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McCain To Begin Advertising in Michigan

Buoyed by new poll numbers in New Hampshire that show him at the verge of victory, Sen. John McCain will take to the television airwaves in Michigan on Friday as he seeks to build his own path to the Republican presidential nomination.

McCain communications director Jill Hazelbaker confirmed the ad buy when reached by The Fix this afternoon but did not offer details of the media markets in which it will run. (We hear Grand Rapids and Traverse City at the moment.) "We have an early-state strategy and Michigan has always been an important state in our path to victory," she explained.

Michigan's Republican primary will be held on Jan. 15, sandwiched between primaries in New Hampshire on Jan. 8 and South Carolina on Jan. 19. McCain senior strategists see Michigan as a potential momentum-builder for his candidacy as it heads to South Carolina where the senator's 2000 bid ended for all intents and purposes.

Remember that Michigan voters -- like their compatriots in New Hampshire -- have already shown their affinity for McCain, having given him a victory over then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush in the state's 2000 primary. In that race, Bush had the support of the majority of the state's political establishment including then-Gov. John Engler (Mich.). But, as in New Hampshire, McCain attracted a large number of independent voters and just enough Republicans to knock off Bush

Polling in the state of late has shown former Gov. Mitt Romney leading with McCain, former Gov. Mike Huckabee and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani all in low double digits. Romney is the only candidate who has had any steady course of advertising in Michigan; he also has long ties to the state as he was born there and his father served as its governor.

While Romney has real strength in Michigan, if he comes up short in Iowa and New Hampshire, his support could well erode in the days before Michigan votes. If, on the other hand, McCain can win New Hampshire, he would immediately become the focus of the media coverage in the days following the primary. (There's nothing the media likes so much as a comeback story.)

His decision to spend part of his limited resources in Michigan is a sign that McCain and his strategists believe a path to the nomination requires victories in New Hampshire and Michigan followed by a battle with either Romney or Huckabee in South Carolina.

It's a longshot but far more probable today than almost anyone -- The Fix included -- would have believed over the summer when McCain's campaign imploded.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 2, 2008; 3:50 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Fix Picks: What if Iowa Changes Nothing?
Next: FixCam: Three Questions for the Caucuses


Yes, I'm so glad to see John McCain surge back to the top. His path to the nomination is very real & viable right now. 3rd place in Iowa, a win in NH, win in Michigan & a win in Nevada. Honestly, McCain must hope Romney wins Iowa & then he wins the next 3, which is very possible. If Huckabee wins Iowa, then Huck will be the front runner in South Carolina. If Romney wins Iowa & McCain wins the next 3, McCain then has a good shot of running the table to win SC & challenging Rudy in Florida. It will be tough for anyone but Rudy to take Florida, however. This race really takes the cake and can really be called "The Amazing Race", at least until the voting begins tonight.

Posted by: bryant_flier2006 | January 3, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

In case you missed it, McCain was just endorsed by the Detroit News.

Posted by: donttreadonme | January 3, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Spectator2, you have to keep in mind the DC suburb when thinking of Virginia. VA has been trending more purple year after year and Democrats have the momentum right now (both nationally and in VA). I didn't conduct the polls, just reporting them as there is some strange belief out there that Romney is somehow electable in the general.

Posted by: donttreadonme | January 3, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse


Thank God you came through that experience, hope you have an uneventful drive back.

Even here in NE FLorida we had a hard freeze last night. Took my granddaughter to school this morning and saw ice. But, it will be back to 75F by early next week.

bhoomes - I think Romney will collapse like a cheap tent if he does not finish first in Iowa and New Hampshire. Have you had a chance to check out that Brooks column from the other day? I think he hits it squarely on the head as to why Romney would lose.

lylepink - The Republicans supporting Obama are doing so because they want him to be President. Your notion of a significant number of Republicans supporting Obama in order to produce a weaker nominee in the general election is delusional IMHO.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 3, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

John McCain just can't save a system he worked so hard to create. He is a career politician that really should focus on Arizona's poor education system and weak border! If he can't bring solutions to AZ, and he bring them to USA?

