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Friday Line: McCain's Best Strategic Moves

With Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) locked in a seemingly endless fight for the Democratic nomination, The Fix is taking a pass on the vice presidential Line this month. There's too much uncertainty -- even for us. (If you really need your vice presidential Fix, study last month's veep Line; there will be a quiz.)

As Obama and Clinton slug it out, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) has the general election field all to himself -- a state of play that could last for two more weeks or as much as four months.

What should McCain do with the time he has been given to strengthen his candidacy for the general election? We put that question to a number of strategists and operatives in both parties. Their top ten ideas -- coupled with a few of The Fix's own thoughts -- are below.

A caveat: Not all of these suggestions -- or perhaps none of them -- will come to pass. We asked our sources to think outside the box to start a conversation. We want to hear your thoughts about the strengths and weaknesses of the ideas below.

To the Line!

10. Resign From the Senate: Running for president from the Senate is a bad idea. First, there's the history of it -- no sitting senator has been elected president since 1960. Second, the Democrats who control the chamber will do everything they can to complicate McCain's life, forcing him to vote on controversial measures. (Third, how great would another competitive Senate race be for political junkies? Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) versus Rep. John Shadegg (R), anyone?) Of course, resigning from the Senate to focus on the presidential race full time isn't full proof. See Dole, Bob.

9. Stop Criticizing Outside Groups: McCain may not like all of the outside money coursing through the system but in an election where he is likely to be badly outspent by the Democratic nominee and his (or her) allied groups, McCain needs some third party spending on his side as a counterweight. McCain has made his disdain for 527s and 501(c)(4)s clear over the past few years, and the donors who fund these groups know it. Republican strategists worry that if McCain is too tough on these conservative aligned groups the donors may take their money and walk away, a situation that many GOP operatives would equate to fighting the general election with one hand tied behind their backs.

8. Court Blue Collars: Even Obama's staunchest supporters privately acknowledge that he will have some work to do to win over blue collar white voters if he winds up as the Democratic nominee. McCain should make Obama's task more difficult by spending the next weeks (or months) making it clear to blue collar voters that he understands their concerns and will stand up for them if elected. McCain is already doing some of this with his "forgotten places" tour -- a trip that has taken him to Kentucky, Ohio and Arkansas.

7. Tell the Story: McCain's greatest strength in this contest is his long resume of service to the country. Of course, that same long resume means that McCain has been around a long time and, at 72, would be the oldest president ever inaugurated to a first term. With Obama and Clinton otherwise occupied, the Arizona senator's campaign should make sure that voters in swing states focus on McCain the war hero not McCain the septuagenarian. One suggestion from a GOP consultant: cut an extended biographical video (10-15 minutes long), put it on You Tube and try to drive young independents to it.

6. Pick the Playing Field: There's a huge amount of debate in the Democratic party about how different the electoral map would look depending on who they nominate. Exacerbate those concerns by starting to advertise on television in selected swing states. (McCain has already done some of that by running TV ads in New Mexico, Pennsylvania and southern Ohio.) Complement the ad campaign with appearances by the candidate in the state -- stops sure to draw scads of coverage on local television and in smaller newspapers. (Game out your own general election scenarios on our interactive electoral college map.)

5. Research Thyself: Since Clinton and Obama seem perfectly content to air one another's dirty laundry, McCain should turn the full efforts of his research department on himself. Figure out every negative nook and cranny that Democrats will seek to exploit and decide how the candidate (and the campaign) will respond. Moreover, have television ads ready to go to respond to the four or five most likely attacks from either the Democratic nominee or other Democratic-affiliated groups. The 2000 and 2004 presidential campaign brought the phrase "rapid response" into the political lexicon; the 2008 general election will take the concept to new heights.

4. Control the Convention: The next time the average voter will pay close attention to McCain is at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota in early September. The Democrats' best case convention scenario is some low-level grumbling from the supporters of the candidate not picked; worst case is an all-out floor fight between backers of Clinton and Obama. McCain should make the GOP convention the model of unity and cohesion; not let any free agents steal the story with inflammatory speeches that will distract from the message the Arizona senator's campaign wants to convey to voters. Scrutinize every element of the convention -- from speech-givers to staging. Then go over it again.

3. Bash Bush: It's no secret that Democrats will paint McCain as the heir to the presidency of George W. Bush -- particularly when it comes to the war in Iraq. (Liberal groups are already hard at work tying Bush's unpopularity around McCain's ankles.) McCain needs badly to convince voters that while he may support the President on some issues, he is not a Bush Republican. While remaking the Republican brand before November may be too high a bar even for McCain, he must convince voters that the outgoing president doesn't define the party. McCain may have already gotten the message: His outspoken criticism of the President's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina drew massive press coverage on Thursday.

2. Pick Early: The vice presidential pick is usually not made (or at least made public) until days before the party convention. By picking his ticket mate early this summer, McCain would draw a stark contrast with Democrats; while Clinton and Obama continue to fight it out for the Democratic nomination, McCain and his vice presidential pick would present a united front to the American people. It could also have a number of positive practical implications. McCain and his running mate could double the amount of ground covered in a day of campaigning and having a vice presidential pick in place could also help McCain to raise money as the candidate chosen could tap his (or her) own dedicated donors.

1. Collect Cash: Even though McCain is apparently accepting public financing for the general election, that doesn't remove the onus of collecting cash. McCain has never relished raising money and his underfunded run to the Republican presidential nomination may have solidified the idea in his mind that he doesn't need to do it. But, he does. Badly. McCain needs to make sure that the Republican National Committee is as well funded as possible so that the voter identification, contact and turnout operations traditionally run by the party are taken care of. More RNC money can put more states in play -- the kind of flexibility McCain needs for an electoral map in flux.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 25, 2008; 8:17 AM ET
Categories:  The Line  
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Next: DNC Officials Huddle With Clinton, Obama Campaigns

Comments

McCain wouldbe best served by Huckabee!!

Posted by: crhughes | April 28, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure if resigning from the Senate will do McCain any good. Would it help Clinton or Obama? It sure helped Bob Dole in 1996. (sarcasm)

McCain should not criticize the 527 groups because he co-sponsored the law that made them possible. He should just ignore the campaign finance issue because McCain-Feingold has made the problem worse.

Everyone knows that McCain was a POW. If he runs it into the ground he could become a joke as John Kerry did by overemphasizing his Vietnam record.

If he announces his VP choice now it would destroy any suspense the the convention might have. It would be better to decide now and then keep interest up until the convention. Meanwhile, he should be doing due diligence on all the prospective candidates.

Bashing Bush would be overkill because people realize that McCain and Bush have differences. Obama or Clinton trying to use the third term for Bush argument is a losing issue as is McCain's attempt to criticize Obama for not taking public financing. McCain should not discourage the Democratic candidates from using the losing third term for Bush argument.

A lot of these suggestions are obvious such as controlling the convention. How much does he really need to control the GOP convention since few people will watch it other than the acceptance speeches of the candidates. What happens during the rest of the convention is irrelevant because no one will be watching. There will probably be some attempts by Ron Paul supporters to bring up issues. He should just let them speak because no one will be watching ninety percent of the time.

Summary: Few people will watch the GOP convention so unless a train wreck happens inside the hall it will not have much impact.

You don't need a masters in political science to advise McCain to target key states or to note that he needs to appeal to blue collar voters. The job of attracting blue collar votes will be a lot easier if Obama is the nominee because he has created the persona of being an elitist.

I will offer a suggestion of my own.

McCain should conserve his money now and save up because he is going to be heavily outspent the the Democratic nominee whoever it is. Spending money on television ads now for an election that is seven months away may not be productive.

Posted by: Daniel Hancock | April 28, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

While everyone thinks McCain has an advantage does he really. He hasn't had any opposition for 6 plus weeks still he struggles to get core Republicans into his corner ( note less than 75% in Penn primary)

His moves have been to repudiate many of his firmly believed stands like tax cuts. So he will alienate the moderates and the independents. Plus he is firmly tied into solving the Iraq war while Afganistan the real center of the war on terror is quickly moving into oblivion.

His economic policy now mirrors Bush and in many ways he has walked lockstep with Bush on military issues if anything nore agressive.

