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McCain's Election Strategy, YouTubed

So do you want to know all about John McCain's general election strategy and have 14 minutes to spare? You're in luck:

The "McCain 2008 Strategy Briefing" is voiced by campaign manager Rick Davis, who admits the political environment is "among the worst for in modern history for Republicans."

Highlights from the video briefing:

-- McCain's "image ratings far surpass those of Barack Obama. He's viewed more favorably than Obama is. His favorablity ratings are the highest of any official running for office today."

-- "The GOP brand troubles have created a larger group of independent voters that we need to appeal to this election cycle than normal. No longer can a Republican candidate win by just running up the score with our base. We need to reach out to independents and disaffected Democrats, because they now represent the largest portion of swing voters, and the greatest electoral bloc up for grabs."

-- Davis says the economy "will be the battleground in this year's election."

-- The campaign sees 24 battleground states with 242 electoral votes: Arizona (!!), Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington State, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

-- "We are operational in 23 states, and over the next four months, we will open over 500 offices in the targeted states alone."

-- "We've managed to learn how to keep our overhead low, and do more with less. Today Obama has over 800 employees, and we have 250 hearty souls."

-- "We are competitive financially, we have a strong organization, and our candidate is poised in the polls to win in November."

Make sure to review Dan Balz's Sunday story previewing the general election and McCain's strategy for winning. Balz also discusses his piece in Monday's Post Politics Podcast.

-- Ed O'Keefe

By Ed O'Keefe |  June 9, 2008; 10:32 AM ET John McCain
Previous: Democrats Target 'McCain's Lobbyist Friends' | Next: Clinton Says Thank You and Goodbye


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Posted by: Foggerty | June 9, 2008 12:00 PM

remember these words ...

McCain is going to lose

and lose big

Posted by: DipChill | June 9, 2008 12:35 PM

I don't understand this strategy. McCain is basically stating "everyting is ok" we are going to win.

Wasn't this Hillary's strategy?

Posted by: Scott | June 9, 2008 12:43 PM

CT and CA? i want what you're smoking davis.
lunacy that Bush III will be competitive in those 'battleground' states. the free ride is OVER!

Posted by: conscriptor | June 9, 2008 12:45 PM

McCain will be vetted soon...and will go down in flames.

Also, possibly losing AZ is not a good sign.

McCain has already flip-flopped twice, on diplomacy and tax breaks.

McCain will be bled dry by the Obama strategy...get your pocketbooks open GOP base, you are all he has left...

Posted by: Jason | June 9, 2008 12:48 PM

Code for: We can't and won't raise very much money.

"We've managed to learn how to keep our overhead low, and do more with less. Today Obama has over 800 employees, and we have 250 hearty souls."

Posted by: Jason | June 9, 2008 12:49 PM

Just say NO to "SONGBIRD"

Posted by: RaferJanders | June 9, 2008 12:51 PM

Can you imagine if the Dem candidate was a POW....made propaganda films for the enemy.....then came home to collect $58,000 tax free from the government for disabilty every year since Vietnam?

The Republicans would tear him apart and he would be laughed out of the race.

Yet here we are....how odd.

Posted by: Jason | June 9, 2008 12:54 PM


New Jersey, Wisconsin and Minnesota???

C'mon Mr. Davis, are you lying to McCain or just to yourself?

I can't wait for the debates when John McBush will attempt to justify his on-going support for the Iraq War and his master's other f'ed up policies.


Posted by: Frank | June 9, 2008 1:02 PM

McCain is gonna go down hard, and dozens of Congressional Republicans will fall behind him. This is like '96, with Republicans picking a cranky, tired old war horse with no program like Bob Dole. '96, did I say? No. It's beginning to smell like 1932!

Posted by: Tom in California | June 9, 2008 1:06 PM

McCain is a flip-flopper. Before he was against deficits and then he endorsed GW and voted for debt ceiling increases.

Posted by: Jay | June 9, 2008 1:10 PM

Of course, there is always the McCain campaign's most reliable strategy in winning this election... the DIEBOLD VOTING MACHINES.

Posted by: WilyUSA | June 9, 2008 1:11 PM

Obama hasn't got a chance. Republicans have not even begun to publicize his voting record. His keepers can't protect him from himself (remember he says there are 57 American states!) Michelle can't wait to verbalize her views. He hasn't denied his sympathies for Islam (no doubt he will...just as he finally quit his church of many years.) How many non-minorities to you really think will vote for this candidate behind the polling curtain? Democrats are counting on a completely dumb-downed electorate. Thank-God we're not there...not quite yet.