Posted by: voiceoreason | January 2, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Lyle, without the benefit of your crystal ball it's hard to say for sure, but I think there may be an outside possibility that the Republican in question may have simply changed his mind about whom to support. I think Iowa is one of the states in which that's still allowed. Also - respectfully - I think what you describe is an opinion. A "proof" would have to be supported with facts.
(please note - the lower case font and lack of quotation marks indicates that here I am using the word 'fact' with its traditional meaning, i.e. 'a piece of information whose accuracy has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.')

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 2, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

bobtom - assuming you are right, will Ds vote their "favorite" R or the one they think is weak?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 2, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

CC-just to confirm what you are saying, no McCain ad's airing in the detroit area.but romney is just warming up his ad blitz now. its possible McCain is trying to garner indy and gop votes in the state.

theres a senario im kicking around right now that if huckboom wins iowa tomorrow, it would leave NH and Mi open for McCain. Romney is begining to look like a paper tiger and he loses the first 3 or 4 states, he might as well pack it in and go home.

judge-glad to hear your alright, black ice is no joke especially where im at right now.

prediction? iowa caucus: 1st Obama,2nd Edwards and 3rd Hillary and for the gop-1st huckboom,2nd Romney and 3rd Paul

Posted by: jaymills1124 | January 2, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Why is everyone ignoring the "fact" that with the Michigan Democratic primary being irrelevant that Dems will vote in the Republican ones? I'd probably prefer to vote in the Dem one, but I'll likely end up voting for McCain instead...

Posted by: bobtom222 | January 2, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

NBC Nightly news just had a Repub on that had voted for GW both times and is now campaigning for Obama. This at least PROVES my point that many Repubs are supporting Obama in these early states in an effort to stop Hillary. I can almost state with 100% accuracy these folks would not vote for Obama in the GE. I am not wrong very many times and I sure have been correct on this one, and that is a "FACT".

Posted by: lylepink | January 2, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, Lyle, Mike (especially), Mark: thanks very much for your sentiments. I feel like the blog just sent me a get well card even though I'm not sick (knock on wood). I still have the drive home to deal with now and the temperature is once again 16 F!

Posted by: judgeccrater | January 2, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Well LSU and Ohio State are both in the national championship, so why not McCain?

It is interesting.

McCain has done everything right. The other candidates, like the other football teams, have failed to close the deal when they have had the chance. So we are back at McCain, who ironically is the best choice.

I believe if you took a secret poll of all the Republican candidates, asked them who they would vote for (and not themselves) they would all vote for McCain.

AND I honestly believe that all the canidates would hesitate not one minute in that choice, and know the answer right away. This country is lucky to have McCain right here right now.

Posted by: Miata7 | January 2, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

judge, glad you are OK.

CC, if you were on Rick Davis' email list you would have known this was going to happen, right now, last week.

What Rick has left open is FL - as of last week, McC did not have funds for FL.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 2, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

judge -- though we seldom agree on politics, I'm glad you're OK too.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Why not spread the McCain surge around?

Posted by: parkerfl | January 2, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

judgeccrater: I have 16 showing on my puter screen now and don't think it reached 20, but with the wind chill factor it is about 0 to 5. I am in Huntington and the snow is so dry it is almost like a powder. Glad you are OK.

Posted by: lylepink | January 2, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps more voters like McCains's policies and plans. Not everyone wants a defeated USA.

Posted by: gary4books | January 2, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I said something like this on EJ's Precinct already, but McCain looks poised to do well in Iowa despite not really campaigning there. Seems to me that a strong 3rd place on Iowa without much effort combined with a Huckabee win could really make Romney damaged goods.

Posted by: arlingtontwb | January 2, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Polling hypothetical general election matchups during the primaries is beyond ridiculous. Such polls have very little, if any, genuine predictive value. They begin as self-promoting deception by pollsters and end as self-promoting deception by whatever candidates happen to benefit.

Posted by: Kurt_Evans | January 2, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"I just cannot see the Republican Party nominating McCain. I'll believe it when I see it. The smart money is on Romney taking the Oath in Jan 09."