His command of foreign policy his strength is laughable. Kicking Russia out of the G8 and adding Brazil & India while ignoring China.

His one strength may be with the latino community because of his geographical location and his policy on illegal immigration. He may flip flop on that as well. Plus that regional strength could be negated by if Obama wins selecting Richardson as the VP candidate.

Cam

Posted by: Cam | April 27, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

LABC:

I was only relating my experience with e-mails from the different campaigns. You can infer whatever you want -- I thought HRC's campaign did a better job trying to connect with me than BHO's campaign.

I like reading spin by supporters of failing campaigns as much as the next person, but really...
Posted by: LABC | April 27, 2008 9:10 AM

I actually thought BHO was doing pretty well since he's leading in delegates, states, and popular vote. But if you say he's failing, please let me know what metrics you are using because they are clearly different than those used by most people.


Posted by: mnteng | April 27, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

bondjedi:

"If I ran as a candidate some guy sitting in his basement e-mailing millions offers on Vigra and mortgage refinancing, would you pick him over Obama?"

You really don't have any idea who I voted for in the primary, do you? You are an idiot.

Since you didn't get it the first time, I'll repeat it.

"Not that it will affect my vote, but it was interesting to compare the campaigns' letters side-by-side -- there's clearly a difference in how they are being run and how they view their supporters."

Posted by: mnteng | April 25, 2008 4:01 PM

******************************
Since I get my Obama emails with my name on it and some personalization, I don't buy your implied argument. Although I understand why you would direct it to an audience like leichman. And based on the success of his online campaigning, I don't think the millions of contributors would buy it either. And, for the record, his invitation to dinner was the first one done, unlike Clinton and McCain. I think he values his supporters very much, and doesn't take them for granted. Why would he, when his campaign has been large part of drawing new voters in? I like reading spin by supporters of failing campaigns as much as the next person, but really...

Posted by: LABC | April 27, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

"leichtman, I support McCain's sensible use of bipartisanship in the Senate as when he joined together with others in the Gang of 14 to prevent things from worsening, and to get the judges through to the bench.

Sadly, some claim to be bipartisan but clearly aren't, like Obama."

Neither am I as a HC supporter, b/c I have consistantly posted Bring on the Nuclear Option, its time for an Up or Down Vote.

As to your argument about legislating funding...Of course, if it's your pet project, then it's never pork, right?

Soemone has to make the fiscally responsible decisions, and it's clear it won't be the libs.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 25, 2008 6:01 PM

Your post is absolutely predictable.

I knew what you would said before I even brought up the nuclear option.

Do you know how humorous your post is that you support the absolutely ridiculous compromise to the nuclear option to GOP LED NUCLEAR OPTION.

Suddenly you, Cornyn and the whole GOP are totally against the nuclear option. Yea of course you are I don't blame you for wanting to keep the filibuster in effect your side has learned how to perfect its.

Unfortunately I disticntly remember visiting many political web sites during the nuclear argument and 100% of GOP post complained about how the filibuster was unconstitutional and an arcaine abuse of the political system and all they wanted was an UP OR DOWN VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Convenient, now the GOP simply loves the filibuster and all of them including you NOW support the compromise. Interesting points 1. No GOP bloggers supported that theory when Cornyn, Hatch and Corburn ylled every night on tvs for months UP OR DOWN VOTE. We will just nuke the filibuster;
2. Why we no longer hear hear you, the GOP,Cornyn, Coburn or Hatch scream UP OR DOWN vote Speaker Pelosi. I suggest since you are so upset with GOP filibusters that you call the GOP headquarters Cornyn, Hatch, and Coburn's office and tell them that you want an UP or Down vote NOW.
And by the way since you NOW hypocritically support the same compromise you and the GOP yelled needed to be nuked can you tell me exactly what exraordinary circumstances the so called compromise established that demanded that the GOP used to filibuster stem cell research and full funding SCHIPS that even our ltra conservative Governor Goodhair wanted.
I would be happy to share my post about the nuclear option when it was debated where I consistantly posted bring it on, the GOP will come to regret it.

As to a balance budget and libs: simple question sir, what was the budget defict on July 21, 2001 and what is the budget defict on April 26,2006 since Mr 28%er you are so Proud of the GOP and Pres. 28%er's handling of the budget defict.

Your response to my totally legitimate respones to your blaming the Dem Congress for the GOP led filibusters is simply laughable, chutzpah would be a more appropriate description.

And you are absoluetly right D's have pet projects like paying to keep Minn Bridges and 9th Ward levies from collapsing and ports and Wallstreet protected from terrorists, those are some pretty wild eyed LIB policies that the GOP has proudly and consistantly filibustered. Should make you PROUD to fight those liberal expenditures.


I doubt you have the guts to respond sir.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 26, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Soemone has to make the fiscally responsible decisions, and it's clear it won't be the libs.

LOL -- no it will be Mcain proposing the most fiscally irresponsible tax cuts in history. man you repugs are truly braindead.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

2008 Presidential Election Weekly Poll

http://www.votenic.com

Results Now Posted Instantly! Barack Obama In the Lead!

Like It? Don't Like It? Vote.

Posted by: votenic | April 25, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

leichtman, I support McCain's sensible use of bipartisanship in the Senate as when he joined together with others in the Gang of 14 to prevent things from worsening, and to get the judges through to the bench.

Sadly, some claim to be bipartisan but clearly aren't, like Obama.


As to your argument about legislating funding...Of course, if it's your pet project, then it's never pork, right?

Soemone has to make the fiscally responsible decisions, and it's clear it won't be the libs.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 25, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

McCain need not do anything but allow the Democrats to make his case for him - which they seem bound to be good at.

Posted by: Pat | April 25, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse


John McCain a 2004 repeat?

Analysis by John King

Can John McCain Win the Election in November?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=2280

.

Posted by: Frank, Austin TX | April 25, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

bondjedi:

"If I ran as a candidate some guy sitting in his basement e-mailing millions offers on Vigra and mortgage refinancing, would you pick him over Obama?"

You really don't have any idea who I voted for in the primary, do you? You are an idiot.

Since you didn't get it the first time, I'll repeat it.

"Not that it will affect my vote, but it was interesting to compare the campaigns' letters side-by-side -- there's clearly a difference in how they are being run and how they view their supporters."

Posted by: mnteng | April 25, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Johnny Matthews-LOL! Agreed!

I also am very concerned that President McCain is comfortable with MY Advice.

THAT's why I make sure to remind him of this BIG STICK in my hands!

I feel, between His good Intentions, and this BIG Stick, He'll make an EXCELLENT PRESIDENT! ;~)

Of course if he should choose poorly...

It might affect his Comfort Levels! :-(

Hire Mitt yet President?

Bang! Wham-WHAM! Get MITT! NOW! ;~)

Posted by: RAT-The | April 25, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

yeah right 2:46 PM
Absolutely corrrrrrrect!
The Washington Post as well as the rest of the MSM has become nothing more than the Democratic Party's propaganda arm. They'll pooh-pooh, excuse or outright censor any news story that might put their candidate Barack Obama in a bad light. This is the reason why the general public knows so little about Obama. What little has come to light has been reported by Fox News, the New York Post, NR, Human Events, The Conservative Chronicle and other similar conservative news sources, and not by The Washington Post, The New York Times, S.F. Chronicle, Boston Globe, etc, etc-all liberal and Democratic Party--controlled newspapers. We know nothing about Obama's association with white and America--hating Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. We know nothing about his 20 year love affair with his white and America--hating racist Pastor Jerimiah Wright Jr., who has taken his sermons straight out of the Louis Farrakhan playbook. We know nothing about his possible criminal association and friendship with Tony Rezko, now on trial in Chicago. We know nothing about his working relationship and his friendship with Weather Underground America-hating terrorist Ayers. We know nothing about what Barack Obama meant when he told an audience back in December of '07 that if he becomes president he'd bomb and invade Pakistan (this from the same guy that faults and blames GWB for invading Iraq), and on and on. The reason we know nothing about Barack Obama is because the MSM--which is always telling us that they're the watchdog for the people--has acted like the 3 monkeys hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil when it comes to reporting or investigation any negatives that might hurt Barack Obama's chances to become the Democrats nominee and presidential candidate come November. The ONLY news about Obama's sordid past has been reported by non-liberal and non-Democratic Party--controlled newspapers, news magazines and Fox News. The rest of the MSM hasn't been doing their job.