Posted by: Texican | June 9, 2008 1:12 PM

McCain is going to lose in a landslide to Obama, America wont be stupid enough to go through another 4 years of Bushes agenda.

Posted by: Michael | June 9, 2008 1:13 PM

Wow, Texican, you have is so backwards I don't know where to start...but since you are from Texas you have an excuse for being so out of touch with America. You are forgiven in your cluelessness.

Every commnet you made is either false or uninformed.

Posted by: Jason | June 9, 2008 1:15 PM

Texican said: "Republicans have not even begun to publicize his voting record"

Yes they have....no one cares. This election will be about issues and McCain will be BURIED!

Posted by: King, PA | June 9, 2008 1:17 PM

Here we go again. I warned Republicans when they started breaking for McCain earlier this year that they were just repeating 1996 all over again. The sad thing is, he's still the best they've got this cycle. I give him credit for hanging in there in the polls as long as he has.

Posted by: Wayneinky | June 9, 2008 1:17 PM

Millions of Democrats giving small donations have made a resounding political statement by out raising the wealthy Republican corporate donors who are keeping John McCain's campaign afloat. I'll stop contributing my $50-$100 per month to Obama only after the incompetents and thugs are driven from the White House in November.

Posted by: Tom in Alabama | June 9, 2008 1:18 PM

McCain will win because he is the better candidate. Barack Hussein Obama talks about a change with no substance whatsoever. He is a wizard of OZ of US politics.

McCain believes in free trade, he respects immigrants. Knows that simply leaving Iraq would be disastrous. If US voters fall for a populist candidate with no real substance, Obama will be the next president. If they for once, sit down and study the issues at hand, they will undoubtedly conclude that McCain is the best choice for 2008.

For the sake of the entire world, let us hope McCain wins the presidency.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 1:21 PM

As a Republican, I think we can all agree McCain isn't our first choice. That being said, there is no way in HELL I would vote for Obama. He is too wet behind the ears, a relative unknown. I'm all for a fresh face, but not at the expense of being naive! Everytime he speaks, he show yet again that he is clueless. You can't fake experience. He has NONE. You wouldn't hire him to run any major corporation in America because he has NO EXPERIENCE.

Then toss in 20 years of listening to a RACIST behind the pulpit... scary. Sorry Obama, 1 day of denouncing Wright doesn't erase 20 years of cheering him on.

Wake up America! There are plenty of strong, successful, black politicians that I would be proud to stand behind. You don't need to vote for the first guy that comes along just because he's black. Thats just as racist as not voting for him because hes black.

Posted by: M King | June 9, 2008 1:21 PM

The GOP had 8 years in power, and look what they did to this country... Everything is screwed up (economy, immigration, war, health care, deficit, etc...) Bush only made things worse. I would be very very surprised if McCain wins. Are Americans really that happy with the direction their country is going in to elect ANOTHER republican with a similar agenda?

Posted by: Aaron | June 9, 2008 1:22 PM

John McCain is going to win and win big, I remember the Dems saying the same thing how Bush was going to lose big and killed Kerry in the election , samething here my friends , vote McCain a leader we can believe in .

Posted by: jim smith | June 9, 2008 1:23 PM

My advice to my GOP friends, run, run and run away as far as you can from John McCain and G W BUSH. Obama is going to lunch and link both together and it does not look good from where I stand.

Posted by: Lionel | June 9, 2008 1:25 PM

First of all, if this isn't the most boring method of communicating to voters, I don't know what is. Ooh, PowerPoint! How inspiring! But if your base is a bunch of stuffy CEOs who guard their wallets with their lives, then maybe it is.

More importantly, what's the data behind these charts & graphs? Who are these voters? How many and when were they polled? Davis is comparing McCain running unopposed versus Obama running against a nearly indefatigable opponent in a primary campaign. That ain't apples to apples.

This is yet further evidence that the Republicans are still telling themselves pretty stories that they want to hear -- as opposed to the truth.

Posted by: jcw | June 9, 2008 1:26 PM

I want my country back from this "elite" social group (Bushes, McCain, Republicans). I'm sick of them treating me like I'm some moron from the streets with no intelligence and no ability to think on my own. Time to let others run the show!!

I'm also donating about 50-100 bucks a month to Obama!

Posted by: Luis B | June 9, 2008 1:29 PM

Does it really matter, come on be honest with yourself. Does it really matter?

Gas prices will still be high
We will still be in Iraq
Everyone won't have health insurance
We will still be in Iraq
The Democrats will still control Congress
We will still be in Iraq
The housing market will still be bad
We will still be in Iraq
The Dollar will be weak
We will still be in Iraq
Global Warming will kill us all
We will still be in Iraq

Get the picture!

