's crazy, but is it that crazy that Obama could make a run at Kansas in November? Not only does he have a family connection there, and not only did he stir up a lot of excitement there on February 5, but now McCain is on the wrong side of a big local issue: It looks like several McCain campaign aides have lobbied for the parent company of Airbus, the Boeing rival that was just awarded a major contract by the Pentagon. Unfortunately for McCain, Boeing has a large plant in Kansas, and local politicians are apparently pretty exercised about the Airbus deal.

McCain has also been the top recipient of campaign cash from the Airbus parent's PAC and employees during the 2008 cycle. On top of which, McCain killed a several-billion dollar Boeing contract several years ago, on the (pretty persuasive) grounds that the deal was corrupt, and has generally called for the Pentagon to be even-handed in evaluating proposals from Boeing and Airbus. That sounds perfectly reasonable, but doesn't go down so well in pockets of the country with a big Boeing presence.

Granted, Kansas is overwhelmingly Republican on the federal level. But these parochial issues have a way of getting traction. And, according to SurveyUSA, Obama's only down nine there at the moment. (Though who knows what that means--so is Hillary, after all...)

--Noam Scheiber