There had been some pushback from McCain operatives about whether the Republican in fact intended to concede Colorado, as CNN had reported yesterday. In politics, however, money speaks louder than words, and the New York Times is now reporting that McCain may not spend further advertising monies in Colorado, as well as four states won by John Kerry in 2004:
Democrats who monitor advertising spending now put at five the number of states where Senator John McCain is reducing his advertising – New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Colorado, Maine and Minnesota.
In essence, Mr. McCain’s campaign has decided to spread the advertising time he bought for the upcoming week in those states over the next two final weeks.
While station managers in the affected states said they were not ruling out the possibility that Mr. McCain would pump money back in before election day, on Nov. 4, the move represents a stark reordering of priorities.
Democrats were predicting Mr. McCain would use the savings to increase his advertising in Pennsylvania and, possibly, Ohio and Florida, all of which have become that much more vital should Mr. McCain have to concede states like Colorado and Wisconsin.
But here's what I think is going on at McCain strategy central: They're getting tired of the daily drumbeat on cable TV news and by newspaper pundits that says things like, "here are the six or seven swing states, all of them voted for Bush in 2004, Obama is winning or tied in most of them, and for McCain to win he has to run the table, taking every single one of them or it's over."
That message - that there is only one narrow Electoral College path to victory for McCain, while there are multiple ones for Obama - has cast a deathly spell over the GOP base's enthusiasm, which is now being reflected in paltry early voting numbers by Republican voters, especially in Nevada and North Carolina. And so they're trying to offer the faithful a belief in the suggestion that McCain, too, has multiple paths to win.
The senior staff seems to think it has convinced McCain to drop his reluctance to play the race card, with trial balloons afloatin' that Obama's ex-reverend will get an encore in the coming days in negative ads and such.
And if they're really going to go there - to try to make the campaign about race and, specifically, some white people's fears of pigmentation - then it would make total sense for McCain to temporarily ignore Colorado, where that message ain't gonna hunt, and shift focus to Appalachia and the South: Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and, yes, Pennsylvania and even Florida being the swing states where racially charged politics have sometimes, in the past, worked for the Republicans, or, in Appalachia, where they worked for the Clintons during the primaries.
But the McCain campaign also needs the extra money to keep up with its current plans, due to a quiet decision it has made that most voters will hardly notice.
Until now, the campaign has been teaming up with the Republican National Committee to jointly produce a large percentage of its advertisements. By sharing the costs down the middle, Team McCain has been able to basically double the amount of advertisements it can run for its money.
The campaign has started to phase out those ads in these final days, deciding to stick to advertisements it can devote fully to Mr. McCain’s campaign message. That will greatly disadvantage Mr. McCain as he struggles to keep up with the far better funded Mr. Obama. But Mr. McCain’s aides have clearly decided a trade of volume for greater clarity is worth it.
Baseball Prospectusoptimism bias
Los Angeles Times
[McCain Political Director Mike Duhaime] said the campaign is operating three dozen offices in the state and is making hundreds of thousands of phone calls every week to identify and persuade potential GOP voters. The data mining efforts are aimed at identifying former Hillary Clinton supporters and independents who are prepared to consider McCain’s message. He said the internal data is “trending” in McCain’s direction and is showing “a lot of things” not apparent in the opinion polls.
Overall, Duhaime said McCain has drawn strong support from what he called a Democrats for McCain movement in and around Scranton, in the state’s western Rust Belt region. “That gives us optimism,” he said.
McCain anticipates good news as well, he said, in the south and central part of the state, near Harrisburg, York and Lancaster -– all cities that the candidate, his wife, Cindy, or running mate Sarah Palin have visited in the last few days.
What is the key phrase in that passage? "Anticipates good news". As in, the McCain campaign does not have any particular idea how they're going to win Pennsylvania, nor why the public polls have the state wrong -- they're just hoping their numbers are right, and hoping that something comes together for them.
As a famous Democrat once said, of course, hope is not a strategy.