Posted by: Sgt13Echo | June 9, 2008 1:39 PM

Come on now - McCain is the strongest candidate for the economy...remember the gas tax holiday? What a great economic idea! And so far from a political election year stunt!


Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 1:41 PM

This is so bad, it has to be a fake, e.g., the strategy is to inspire false confidence in the opposition by promising to play fair and by leaking this lame Powerpoint presentation.

"250 hearty souls"... Whew. I guess you have to go to war with the army you have.

Posted by: Brad Eleven | June 9, 2008 1:41 PM

This will be a close race. Pundits & campaign officials are still trying to figure out what constitutes a swing state this year. Obama can win this election without Ohio or Florida, though it'll mean picking up a few other states. Likewise, McCain needs to grab states like Michigan to pull it off. Bob Barr might draw enough Republicans to mute the effect of Hillary crossover voters. Neither candidate is inevitable.

Posted by: cwmaxson | June 9, 2008 1:47 PM


Previous experience has no correlation to a good or bad president. There is no trend in the data. There is no example of an experienced president doing a good job that doesn't have an antithesis.

Candidate 1: 20+ years of experience

Candidate 2: 6 years months state legislature, and 2 in the senate.

Who do you choose for president?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 1:47 PM

I just have chance for naturalization ceremony today, and the most important right I gain right away is the voting right.
Since 1996, I constantly vote for Dem candidate (count by myself, not official), Clinton win the first, then Gore lost the second, Kerry lost the third), see, I am a pure Dem, right.
Here it is my profile, Asia American, middle class, high education, first generation immigrator, sounds like a Obama supporter, NO, I am fully support the Hillary, after her loss, I am independent now.
What I will do when McCain claim that he will win at Nov, should I back Obama, or just idle on sideline.
I think both candidate must their detailed policy, and not only their slogan.
For McCain, I like his immigration policy, give the immigrator the fair and equal chance to be unified in this country. For Obama, I like to know what kind of change he can bring to the White House, so far, I did even see one important bill he raised, please, show me your record.
Bottom line is, no matter who win over, he should put our nation's interesting first (not the group interesting first), should encourage the young generation to be more competible in this new world, should be tough for the evil, but be nice for the good.
Let's wait and see.

Posted by: Dave | June 9, 2008 1:50 PM

Well well, I'd say that power point is impressive. He made his argument, and he backed it with his points. I can see how people would be easily persuaded if they don't have minds to question it so as to not fall prey (and that's not AT ALL an insult - at least not intended).

I suppose that is the man's job, to piece together some strategy, and make your case. At the least, he's trying. He's supposed to do that. I understand.

I've been watching, and I've been thinking ...

For starters, he came to some conclusions, even given the fact that votes were cast between these two Democratic candidates when obviously we still had two choices to choose from. I didn't see where he included an argument that even goes about estimating how much will be united in opposition to McCain after the fact, therefore increasing Obama's % more than he showed. Furthermore, Obama and McCain have only begun the actual general election campaign, although we've seen the two toss differing arguments in recent times past. When these candidates pick their VP running mates, when the nation sees the views of these two in more debates, choices will be very clear. I imagine the majority of us will vote based on the issues and who we trust to carry out our wishes. I honestly believe McCain, being a Republican unlike Hagel, will find himself in a more defensive position. He's already flip-flopping with "all of his experience." Time will tell. I have more questions as well. None less, I do give him credit for laying out his strategy. That is indeed his job.

Democrats are not weak this year, regardless of which was chosen. I do believe that this year, the Democrats have the upper hand.

Posted by: Obama2008 | June 9, 2008 1:53 PM

The Republican Party is so far off base with the will of the people that they don't even want to address the problems with their own party. Most Republicans have not been conservative for many years. If Ron Paul was their candidate I would vote Republican. Without him I will go Democrat or stay home. In Idaho I am proud to say that Dr. Paul recently received 24% of the vote, which is his highest primary % so far.... When you look into McCain's history you will find that he was almost at the bottom of his class in the Academy, wreck multiple Aircrafts, ejected improperly (which caused his injuries he called torture), was nicknamed SONGBIRD by the Vietnamese(do your own research on that one), made propaganda Videos for the Vietnamese .....He is a bad tempered old man that believes War is a solution not a problem.

Posted by: ID_Repulicat | June 9, 2008 1:57 PM

Republicans for Obama!

Posted by: McCain isn't my choice | June 9, 2008 2:05 PM

Well I'm old enough to remember the Carter administration. And let me tell you, I'd rather have another Bush administration then a 2nd Carter administration which is what we'd get with Obama.