Posted by: madhatter | April 25, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I really appreciate insightful commentary from both sides of any issue. It seems to me that the suggestions make a great deal of sense and hopefully McCain will make use of the ones with which he is comfortable. I do think the comments about the two conventions are especially appropriate.

Posted by: Johny Matthews, Texan | April 25, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

so proud you support the GOP's filibuster of funding of infrastucture repairs, collapsing bridges and homeland security funding to inspect and secure ports, cargo containers, and Wallstreet as responsible GOP politics. Note: it would have cost 1/3 of the current cost to have made the repairs recommended by the Army Corp back almost 10 years ago but was blocked by the GOP.

Since you constantly rail against Congress I asked you last week if you understand how the filibuster and cloture works and the GOP's position led by Cornyn and Coburn who were out front to use the nuclear option to end the filibuster. Oh what hypocrisy, what chutzpah.

I was one of the brave bloggers who actually said that let them nuke the filibuster b/c one day that hypocrisy would come back and bite the GOP, but instead the GOP screamed about the filibuster and how important it was to end it and now the GOP like you cynically points to its GOP filibuster successes as an example of how they perfected its use. Oh how cynical.

I am sure proud that you were one of those GOPs who consistantly opposed the nuclear option, right?

Posted by: Leichtman | April 25, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Sheezzz RAT! :-/

Make that Dr. Krauthammer! :-(

Posted by: RAT-The | April 25, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Yeah right-LOL!

Did you overlook Dr. Krautmann, and Novakula?

Let's see, Doc and Novakula VS. the REST of the Libbie Media...

LOL! That is NOT a very fair contest.

The Libbies need re-enforcements! A Clue would help!

Posted by: RAT-The | April 25, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

McCain's best strategy is to avoid taking advice from the Washington Post, whose writers all want a democrat in the White House.

Posted by: yeah right | April 25, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

proving the blind squirrel theorem, Rat-The writes "Naggin should have gotten the people OUT!"

Indeed, eveacuation was what their entire plan hinged upon. And the local leaders failed miserably.

Yes, the funding to make the levees capable of withstanding a 200 or 300-year occurence didn't happen (Katrina was a 0.5% occurence). And the upgrades to the tune of many billions of dollars
would've taken up to 20 years by some estimates to complete.

And leicthman, if legislation cannot pass muster on the floor of Congress, and is then tacked onto a different bill under cover of darkness, then it IS pork and it is corrupt and shouldn't be rubber-stamped.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 25, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

muD-LOL! LOL some More!

WHY do you think I want to see a Bona-Fide Republi-CAN like Mitt Romney on the Ticket so much?-Aside from the Fact he IS a perfect compliment to McCain's attributes.

John McCain is a RINO!

Fortunately, he is an Old School Democrat of the John F.Kennedy Mold, NOT a Dimocrat Socialist of the Teddy/Lurch/Pelosi variety!

The Dimocrats have made JFK, what we now call;

a "Republi-CAN"! ;~) Seriously! JFK would have NOTHING to do with the Dims like howling Dean and Pelosi!

He'd PRAISE Bush for many of the things he did!

Granted, JFK would have done them BETTER, but the intentions were right!

Then, EVEN on the Invasorios, Bushie TRIED to check Social Security Fraud-Only to be blocked by Libbie Judges in the Ninth Circuit Court(Imagine!). :-(

Independents? Try REAL Democrats! ;~)

Posted by: RAT-The | April 25, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

#10 Resign from the Senate - was the best suggestion.

It should be followed by #1 - Retire from public office and spend his remaining years being treated for dementia.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | April 25, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

you mean that fair tax that will eliminate the mtg interest deduction, impose a 20%+ tax on the sale of your home and collapse national home values by 1/3. Sounds like a great idea if you are looking forward to doubling the numbers of foreclosures and total collapse of the real estate and mtg industry.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 25, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

mntang - I agree in how suporters are vued. whenevver I open my dotcom for e-mails from Hilary the messaje looks like it iz ritten in crayolla. She has talored her messaje to her base, and we are reesponding. I put a dolar bill in the CD-ORM driver though and it wouldnt except it, so theyre are still sum gliches with her programs.

Posted by: gomer | April 25, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

It should be self-evident that McCain cannot run a Rovian strategy: turn out the base in record numbers and suppress the independent vote. McCain cannot turn out the base. So he has to win over and turn out the independents.

Controlling the Convention is important for this strategy. It shows you are in charge.

Criticize those independent groups like mad. Every time they run a baiting ad, make it clear you are 'not that kind' of a Republican. The Republican brand name doesn't have much equity left. The best way to appeal to independents is by being independent.

Be a good Republican. While you're not being 'that kind' of Republican, remind Republicans what kind you are. Independents alone won't carry McCain to the White House.

Disagree with Bush, don't bash him. By disagreeing on policy McCain can fight the Bush anchor the Democrats will try and hang around his neck. By disagreeing with him he will not alienate too many Republicans while attracting the rest of America.

Use Bush to help raise money - quietly. Not bashing him will help this.

Free publicity

Posted by: muD | April 25, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Now is the time to pass that FairTax bill. We've already tried everything else.

Posted by: Heather Czerniak | April 25, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman-Again, having to rely on MSM for my info(The Horror, The HORROR!),

MY understanding was that it was due more to illegal Irrigation Conduits that caused the Shorings to fail-Much like the Levies in Reno did due to the same, more than the Surge itself.

Then, the biggest problem the Ninth Faced, was that ANY Levy Break, would gravitate to the Lower Ninth, in any case! There were Multiple Breaks in the Levies all around N.O.'s!

Again, it is just simply a Dumb place to live! I am really amazed it took so long to finally occur. My Father pointed out the problem to me when we visited Nuevo Orleans, in 1968! It is NOT something that just magically dawned on anyone! :-(

Naggin, should have gotten the people OUT!

Simple, as THAT!

Posted by: RAT-The | April 25, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"First, for all their 'web smarts', BHO's e-mails kept getting directed to my junk box, while the HRC campaign managed to figure out how to deliver their e-mails to my inbox."

Now that we've shown how foolish the notions are that FL & MI had valid elections, that only Clinton can win certain states, and that relying on OH & PA alone will deliver an electoral majority, what is left? Oh, Hillary Clinton is a better sp@mmer than Barack Obama. Let us know how that plays with the superdelegates.

If I ran as a candidate some guy sitting in his basement e-mailing millions offers on Vigra and mortgage refinancing, would you pick him over Obama?

Posted by: bondjedi | April 25, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

mnteng: the HC site has changed dramatically since March. It has become more interactive, encourages $5 contributions, opens up to the contribution window before moving to the informational site etc. Its too bad they didn't understand that in Jan and Feb when her fundraising was so bad. I have also received invitations to Maggie Williams conference calls and personal emails from Gerrin asking for my input about the campaign and commericals.Good to motivater volunteers but in reality nonsense. The campaign is night and day better run, but is it too late?

Posted by: Leichtman | April 25, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman:

An anecdote to maybe reinforce your views on BHO.

As a newly (and soon, formerly) registered PA Democrat, I signed up with the BHO and HRC campaigns for e-mails. Two things struck me. First, for all their "web smarts", BHO's e-mails kept getting directed to my junk box, while the HRC campaign managed to figure out how to deliver their e-mails to my inbox. Second, BHO's e-mails always started out "Friend --" then went into what we needed to do for him and his campaign (and, by default, America). HRC's e-mails always started out "Dear (my first name)," and included a statement of appreciation for supporting her.

Now that the PA primary is done, I don't get any more e-mails from BHO, but HRC is still hitting me up for money. Maybe it's because BHO has money to burn and HRC is low on cash. But you'd think BHO's campaign would want to keep that door open.

Not that it will affect my vote, but it was interesting to compare the campaigns' letters side-by-side -- there's clearly a difference in how they are being run and how they view their supporters.

