April 9, 2008


McCain Manager Looks Ahead To November (Reid Wilson, 4/09/08, Real Clear Politics)

McCain's team is pleased, they maintain, that the map appears to be more open than in any other recent years. "Bush-Kerry, Bush-Gore, I mean they had like ten states that were in play, maybe twelve, that the entire campaign was waged in. I mean we're talking more than twenty," he said, pointing to Democratic-leaning states from Wisconsin and Minnesota, which hasn't voted Republican since 1952, to "everything west of the Mississippi Valley" as a targeted state.

"The big question marks are the West Coast. I mean, is California going to be in play? And obviously, Washington and Oregon have been swing states," he added. Democrats would disagree that any of the three states would be in serious jeopardy, especially as John Kerry had virtually no trouble keeping each in the Democratic fold in 2004.

While in New Mexico, Davis and his staff held one-hour meetings with about twenty of those targeted states, listening to state officials' pitches for help and assessments of local conditions and the campaign's chances. Davis' staff has also worked in recent weeks to integrate campaign operations with the RNC itself, as well as its fundraising arm, the Victory Committee, run by McCain ally and former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina.

Beyond planning for states to target in November, Davis is beginning to consider how to frame the contrast with Barack Obama, and how to beat back attacks from national Democrats. McCain can make the claim that he is the more experienced candidate, Davis said, because his is an experience of bringing change, offering the best of both worlds. "We're not going to concede change to a guy who's not changed anything in his career. John McCain's been the change agent in the United States Senate for 20 years. Nobody's fought for more change in the place, nobody's spent more political blood than he has to get things to happen differently," Davis said. "Barack wants to talk about the future, let's prove it by looking at who's actually made change in the present."

Ronald Reagan may be the only other candidate of the modern era to combine the gravitas of experience and leadership with the street cred of being a political maverick and agent of change.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 9, 2008 12:12 PM

I love how, now, John Kerry is the standard of absolute disaster: "If John Kerry carried a state, the Dems can't possibly lose it this year."

It reminds me of the run-up to '04, in which the Dems claim that Kerry had to win, since no one who voted for Gore would vote for Bush and lots of people who voted for Bush would vote for Kerry. He's a war hero, you know.

Posted by: Ibid at April 9, 2008 7:53 PM

I've been meaning to ask this:

What happens to the 200 million in Hillary's campaign if she loses her bid? Does she get to keep it for herself?

Posted by: Randall Voth at April 10, 2008 2:01 AM