He's in Ohio today arguing that free trade can rescue depressed steel towns:

"The biggest problem is not so much what's happened with free trade, but our inability to adjust to a new world economy," McCain said during a town hall-style meeting at Youngstown State University.

"I think the answer is to understand that, free trade or not, we are in an information and technology revolution," he said. "So we want people to be part of that revolution, and we've got to be part of that new economy, rather than try to cling to an old economy."

McCain, on a weeklong tour of "forgotten" places where people are struggling with poverty and job losses, made a stop at a shuttered steel fabricating plant in Youngstown with broken-out windows and a crumbling, weed-strewn parking lot.

There he criticized Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama for saying, when they campaigned in the Ohio primary last month, that they would renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA....

"Protectionism and isolationism have never worked in American history," McCain said.

On the one hand you have to admire McCain's refusal to pander. On the other you have to wonder if he's commiting electoral suicide.

P.S. He also told voters in Youngstown that their city can bounce back from the depths of hopelessness, just like his primary candidacy. I'm sure that cheered up the unemployed steel guys.

--Michael Crowley