Posted by: mnteng | April 25, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

As I recall the rebuilding proposed to secure the levies was pushed by Sen Landreiu 6-7 years ago(prekatrina) would have reinforced the levies and raised their height considerably based upon weather and Army Corp of Engineers studies at LSU that predicted a storm surge that would overwhelm the levies as they obviously did. It was not a patch but a multi billion major re engineering project to rebuild the levies that I believe that McCain opposed and most Republicans likely labeld as pork. My point: its rather cynical to tell the Crescent City its ok to spend the money to rebuild the levies now to win your vote, but we opposed spending considerably less years ago when it could have made a difference and potentially avoided the national and local grief from the after math of katrina.

I posted that b/c Sen McCain constantly rails against pork like museums, but conveniently ignores that rebuilding levies, bridges, tunnels and port security is also included in that same pork and wasted earmarks we constantly here him rail against. When he talks about HC's earmarks I think it valid that when he throws out about the millions he complains about he should also answer that a significant part of that same money is also being used to rebuild crumbling infrastructure and beefed homeland security which even the most economically conservative Republican would not argue is a waste when used to increase security in New York city.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 25, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Zathras-LOL!

Barack Insane O'Bomba has already destroyed the Dims with a Roadside O'Bomba!

He Played the Stupid Race card!

Hillary, has LOST. There is no way, she can catch-up with the Barack Lead. Granted, he would not have that lead if two things were different. His Gaffes over the last 6 weeks were previously known at the beginning, and Florida and Michigan were Counted!

Sooooooo, NOW, to my DELIGHT!, the Dims are hurt badly! The Analysis could be a Term Paper, so suffice it to say;

Time for McRomney to get to work! ;~)

Yesterday already! :-)

Posted by: RAT-The | April 25, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

drindl, you write about picking lettuce. That is an appropriate topic right now, coupled with those "guest workers". The "global economy" has wrecked grave harm on the American worker. Illegals have caused a downward spiral in wages and benefits. So has globalization in general. When American companies can scour the globe for the lowest wages and benefits, then the American worker will always loose. A skilled carpenter made $22 an hour in Oregon in 2000. That job now pays less than $9 an hour. A meat cutter made $18 an hour, now makes minimum wage. An RV manufacturing line worker made over $20 an hour in 1998. Those jobs now pay an average of $10 an hour. In every single one of those cases, it is competition with illegals that has caused those wages to fall. The wages made by those illegals is largely untaxed (they pay sales tax, but that's about it) and is shipped off to Mexico. Offshore production is even worse, where the American dollar ends up directly in a foreign bank account. The result has been a disasterous falling dollar and inflation cutting in about now that is going to make your lettuce to expensive for the average American household. Food prices are in line to increase by more than 100% THIS YEAR. This Fall, you are going to witness food and job riots and protests all across this country. That is going to unsettle the November election and is going to "modify" the candidates positions, at least those for public consumption, to an extent that they wont even resemble what they are right now.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120881517227532621.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a2nfTRHFqZFw

Posted by: mibrooks27 | April 25, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

McCain needs to analyze two large potential pools of voters: the GOP base (i.e., those who still support Bush), and independents. If he bashes Bush, he loses a lot of his base. They may not vote for the eventual Democratic nominee, but they may very well stay home. On the other hand, he keeps them if he still supports those idiotic tax cuts and refuses to even consider leaving Iraq, but he loses a lot of independents. He needs to figure out the best way to keep both those groups-- and the sort of numbers he loses with either approach. There is no middle ground; Bush and his administration have polarized too many Americans for that to happen. Any middle ground between those two extremes will be seen as waffling.

Personally, I don't think it can be done. I think that whoever gets the Democratic nomination will win the White House. I think Clinton is more electable, as she's already weathered all the negative stuff that can be thrown at her. I'm worried that Obama will not be able to stand up to McCain during the debates. But regardless of the nominee, most Democrats who say now that they will only vote for their preferred candidate (and will vote for McCain if the other gets the nomination), will eventually go back to the party's nominee. The fact is, their policies are pretty similar.

And the eventual Democratic ads will feature a lot of shots of McCain and Bush being friendly. That's the kiss of death for McCain.

Posted by: dcgrasso1 | April 25, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

1, 3, 5 and 7 are the things McCain will most need to do. His campaign has decided to add to these stops in places with a lot of black voters -- if Clinton ends up winning the Democratic nomination, McCain could benefit from residual bitterness among Obama's biggest fans.

Really, though, McCain has to gamble that he has Republican voters behind him enough that he doesn't need to press every one of their hot buttons. There isn't any way he can win the way Bush did in 2004, by getting all Republicans and picking off one or two Democratic/independent constituencies. The aggressively, even recklessly negative campaigning that worked for Bush will backfire on McCain sooner or later also. McCain's strength is his personal appeal and the perception that he sticks to principle more than most politicians. He's already gotten away from that somewhat in chasing the GOP nomination; he'll get slaughtered in the general unless his whole campaign revolves around the main thing people like about him.

The truth is, he may get slaughtered even if he does everything right. No Presidential candidate running when the incumbent President of his own party is as unpopular as Bush is now has ever come close to getting 50% of the vote. With the Democrats in a protracted nomination contest that is bringing both of their candidates lots of bad press, McCain would have a big lead in the polls in a normal year. As it is, he can't do better than a statistical tie with Obama or Clinton -- because he is the Republican candidate, and the Republicans are George Bush's party.

Posted by: Zathras | April 25, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Senator should resign before the Reuplican convention. Arizona deserves full-time Senator, not no-time Senator.
Let's get rid of these greedy senators.

Posted by: Arizona is asking for full-time Senator | April 25, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman-I do not have the full knowledge of all the reports Senator McCain does.
But, as a Soils Technician previously in my life out in California, I can assure you, THINGS GET RE-ENGINEERED!

I would suspect there were numerous Reports outlining the numerous problems. Now, what to do? And, Who should pay? Who Controls?

I suspect that the finger-Pointing got comical! The End Result, was NOT. However, FIRST Response, and Local Safety, are State and City Priorities! THEY benefit the Most from Improvements in their Communities! Private investment on well conceived plans can become so immense, Eminent Domain Squawkers start Squawking at times-wanting to just Cash in!

Maybe, President-to-Be MCCain, did not want a Band-Aid, and was holding out for a REAL Fix!

Dunno?! :-/

Back to an earlier Posting;

What is the SOLUTION?-DO IT! ;~)

Yesterday already!

Posted by: RAT-The | April 25, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey rat just curious why McCain voted against reinforceing the levies and actually calling spending money on them pork, preKatrina. Incidentally that expenditure would have been less than 1/3 of what it will now cost to rebuild the levies, hundreds of lives and billions of dollars of damage later. Its great to rail against pennies on museums, but claiming that spending money on the levies was pork; spending money on the Minn bridge before it collapsed was pork; HC's spending money to secure the NY ports, inspect cargo containers for explosives, and maintain security for Wallstreet and the Brooklyn Bridge, that too is pork.
Once again I admire that McCain appeared in N.O. yesterday but voters need to fully examine his actual policies which cynically opposed reinforing those same N.O.levies billions of dollars earlier. For those economic conservatives who rail against pork, understand that it usually cost lives and 2-3 times more to rebuild our collapsing infrastucure once it deteriorates rather than repairing it before the likes of the 9th ward levy and Minn bridge disaster occurs.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 25, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

"McCain should turn the full efforts of his research department on himself. Figure out every negative nook and cranny that Democrats will seek to exploit and decide how the candidate (and the campaign) will respond. Moreover, have television ads ready to go to respond to the four or five most likely attacks from either the Democratic nominee or other Democratic-affiliated groups."

I cannot wait to see McCain's ad explaining why he publicly called his wife a "trollop" and a "c**t" after she joked he was thinning on top.

I also look forward to the ad where he explains why he joked at a GOP fundraiser: "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? It's because Hillary is her mother and Janet Reno is her father."

Yep, that should make pretty good TV.

I'm also eager to see the ad where he wins over Asian-Americans by justifying his comment to the San Francisco Chronicle: "I hate the Gooks. I will hate them as long as I live."

I can't wait to hear his campaign song. I predict it will be the Beach Boys' "Barbara-Ann", with new lyrics:
"Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran!"

Go John! Bomb those Gooks or Iranians or whatever!

