October 20, 2008

Colorado "Gone" For John McCain Despite Appearances By Sarah Palin?

**Update--McCain campaign responds:
Two senior aides didn't deny that Colorado appeared challenging, but pointed to the two key indicators of any campaign's intent, time and money, to make the case that they were still holding out hopethere.

"We didn't send Gov. Palin there for no reason," said one, a reference to the vice presidential nominee's three rallies across the state today.

Another aide pointed out that the campaign and RNC's independent expenditure committee were both still on the airwaves there

"The combined reported spending of the RNC IE and the campaign is very similar, we trail by very small margins (around $500,000)."
Winning Colorado will be tough, but obviously the campaign thinks that the time and money invested here with Sarah Palin on Monday and the "First Dude" of Alaska, Todd Palin, on Tuesday is more than just a meaningless show of strength in a state they expect to lose.

Despite Sarah Palin's marathon Colorado stumping today--Colorado Springs, Loveland, and Grand Junction--unnamed sources believe the race for Colorado is over, and CNN reports from McCain insiders (h/t Jeremy Pelzer at PolitickerCO):
While Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado are still officially listed as McCain target states, two top strategists and advisers tell CNN that the situation in those states looks increasingly bleak. Iowa and New Mexico always have been viewed as difficult races, but the similar assessment of Colorado reflects a dramatic shift for a campaign that had long counted on the state.

"Gone," was the word one top McCain insider used to describe those three states.

This source said while the polls in Colorado remain close, he and most others in the operation were of the opinion that the Obama campaign and its allies have a far superior ground/turnout operation and "most of us have a hard time counting on Colorado."

Campaign manager Rick Davis is among the dissenters, believing the state remains within reach, several sources in and close to the McCain campaign say.
Pelzer reports that in addition to Davis, other McCain campaign staffers are similarly befuddled by this assessment:
"It's not true," McCain spokesman Tom Kise responded to PolitickerCO.com. "I don't know what the hell they're talking about."

"We see the race tightening both internally and in public polling," said Jill Hazelbaker, McCain's national communications director, in a statement. "We are within striking distance in the key battleground states we need to win."
"Insider" sources are always problematic, even for blogs. Is the campaign already cutting its losses? If so, then why waste a day of Palin blanketing the state, and announce plans for McCain appearing in Colorado later in the week? It makes little sense to believe Pennsylvania is part of the strategy (a state Bush failed to capture twice) but that Colorado is suddenly somehow off the table.

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