Or at least that's what Al Giordano thinks. According to CNN, McCain is basically pulling out of Colorado. The McCain camp denies this, but their denial might be related to the intense flack they got from the Michigan state GOP when the campaign announced that McCain was pulling out of that state. They don't want to piss off state leaders by saying "we've given up on you."'a0 Here's the root of Giordano's theory:
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.
Play up race and try to win states with big electoral numbers. Especially Pennsylvania. It doesn't help that Rep. Jack Murtha, of western Pennsylvania, said the other day that the area was "racist," and then in what was supposed to be an apology, said he just mean they were "really redneck." Nice one, Jack.
Here's how the numbers might break down. Right now, RCP has Obama at 286 electoral votes, and McCain at 160 with 92 toss-up votes. If McCain takes Pennsylvania (Obama has an 11-point average lead there at the moment, though), that puts the campaigns at O-265 and M-181. Then lets say he wins Indiana (11), Florida (27), North Carolina (15), Nevada (5), and Ohio (20), all of which are within the margin of error for Obama, or McCain is winning. McCain is then at 259, which means he needs 11 more to win. States left are North Dakota (3) and Missouri (11).
If McCain could win Missouri (11), where Obama leads by less than 3, That's 270-268 (assuming ND goes to Obama).
The problem is that Obama has a pretty big lead in Florida (+7.3, 27 electoral votes) and Pennsylvania (+11.4, 21 electoral votes). If McCain loses either of those states, he's lost. And Obama's leading in every other toss-up state discussed except Indiana.
So McCain's got some work to do in those two states. And Pennsylvania's looking vulnerable to the Obama campaign, at least according to this accidentally leaked internal poll. So he's got a chance, but a lot of ground to cover. And even if he wins Florida and Pennsylvania, he's got to come up with 62 EVs from swing states. If he could flip Colorado's 9 EVs, it would be better, but that doesn't seem likely.
But if this is McCain's avenue, then as Giordano says, he'll be stepping up race-based attacks that might work in the Southern toss-up states, and the McCain campaign has been floating the Jeremiah Wright thing again. They were hoping some 527s (independent non-profit groups) would step up and run some Jeremiah Wright ads, but it doesn't seem like that's likely to happen:
For the GOP, the cavalry apparently isn'92t coming.
Republicans attuned to conservative third-party efforts say that with less than two weeks to go until Election Day, the prospects for any 11th-hour, anti-Obama ad campaigns are highly unlikely.
Many in the party, including inside the McCain campaign, have held out hope that a deep-pocketed benefactor would emerge to bankroll ads in the campaign'92s final days'a0'97 spots that might, for example, resurrect the most incendiary clips from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
But thanks largely to lack of passion for McCain within the conservative base, diminished hopes that he can win and a sharp decline in the stock market that has badly pinched donors'92 pockets, veteran Republican operatives say it appears almost certain that what could be the most damaging line of attack against the Democratic nominee will be left on the shelf.
So right now it seems like Steve Schmidt might be in the McCain war-room begging him to run Jeremiah Wright ads. The question is, I suppose, would McCain do that to win, and if so, what would that win mean? I don't know that running Jeremiah Wright ads is necessarily racist (it depends on the way they use it on the stump and the context in the ads/statements), nor do I know that it will be effective at this stage in the game. But if they play it in a racially tinged way, does McCain really want to beat Obama using those tactics?