Posted by: Bourassa | April 25, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

McCain's "forgotten places tour" is a de-facto admission that Obama was right about these places falling through the cracks of successive administrations, including the Bush one that McCain has loudly supported.

So now McCain will go and pander to them, before ignoring them for another four years.

Posted by: OD | April 25, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

CC asks a Tolkienesque question..."What should McCain do with the time he has been given to strengthen his candidacy for the general election?"

As Gandalf the Grey said "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."


When his campaign was out of money and floundering on the rocks and everyone thought he was insane for trying to get immigration reform passed via working together in the Senate, when he was being handled and told to wear different clothing by his consultants, he fought back to the top by being himself.

His campaign is all about letting McCain be McCain and letting the voters see that he is his own man, a true leader who actually works across the aisle.


As MarkinAustin so correctly stated, "He can talk about how he would reach out to Ds on energy independence and entitlement reform, and explain that these two issues, alone, if resolved in a bipartisan matter, would strengthen our future immeasurably."

What McCain should do is to take the fight to the Democrats, explaining why he's against Harry Reid's defeatism, Hillary Clinton's health-care plan, Nancy Pelosi's obstructionism on intelligence gathering, and Barack Obama's tax increases.

All in due time...

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 25, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

McCain will not win the independent vote with his nonsensical tax cut proposals that out-Bush Bush and his Bushesque Iraq stance.

He can bash Bush all he wants on old news like Katrina but the Dems will still be able to easily paint him as more-of-Bush.

Posted by: Spectator2 | April 25, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Go after the black vote McCain. Go after the black vote. When the Dems overide the pledged delegate count, and take the nomination away from Obama, the black vote is yours.
McCain '08


Posted by: GOPBlack | April 25, 2008 12:11 PM
-------------------------------
Why not, after his great job this week:


'McCain delivered a speech near the Edmund Pettus Bridge, recalling the bloody beatings of civil rights marchers there in 1965 as he embarked on a weeklong tour of places that suffer from poverty and inattention.

McCain's appearance drew about 100 people, most of them white, in a town that is 70 percent black.'

Or his other trip to the 9th ward to say how bad Bush did with Katrina, even though he voted against building up the levies, and wanted to tear the 9th down after the flood.

Yea GOP Black, smart move, but my guess Mr. Keyes is that you're still pissed off Obama kicked your a$$ in IL.

Posted by: Patrick NYC | April 25, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman-I have in the Past made the recommendation that the Home-OWNERS of the Ninth, get a FAIR and equitable Bid, for their property. Bid being based on the Improved Land Values of the higher surrounding Properties, AFTER, the Six Flags/Disney style Park is installed where the High Risk Dwellings are!

Lousy place to try to Live, Great place to Play!-Or, Temporarily Reside! ;~)

As is, the Levies are still being worked on, and construction until it is finished, is just plain STUPID!-Same for most of the other communities being Exploited by the Libbie Press!

Posted by: RAT-The | April 25, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Our Only Hope writes "Unfortunately for McCain...if he ends up against Obama, he will lose all the independents."

I disagree. McCain won New Hampshire largely in part to Independents. Independents that voted in the Republican primary for McCain leading him to victory over a Sen. Gregg endorsed Romney, while Obama lost in NH to a Shaheen supported Clinton to revitalize her campaign. In that election, McCain got more independents than Obama. History doesn't support your claim that more independents are breaking Obama than McCain.

As for this post. I like it. I think picking a VP early, someone with strong economic credentials (Pawlenty, Sanford or Romney). Great picks for McCain. Raise cash is the big one for McCain without question. If McCain choose Sanford, the Club for Growth would give him some help without question. That would help him alot of help with fiscal conservatives. Pawlenty is a great fundraiser & Romney has personal wealth to spread. Either of these 3 would make great running mates for that reason. As well as Utah Gov. John Huntsman Jr., who has great personal wealth. McCain does have the ability to choose the battlegrounds & start advertising early, as he has in Pa., New Mexico & Ohio. Maybe criticizing outside groups isn't always bad when trying to appeal to moderates. It shows a willingness to take on politics as usual, not just talk about it. Retiring from the US Senate is a judgement call. I don't think it would do him alot of good. It would have did him well for the Republican nomination, as he is more moderate than the conservative base of the party (people like me, for instance). McCain supports embroyonic stem-cell research, he supported the compromise on judicial nominees & he supported the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act. Where is Obama's proof in the pudding that he is bi-partisan? All of his votes in the Senate have been lefty liberal votes. He's no uniter, Obama is a divider of the worst the kind. He often refers to "the average American People". It's a good thing he is above all of us average folks. With McCain having these options early, he will clean Obama's clock!

Posted by: reason | April 25, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Maybe McCain can make some more late night television appearances, just to keep himself relevant for now. He seems to like going on "The Daily Show" ...

Posted by: mnteng | April 25, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Lonewacko-LOL!

THAT, was one of the Suggestions I implied I had already let out, and honestly felt most Posters were tired of hearing me say!

With Mitt, the "Enforce our Labor and Immigration Laws", I would hope would be assumed. What ELSE could be done to HELP and Utilize the currently Illegal Workers, without allowing them to get to acquire Amnesty-Well Now, that is hopefully still under some hats! ;-)

I really have nothing against the Workers-It is their Employers I want to Crucify! Them, and all the Duplicitous Representatives Blocking actions against the Illegal EMPLOYMENT SCAM!


GOPBlack-LOL! His Name is Alan Keyes!

Welcome to RAT's Dream Team Mr. Keyes! ;~)

Posted by: RAT-The | April 25, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

"Those are the Post's rules, not mine."

yes the WP now states it is their official policy that the only posts allowed here are those that praise Sen Obama, bonjedi's says.

I have work to do and not interested in your innane comments or games so go harass someone else.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 25, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

LISTEN TO THE CLINTON NUTS, WHINING AND WHINING. WAAAAAAAAH DON'T HURT MY FEELINGS! WHAT HAPPENED TO BUBBA SAYING IF YOU DON'T LIKE BEING HIT THEN STAY OFF THE FIELD? OR HILLARY AND STAY OUT OF THE KITCHEN!

BOO HOO BABIES!

Posted by: MISTER CAPS | April 25, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

AND THE NUMBER ONE THING MCCAIN SHOULD BE DOING......

Stay away from NBC.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | April 25, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

GOPBlack: do you really think that black N.O. voters really wanted to hear Sen McCain talk about tearing down the 9th ward. That certainly undermined his message yesterday. I admire it but most african americans understand that very few of them benefit by tax policies slanted towards the top .05% of the country which McCain has now flip flopped on at least twice since 2001.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 25, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"you agree that its perfectly fine for you to constantly insult, try to silence and intimidate and drive away every HC supporter that voices an opinion contray to your's"

Sorry, I forgot. You are allowed to throw up whatever dumb Clinton fib you want and people are expected to take it.

Listen, if you don't want people to critique your dopey posts, then take them somewhere else. Those are the Post's rules, not mine. The fact is, you don't have a leg to stand on.

I'm right, you're wrong. Get over it.

Posted by: bondjedi | April 25, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

1. The RNC convention is in Minneapolis
2. McCain will fly to the convention

Hence, Strategic Move #1 should be:

Stay out of the restroom at the Minneapolis Airport!

Posted by: DON | April 25, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

...tinker endlessly with his fantasy baseball team..."
Posted by: novamatt | April 25, 2008 12:10 PM

This made me laugh. I can just picture John McCain continually trying to trade for Justin Upton and driving the other owners in his league insane with non-stop posts and smack talk.

