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Dueling Toss-ups

Plank contributor Nate Silver has a sharp post up over at comparing which states are viewed as potential toss-ups by the Obama campaign, the McCain campaign, and the FiveThirtyEight crew themselves. Nate's right, I think, to chide Obama for focusing more on Georgia than on Indiana. But the real headline here, it seems to me, is the McCain campaign's evident detachment from political reality, treating Connecticut and Minnesota as toss-ups but Virginia and North Carolina as "safe" GOP states. As Nate writes:

McCain's list is ridiculously aggressive in a climate where the partisan advantage is shifting to the Democrats. One can understand that he does not want to lock into a defensive posture this early in the campaign, but he dawdles in organizing Virginia and North Carolina, he may find it impossible to regain the lead in the former, and difficult to shake Obama in the latter. 

Now to some degree this is presumably spin (though Nate offers some evidence it may be more than that here), but even to the extent it is, it's bad spin. For anyone who's paying attention, the McCain campaign's portrayal of Connecticut as competitive and Virginia as safe doesn't look confident; it looks nuts.

It's obviously still very early. But so far I've seen little that suggests the McCain campaign has a clear idea of what it's doing.

--Christopher Orr