McCain Playing Defense in Arizona

Posted: October 30, 2008 in 2008 Elections, Barack Obama, John McCain
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If you need proof that the McCain campaign is taking the tightening poll numbers in Arizona seriously, here it is:

John McCain and the Republican National Committee are now running robocalls attacking Obama as weak on terrorism — in McCain’s home state of Arizona, according to multiple readers from the state.

The call signals genuine worry about McCain’s home state at a time when several polls show the race to be much closer than expected there.

McCain’s robocall, which was played to us over the phone by Mary Joe Bartel, a retiree who lives south of Tucson, attacks Obama as unprepared to defend the country from terrorism, singling out Joe Biden’s recent remarks about the likelihood of Obama being tested by an international crisis early in his first term.

This is extraordinary. It may seem like I’m being hard on McCain, but the sad reality is his campaign is a trainwreck happening in slow motion. If Obama had to spend time and money this late in the game to defend Illinois, I would be saying exactly the same thing. Looks like we may be in for a few more surprises on Election Day.

Update: According to Richard Wolffe, the Obama campaign is looking at the numbers and considering its options to make a last-minute push to contest the state – in the form of ads, staff and volunteers on the ground, or a visit from the candidate himself.

Obama’s war of attrition strategy, which he used effectively against Hillary Clinton, might work here as well. If he spends money on advertising or makes a campaign visit to Arizona, he may force McCain to have to reciprocate to compete with the media attention and to solidify his support there. In doing so, it forces McCain to use some of the limited time and resources he has left to defend a state he should have locked up in his column, instead of spending time in more competitive states like Ohio, Missouri and Florida.


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