You left out a few steps there. Funny post, though!

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 2, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I just cannot see the Republican Party nominating McCain. I'll believe it when I see it. The smart money is on Romney taking the Oath in Jan 09.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 2, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

'Scary especially since it involved a glancing collision with a tractor-trailer carrying construction equipment'

jeezus. close call. glad you made it okay. I've noticed in accidents that everything seems to slow down, and somehow one is able to be clear headed and calm. Once on an icy freeway, a horse trailer with two horses n it became detachd from the truck pulling it. i was dirctly behind and had to dodge it as it went wildly zizzaging backwards. i did manage to avoid it somehow, but when i rememer it, it is still like in a slow motion dream.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

donttreadonme: Those Virginia results looks mighty suspicious. Virginia has certainly be trending blue or at least purple, but I can't see Clinton winning it over any of those guys, certainly not war hero McCain.

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 2, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

'There's nothing the media likes so much as a chance to be lazy.'

ha ha I love it

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

"There's nothing the media likes so much as a comeback story."

And isn't that what really matters in the end? The media loves a comeback. So they engineer comebacks by calling the slightest problems evidence of a candidate's demise, months before any votes are actually cast. Then when the candidate defies their baseless predictions of failure, the media can describe it as a comeback. That covers a few months of by-the-numbers political reporting, without requiring any research or analysis. There's nothing the media likes so much as a chance to be lazy.

Posted by: Blarg | January 2, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

McCain is Republican with the best positioned to defeat the Democratic nominee. shows key battleground states differences.

Virginia - Clinton 53% vs Romney 40%
Clinton 52% vs Giuliani 42%
Clinton 48% vs McCain 46%

Ohio - Clinton 51% vs Romney 40%
Clinton 49% vs Giuliani 40%
Clinton 50% vs McCain 46%

McCain polls better in the other 8 battleground states too and is the only Republican to defeat Clinton in any of the state polls that were taken in late December (he's up 6 in Kentucky and 7 in Wisconsin).

Posted by: donttreadonme | January 2, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Drindl: OK, I'm in OH and it was 16 F when I went off the road. Scary especially since it involved a glancing collision with a tractor-trailer carrying construction equipment. I am now the proud owner of a large hole in my car (it's still drivable, though). Survival mode kicked in and I was calm until about 10 minutes later while I was on the phone with my insurance company and got the shakes.

Could have been much worse if I had spun into the freeway instead of away from it. The tractor-trailer collision was a blessing in disguise. No, I don't think the driver even noticed; probably thought he hit a pothole.

Posted by: judgeccrater | January 2, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, oil hit $100 a barrel for the first time today. Gonna be a long cold winter for a lotta folks who just aren't going to be able to pay 3 times as much for heat this year as last.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

judge -- did you know that the more rudy advertised in NH, the lower his numbers dropped? once people get to know him it's all downhill.

your car thing this morning sounded pretty scary. where are you again and how cold is it?

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"It's a longshot but far more probable today than almost anyone -- The Fix included -- would have believed over the summer..."

The rest of the story is that this was enabled largely by the out-and-out crapiness of the remainder of the GOP field. Rudy Guiliani being Exhibit A.

Posted by: judgeccrater | January 2, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

mitt uses chuckie to bash huck:

'(CNN) -- Mike Huckabee and Chuck Norris may be the political odd couple of this campaign season, but now Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney is trying to use the action star to try to score points against the former Arkansas governor.

In a new Web video, "Roundhouse kick," the Romney campaign uses the format that's become familiar over several weeks of anti-Huckabee spots. "Two good men, both into fitness. Both love Chuck Norris," says the announcer.

"But where do they stand on crime? Chuck Norris: 'give a presidential pardon to no one, ever.' Norris subdues criminals with just an icy stare."

"And Mike Huckabee? He granted 1,033 pardons and commutations, including 12 convicted murderers. Huckabee granted more clemencies than the previous three governors combined. Chuck Norris, Mike Huckabee. Now who deserves the roundhouse kick?"

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

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