Posted by: JNoel002 | April 25, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm not at all surprised that the WaPo couldn't figure out that the best thing McCain could do for himself would be to ditch immigration "reform". And, I mean for reals, not just pretending: youtube.com/watch?v=wm0uWz2BS9M

The second best thing he could do for himself would be to sever all ties with Juan Hernandez, his staff member who's a former cabinet-level member of the Mexican government:

http://lonewacko.com/blog/archives/007421.html

Hernandez presumably swore an oath to the Mexican government, now he's doing outreach to U.S. citizens on McCain's behalf. If anyone wants to sink McCain's campaign, go to his public appearances and ask him about that, as was done here: youtube.com/watch?v=9KSzu_lgaX8

Just please ask a better question and really press him on the issue. Then, upload his response to Youtube.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | April 25, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

bonjedi I really tried to engage you in a CIVIL conversation this morning but I should have known that would be totally impossible b/c of your vitriol. I should know by now that that is totally impossible, you seem determined to make this site a place for your personal animous. OK then you agree that its perfectly fine for you to constantly insult, try to silence and intimidate and drive away every HC supporter that voices an opinion contray to your's b/c YOU KNOW that those 14 million will not be needed in Nov. I truely doubt your candidate would agree with that strategy or that sentiment. That is your argument as ridiculous as that is and apparently why after 6 weeks you refuse to engage in any civil conversations that does not simply praise your candidate. Don't bother to respond with further insults b/c I think everyone here by now understands your style and that is boring.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 25, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

To really piss off the Republicans, donate your economic-stimulus rebate to Democrats.

Posted by: egc52556 | April 25, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Nice article/column, Chris.

At the end of #10, you put "full proof." I think you mean "foolproof."

Posted by: ogrepete | April 25, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Well this is a first. We get to choose from three record breakers, the oldest to ever run, the first woman and the first black canidate. Too bad all three make my stomach turn.

Posted by: Patrick NYC | April 25, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I agree that in the case Hillary Clinton manages to wrestle the nomination away from Obama McCain has a fairly good chance to cut into her base with the African American voters. What is more I would say that he can get a sizable cut of the educated independent voters.

Posted by: Tilleke | April 25, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Go after the black vote McCain. Go after the black vote. When the Dems overide the pledged delegate count, and take the nomination away from Obama, the black vote is yours.
McCain '08

Posted by: GOPBlack | April 25, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I'd sure like to see McCain just take the next couple of months off. Head to Sedona, hang out with Cindy, maybe do some work out in the yard, finally get around to reading _Gravity's Rainbow_, take one of those online courses in Italian, tinker endlessly with his fantasy baseball team, build his jazz LP collection, maybe buy a motorcycle and ride it around those beautiful Arizona highways. Quality time, you know. Johnny Mac time. He's a great guy, he's earned this little vacation.

Then, after the convention, maybe ramp up the campaign a little. It's not like anyone's really paying attention between now and then, right?

Posted by: novamatt | April 25, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

mark I try to read the Austin Statesman every day.

Couple of thoughts:
1. Austin was clearly Obama country did that influence the slant of this story?;
2. The Houston Noreiga campaign office seems to support Clinton but no one will tell that to the media;
3. I told you months ago that Noreiga has practically zero name id state wide. That alone would take at least $2-$5 million to establish name id and another $5 million to establish a message and attack Cornyn that unless Noreiga raises $5 million by the Convention, then don't even bother to campaign;
4. What will the DSCC do. I have not read anything about Schumer willing to put any money in that race as of yet unless his numbers go up and it looks like Noreiga could win seat no.60 which is doubtful. More likely the money will be sent to places like Minn where Fraken is in a close but winnable race;
5. Blaming money from leaving Texas b/c of the Clintons is nonsense. I have spoken with some of the big plaintiff's lawyers here and they complain that that practice of hit and run Texas fundraising his gone on for 10-15 years. It happened with Kerry, he would show up in Houston in River Oaks and Dallas' Highland Park neighborhood, give a brief statement to the press and then high tale it out on the first jet. Same for Gore and Dukakas. Until we beat someone like Perry in 2010 no one in the national party will take us seriously whether its Obama or HC at the top of the ticket imho. Repub in Texas dislike HC, but I don't think Hispanics or rural voters think much about Obama. I am a native and know that even in the 60s and 70s when Dems controlled this state that except for Ralph Yarborough who was defeated by Bensten, that to change Texas we will need huge hispanic turnouts and a conservative Dem message which I think is basically HC's. Curious how you read that mark?

Posted by: Leichtman | April 25, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

McCain is currently doing the right thing, running away from Bush and staking out the political middle ground while his opponent is trapped in a partisan campaign that keeps his positions fixed on the left.

Collect money, organize the fall campaign and look presidential, with all the freedom that the extended Democratic campaign gives him.

Posted by: Ed | April 25, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I am willing to concede Leichtman's argument that Hillary will win the electoral college with only PA and OH. After all, if she gets that far, she will have convinced the Democratic party to override Obama's lead in delegates, popular votes, and contests won. She should have no trouble convincing the nation that PA & OH's electoral votes outweigh the rest of the country.

If that doesn't work, would Hillary take it all the way to the House of Representatives, and ask the meeting of the electoral college to override what people vote in November? Will she make the case that she would be a better president than McCain, and the electors should override the election results?

Posted by: Unity '08 | April 25, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"But as I recall when I worked in the Kerry campaign we heard that exact same argument, that Kerry would win Ohio and Fla with independent voters."

Well, thank God it's the adults who will be having the final say, and not you.

Kerry? What difference does that make? Are you prepared to trot out William Jennings Bryan's electoral performance?

Posted by: bondjedi | April 25, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

'Yes, he doesn't do really well with a big part of the Democratic base, but she doesn't do well with independents, who will be critical to success in November.'"

That is a fair point and what I truly hope is being weihed by the supers. But as I recall when I worked in the Kerry campaign we heard that exact same argument, that Kerry would win Ohio and Fla with independent voters. Certainly Obama is not Kerry but Kerry also did much better with the base then Obama is doing and much like Sen Obama had a great fundraising machine and money was not really a problem. Reasonably then to see it as being the base of our party v expanding that base to independents and R. If HC can not expand her base beyond the base of the Dem party that would be a problem in the general; and if Obama is able to expand the base to independents and new voters but has turned off his base, Catholics,Reagan Dems, Hispanics and the elderly that is an equal problem for him. Neither of those problems can be resolved by a VP selection which means little to voters but should be determined by which candidate is the better campaigner and can bridge that gap. Currently it is HC but that perception can flip on a dime.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 25, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree with chadibuins, and I'd underscore that one area where McCain is deeply lacking right now is in state-by-state organization. Obama has strong organization in states like Idaho, for crying out loud, and McCain has none. This reflects in the fact that McCain still can't raise any money, and he is going to have a terrible time turning out voters in the fall if he still lacks large numbers of foot soldiers.

A consequence of the Democrats' long race running through 50 states is that they have been forced to establish organizations in those states. Obama, especially, has left no stone unturned in developing local organization. Clinton ignored a lot of the smaller states, and in this sense Clinton as nominee would actually put McCain at slightly less of a disadvantage. Still, though, competing in all 50 states in the primaries is giving the Democrats inroads in every state early, and the eventual nominee will have the advantage of broader primary voter lists, a wider donor base, an earlier introduction in each state, and campaign workers familiar with each state.

McCain needs to do something now to compete with this. He needs to cultivate grassroots supporters and donors. He needs workers on the ground. Most of all, he needs to find a way to introduce himself in states where he didn't have the chance to compete in a compelling way that makes him relevant and worth noticing.

Posted by: blert | April 25, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 25, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

McCain can't seem to make up his mind about GWBush or much else for that matter. Sort of like that game little girls play with daisy petals--I love him, I hate him, I love him, I hate him...

Ticktock, flipflop.

Posted by: Sam | April 25, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Allow me to interject a couple more points.

First, as far as criticizing anybody or anything-WHO wants to HEAR IT?

As a Salesman, one of the FIRST lessons I REALLY learned; Is when something goes wrong, NOBODY wants to hear a damn thing but how it is getting resolved! JUST FIX IT!

A McRomney Ticket should have every person in the World demanding they be getting a set of keys to the White House the next Morning! Let McCain get the Military Info. Let Romney review Foreign and Domestic Trade Issues. GET and UTILIZE their Abilities NOW! They have NO Competition! They, are their own!
WE WANT SOLUTIONS and WE WANT THEM NOW!

I have some Ideas on what those are, and at this point I'll Bogart them!-Although truth be known, I have made some hints known!

There is much that the Republicans can be doing AFTER McRomney becomes the reality. An OCEAN of things actually. Some very valuable Members of a "Dream Team" need a little time to get on board as well to be effective January 22. Some, foolishly thought they were going to get away! :-)

Some, are purposely trying to! ;~)

Sorry, your Country NEEDS You!