And secondly, and trust me on this folks, Obama will not become the next President. It's not because he's Black and it's not because he's inexperienced. It's because he's a dangerous far-left Marxist, who will impose ever higher taxes and a Nanny-state on the American People and who will capitulate to the Isamo-facists. There is no way this man can become President.

Posted by: BobKaye | June 9, 2008 2:10 PM


Posted by: MATT | June 9, 2008 2:20 PM

My grandfather served - he was the very first person to tell me that Iraq was a terrible idea; before we actually went.

He is dissapointed that McCain was, and still is, all for it.

Sorry, MATT.

Posted by: oops | June 9, 2008 2:28 PM

Hey Matt,
I have talked to my dad about Vietnam, and I will tell you that for sure his words did not bring me closer to voting for McCain. Also on that topic I reccommend you do some research and go to:


These Vietnam Vets

Posted by: ID_Repulicat | June 9, 2008 2:29 PM

I don't know how McCain could manage to lose on issues as he seems to have proven that he is FOR as well as AGAINST all of them. Quite a feat further proving how adept a politician he truly is.

Posted by: RRK | June 9, 2008 3:30 PM

Texican - how about getting your facts straight before trashing someone.

Obama didn't say there was 57 states.

He actually said:

"I've been in 57 states, with one more to go...Alaska and Hawaii I wasn't allowed to go to."

SO if you actually take what he said as absolute truth....Obama believes there are 60 States, not 57.

Unless you are like me, and relaized that he, like all of us, makes mistakes and meant to say "47"

47 + one more to go + Alaska and Hawaii = 50 states.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 3:40 PM

I see that the quote looks like I omitted something. Here it is in full:

"I've been in 57 States, with one more to go. One more to go (pause) Alaska and Hawaii I wasn't allowed to go to."

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2008 3:46 PM

real inspiring stuff in this u-tubes video, is that like a u-boat?
Obama won 33 contests versus Hillary. McCain won 34 and he ran unopposed for 2.5 months. He can't raise cash, he has a third of the field people, he can't get his own senators to endorse him, he pulls in whopping 100s of people for his I guess you would call them speeches, he ain't the sharpest tool in the shed and now he gives Obama all the power by begging him to town hall w/ him. Can you smell the toast!?

Posted by: Sidney McCain | June 9, 2008 4:04 PM

Hillary Women for Obama!
Yes we can!

Posted by: Marge | June 9, 2008 4:05 PM

Posted by: Now this is you tube | June 9, 2008 4:07 PM

Obama is the worst and more leftwing nominee that the Democrats have put forth, ever.

Just as Hillary won in PA despite being outspent, Obama's Soros-funded campaign millions will not sway middle America to support this zero accomplishment leftist.


Posted by: Obama's Racist pastor | June 9, 2008 4:21 PM

The Democrat had 2 years in power in Congress, and look what they did to this country... Everything is worse (economy, immigration, war, health care, deficit, etc...) Yet they keep bleating like sheep: "Bush only made things worse."

Sooner or later the people will wake up and realize liberal Democrat Pelosi is the Speaker and the Democrats are as much to blame for anything going wrong as Bush in the last year.

If we are going to turn out the incumbents, it is time to dump the Democrat majority in Congress.

Posted by: Obama's Racist Pastor | June 9, 2008 4:25 PM


Well I'm old enough to remember the Carter administration. And let me tell you, I'd rather have another Bush administration then a 2nd Carter administration which is what we'd get with Obama."

Obama is a zero accomplishment, inexperienced left-wing junior Senator with an elitist view of traditional America and radical socialist endorsements and associates. He is even worse than Carter was.

Posted by: PJ | June 9, 2008 4:32 PM

Republicans this, republicans that. Blah, blah, blah.

Posted by: JF | June 9, 2008 7:08 PM

LOL - the quote from "Tom in Alabama" almost made me PMP

"I'll stop contributing my $50-$100 per month to Obama only after the incompetents and thugs are driven from the White House in November.

Tom, you do Alabama a service!

Posted by: SonOfHistoryProf | June 9, 2008 8:07 PM

In as neutral a tone as I can state this, I'd like to point out a minor issue/error with some of the presentation's graphs: Specifically, in the poll where people were asked to place themselves and the candidates on a political spectrum, there were only four options: Very conservative, Conservative, Moderate, and Liberal -- but not Very liberal. If they'd thought to include that, they would have a full five-point spectrum which would give them a better sense of the information they were after. (Whether it would have made Obama look better is another matter.) I suppose that if you work for McCain, the thought of very liberal Americans is so troubling you don't even consider it... or something like that.

All I can say for sure is neither candidate can count on this race. It should be exciting the whole way through!

Posted by: Lenoxus | June 12, 2008 10:21 PM

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