Wednesday, October 22, 2008

For McCain, it may all come down to Pennsylvania

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It wasn't all that long ago -- actually, about two and a half weeks ago -- that the McCain campaign pulled out of Michigan and set its sights on three key battleground states: Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. (Although he was behind quite decisively in all three.)

Well, it now looks like it's all about Pennsylvania. As Jim Rutenberg of NYT's The Caucus is reporting, McCain is reducing his advertising in five heretofore battleground states: New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Colorado, Maine and Minnesota. The expectation is that he will "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."

It is not clear if he is actually giving up on these states, but it does seem that his new "path to victory" requires a win in Pennsylvania (where Hillary did well and where Gov. Rendell is "still a little nervous"). Nate Silver explains (drawing on Al Giordano). Basically, it's yet another Hail Mary, with McCain, who may soon bring up Jeremiah Wright as a racially-charged last-ditch smear of Obama, focusing on Appalachia and the South in hopes of winning Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina.

There are other ways for McCain to win, or for Obama to lose, as Noam Scheiber suggests, but it's pretty clear the McCain campaign has run out of ideas.

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