Colin.

Posted by: RAT-The | April 25, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"Obama is also vulnerable on foreign policy - it should be pointed out, aka, Jimmy Carter's failure in negotiating with enemies."

You miss the point. Even conceding the idiotic Hannity/Rush talking point that Obama=Carter, ANYONE would look good on foreign policy next to McCain. He fell for the Bush argument on Iraq, he was too gutless to do anything about Gitmo, and he needs Joe Lieberman to stand behind him to tell him who and where Al-Qaida is. If FDR thought the Nazis were a group of aborigines hiding in Guatemala no one would have taken him seriously, but for some reason McCain is viewed as a foreign policy heavy.

The only reason McCain looks so strong with foreign policy is because the rest of his resume is such a disaster, something he admits. Once we're done with Clinton, wait until you see the job we do on John McDumba$$.

Posted by: bondjedi | April 25, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"In fact correlation to Jimmy Carter's presidency should be drawn."

High energy prices, inflation, recession (stagflation; yes, such parallels can be easily drawn--by Democrats. There is a disturbing whiff of 1979-80 in the current political and economic situation. If he is to win, McCain needs to separate himself from the Bush malaise--and pitching more tax cuts for the rich and an open-ended Iraq war (never mind how they'll be paid for) obviously won't do it.

To that end, he would really need to "control the convention". That means not just keeping bombastic and controversial conservatives out of the spotlight--it means making the convention truly about him and about the next four years, not the "achievements" (whatever they were) of the past eight. If the convention turns mostly into a valedictory "we love ya, George Dubya" sendoff with McCain seemingly secondary, that won't help him win.

Posted by: mkarns | April 25, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't look like the Clinton narrative many here are parroting is gaining much traction. From Elizabeth Drew in Politico this morning:

"One Democratic leader told me, 'If we overrule the elected delegates there would be mayhem.' Hillary Rodham Clinton's claim that she has, or will have, won the popular vote does not impress them - both because of her dubious math and because, as another key Democrat says firmly, 'The rules are that it's the delegates, period.' (These views are closely aligned with Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement earlier this year that the superdelegates should not overrule the votes of the elected delegates.)

"Furthermore, the congressional Democratic leaders don't draw the same conclusion from Pennsylvania and also earlier contests that many observers think they do: that Obama's candidacy is fatally flawed because he has as yet been largely unable to win the votes of working class whites. They point out something that has been largely overlooked in all the talk - the Ohio and Pennsylvania primaries were closed primaries, and, one key congressional Democrat says, 'Yes, he doesn't do really well with a big part of the Democratic base, but she doesn't do well with independents, who will be critical to success in November.'"

I suppose that this will not stop the flood of calls to count Florida and Michigan, Obama can't win certain states, etc. But win St. Peter sends you to hell for your ignorance, don't say you weren't warned.

Posted by: bondjedi | April 25, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Here's another guy who McCain courted, and who's now a big backer -- this dangerous lunatic. Will someone ask McCain if he thinks calling for street riots is a good idea? Tragically, many people this to this evil, evil creature:

And remember this is ABC, now another far-right propaganda tool:

"Talk show host Rush Limbaugh is sparking controversy again after he made comments calling for riots in Denver during the Democratic National Convention this summer.

He said the riots would ensure a Democrat is not elected as president, and his listeners have a responsibility to make sure it happens.

"Riots in Denver, the Democrat Convention would see to it that we don't elect Democrats," Limbaugh said during Wednesday's radio broadcast. He then went on to say that's the best thing that could happen to the country."

Btw, this is exactly what talk radio hots did in Germany in the 30s--incite the public to hatred. Yes, Hitler invented talk radio and the rightwingers have been using it to their advantage since then.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 25, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

He's not even president yet and he missed 58% of votes so far. Given that record I hope people will realize that and NOT voting for him come November.

Posted by: bigben1986 | April 25, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I am presuming the DNC will hand the nomination to Obama - something that elicits fear; both by process and result. One missing ingredient should be the focus of McCain on leadership. That also means pointing to the radicals that Obama seems attracted to; Wright, Farrakhan, Ayers and Rezko are not cozy bed partners - unless one is a Marxist. Obama is also vulnerable on foreign policy - it should be pointed out, aka, Jimmy Carter's failure in negotiating with enemies. In fact correlation to Jimmy Carter's presidency should be drawn. As for age, I believe it will be off-set by a strong somewhat younger candidate for V.P. preferably, one with strong a financial background.

Posted by: FRS | April 25, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Bashing Bush just helps remind us conservatives why we don't like or trust McCain. Thanks John, I was starting to waver a little but am now back to I will never vote for you.

Posted by: bhoomes | April 25, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Which McCain should we believe? The one who praised the 9th ward yesterday, or the one who said tear it down?

"Per McClatchy's Matt Stearns, "Democrats denounced McCain Thursday as a hypocrite. They pointed out that McCain voted against creating a commission to investigate the federal response to the disaster. They also accused him of wanting to privatize FEMA because of his suggestion that the federal government partner with the private sector to handle some aspects of emergency response, such as delivering supplies."

And a little Clinton-McCain tussle developed out of New Orleans -- one of those fights neither side really minds. "Sen. McCain said he might want to tear down the Ninth Ward instead of rebuilding it," Clinton said. "But I went to the Ninth Ward after Katrina and met with people there and saw the destruction and I saw the resilience in their eyes and they deserve our help to rebuild and regain their lives and their homes."


Didn't McCain also vote aginst funding to secure the N.O. levies before Katrina calling that expenditure pork?

Posted by: Leichtman | April 25, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I try to make my case as a valuable asset for the GOP based on this observation-Thanks to the Bush-Whacked economy, Lord knows I need the Job, and I believe I have a Clue or two about WHAT'S WRONG!

#1 and #2, go Hand in Hand, but I would put announcing Mitt Romney FIRST. Mitt is the missing Piece-INO. He is already a part of the team. He was strong, if not Decimating, in the Primaries, across the Board. He brings regions McCain needs, and he brings Money with him. Combined, the Military Man, who might as well Resign from the Senate(#10), combined with the Venture Capitalist/Governor of a Conservative Nature that appeals to Liberals, would actually ENERGIZE the Base with solid Hope!
Both, qualify as Executives, and Both are very Competent for the Job at Hand.

This plays in several ways. First, Mitt Romney would become possibly the most Influential Vice-President ever. From the word go, he would be the Heir Apparent for the Capable, but Elderly and susceptible to Malady, John McCain. Think of it as a REALISTIC Version of Bush/Cheney-only Bushie would be required to Baby-Sit the Senate. That requirement of the Job, will actually prove inconvenient, but not insurmountable.
The Time between now and the Victory in November, allows the Odd Couple to work out their quirks on the Trail, Prior to assuming the weight of the World in January.
With a Ticket as strong as it is, Bushie can also be "Guided" like a wayward Toddler on a Leash! The assumption of leadership could be assured as soon as things start going RIGHT!
The Senate and House will benefit from the Executive Branch being the Landslide it will be. In any event, IF, the Executive Branch should fall(God Forbid) to a Congressional Lawyer Clown, I doubt even a RINO would WANT to have to be dealing with such an incredibly Hostile Socialist Takeover! :-(

See, the entire Orientation of this Country Hinges on this Election. The Conservatives-MUST WIN! Team Work, on an Un-Precedented Scale, is Required!

Finally, the Blue Collar Base. The Working Backbone of this once great Nation. How to save others from what happened to me? :-(

Well, it starts with looking at what happened to me. I lost my ability to compete. To keep up with Costs. I am simply so dead in the water, I dream of selling my Soul and becoming a "GASP" Politician! :-o

No, not one of the one's you get to shoot at! An Advisor! A Worker Bee! Hiding BEHIND somebody else, and deciphering some of the Oceans of events going on, while THEY Press the Flesh, and photo-Op! ;~)

Simply put, I stand out too much, and am too easy to hit!-Easier than Lurch! ;~)

Sooooo, C'mon McRomney-support a SurfRat!

I think I have already been supporting You!

Posted by: RAT-The | April 25, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

DUH! Aren't Clinton and Obama sitting senators? so a sitting senator will win this election--so what's with the resign strategy?

Posted by: fulrich | April 25, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

McCain should endorse Obama now and get it over with.

Posted by: Unity '08 | April 25, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

"One suggestion from a GOP consultant: cut an extended biographical video (10-15 minutes long), put it on You Tube and try to drive young independents to it."

Yeah right.

Posted by: cj | April 25, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

The number 1 thing John McCain should be doing is courting the African American vote. If and when the Democratic superdelegates take away the nomination from Obama, the once loyal voting block will be up for grabs. Remind the black voters, that the GOP is Lincoln's party. Colin Powell and Condi Rice have served at almost the highest level, and that a chance for a Black President will only occur if that candidate is a Republican. The Dems will just you and your loyalty, but when it really matters, they will shaft you. That's what John McCain should be doing. The fact that the superdelegates have not decided, despite only a single digit victory by Clinton in Penn, is a clear sign, they will take the nomination away from Obama.

Posted by: GOPBlack | April 25, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

In addition to picking the playing field, McCain seems to be in the position to choose the "weapons" for battle. He can begin setting the terms for the Presidential contest by drawing clear distinctions between him and the D's on the topics of his choice, since both HRC and BHO are very close on most issues. And he can emphasize his bipartisanship on other issues (e.g., environment) to negate any advantage the D's might have.

Posted by: mnteng | April 25, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

It looks like Bush bashing is his strategy right now. It might work for the time being, but if he had anyone running against him, he would look like a fool. McCain says Bush handled Katrina wrong. He begged for Rev Hagee's support, so isn't it a bit ironic that he considered Katrina Gods way of punishing New Orleans? What would McCain do? Beg for their forgiveness? As "Our Only Hope" at 8:49 above pointed out, he really has no advantageous platform to run on. The only help he'll get is from the media. The NY Times endorsed him and are already drumming it up for him. I don't think it will work though. They also endorsed Hillary.

Posted by: MikeMcNally | April 25, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

McCain talks about why we need migrant workers -- because Americans won't pick lettuce for "$50 an hour". First of all, I know he's incredibly wealthy and out of touch and has never had, you know, an actual 'job' but does he have any idea what farm workers, or anyone, actually makes? Second, there are a LOT of unemployed Americans right now, and I am quite sure some of them are quite capable of picking lettuce...

'But in a Q&A with construction and building trade unions, in an effort to illustrate why undocumented migrant farm workers will do work Americans will not, he used this example ...

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Now, my friends, I'll offer anybody here $50 an hour if you'll go pick lettuce in Yuma this season and pick for the whole season. So -- OK? Sign up. OK.
You sign up. You sign up, and you'll be there for the whole season, the whole season. OK? Not just one day. Because you can't do it, my friend."

Posted by: drindl | April 25, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

McCain should not, should not, should not pick his VP early.

If Obama wins the Democratic nomination in August, McCain has an opportunity to present a political masterstroke the following week by picking a prominent Republican woman as his running mate. It would create yet another example of "McCain walks the walk while Obama talks and talks." McCain could end up winning the election by fifty or a hundred electoral votes despite Bush.

But if Clinton is nominated and she solicits Obama as her running mate (which is the only way the party recovers from the debacles in Florida and Michigan) then McCain's VP choice has to reflect that reality instead. Picking a woman for VP while Clinton is still in the race would be a weak cry of "me too!"

Posted by: Bill | April 25, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse


McCain might also want to explain how we are going to afford to stay in Iraq for many, many years to come--where will the troops come from? How will we keep the corrupt Iraqi government from continuing to embezzle our taxpayer money?

"USA Today leads with word that a new report by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction says the Iraqi security forces are nowhere near ready and it could be years before they have enough resources to secure the country. An audit found that the figures kept by the Iraqi government substantially overestimate the number of military and police officers and there's no way of knowing how many of those listed in the payroll are actually on the job."

Posted by: drindl | April 25, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Last post this morning.

Ignatius wrote this yesterday.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/23/AR2008042302981.html

He found all three in "full pander mode" [FPM is my shorthand].

The Ds will be stuck in FPM during their fratricidal campaigning.

McC should take this opportunity to bolster the strategies #8-#1 by taking thoughtful
positions that are not mere slogans ["victory", "tax cuts"]. He does not need to compete for the left or the right. He should go right for the middle, and that will take straight talk, about what government can and cannot do, and what he, as Prez might place as his three top "bully pulpit" issues. He can talk about how he would reach out to Ds on energy independence and entitlement reform, and explain that these two issues, alone, if resolved in a bipartisan matter, would strengthen our future immeasurably. Stress willingness to work with allies and the need for a bipartisan consensus on foreign policy so that the USA again speaks with one voice ot the world.

Stop beating the "tax cuts" drum. It sounds like the bigger debt trumpet to too many centrists.

Forgive the length, please.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 25, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

My suggestion appalls me, but here goes: McCain should pick a youngish white, male running mate NOW to lock up those Americans who ought to be ashamed, but hey, there's a reason they're called conservative and traditionalist, right? Being from a blue collar background, my sense is that'll make the GOP irresistible to a definite, if shrinking, demographic for whom the white male card still holds value. Sigh.

Posted by: jhbyer | April 25, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Steve Florida | April 25, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I think #6, picking the playing field, is the most important tactic for either of the nominees. But that indicates the importance of #1, raising money. I agree in theory that McCain can make a good number of purple and blue states competitive, but he has no money. And he'll have $87 million from after the convention to Election Day (he accepted public financing). Obama will probably unload $300-500 million during that time.

Also important (and one of the few benefits of this prolonged Dem primary) is that McCain is still building a ground game in a lot of these states, whereas Obama already has a well-oiled machine in a lot of the key states (VA, WA, OR, IA, CO, etc, etc, etc)

Agreed on the importance of the convention, but how dumb were they to schedule McCain's address as the same night as the NFL season opener? I'm a huge political junkie, but I know I'll be tuned out!

Posted by: uckeleg | April 25, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

McCain just better get out there and campaign hard for every Republican he can, because on their side, the down ticket people are probably going to be a bigger help to him up-ticket, given all his problems with the conservative base. There is nothing McCain can do, this election is either going to be a referendum on Bush or one on the Democratic nominee, so the best thing McCain can do is solidify the GOP base, and he can do that by working hard for conservative heroes(if they will take his help).

But the long Dems contest is going to help the Dems in the fall. Just imagine how much voter contact, how many voter lists both candidates have built over the last few months in all these key states. I think we all can assume Obama is going to win and Hillary is just playing for the VP slot, but her supporters are mostly hardcore Democrats who are part of the machine politics in big Democratic states and working class women, so 80% of them will vote for whoever the Democrat is. With her working hard for them, and more than likely as flushed as Obama is with cash (and as strapped as Hillary is), he can probably just buy all her lists to get her out of debt, and use those with his in November.

Unless McCain can make this more about the Democratic nominee or the survival of the GOP and less about himself or Bush, McCain doesn't stand a chance in November, just look at the Dem's primary turnout this year!

Posted by: RCD | April 25, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately for McCain...if he ends up against Obama, he will lose all the independents...as well as all the Reps who consider the economy and ending the Iraq War to be top priorities.

McCain's views on the economy have flip-flopped all over the place & the one thing he hasn't wavered on is the War...which MOST Americans want to get out of. Considering all the intelligence now being released (from the Pentegon as well as many other sources) now say that our efforts in Iraq are making things worse.

That added to the fact that Bush said we would leave when asked...yet a full month after the Iraqi leadership officially asked us to PLEASE LEAVE...there is no sign of movement from the White house.

Plus...McCain has shown that he doesn't really support our troops by agreeing with Bush that the new GI Bill would might encourage people to get out of the Military rather than reenlisting. ANY VET who votes for him...is voting against every Military person who ever served.

Posted by: Our Only Hope` | April 25, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

#8 will work better if McC seizes the middle.

The Gramm-inspired supply side tax cutting for the wealthiest individuals should not resonate with blue collar voters, although explaining why a lower corporate tax rate makes American employers more competitive when they keep jobs in America should work.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 25, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

All sound strategies, and unfortunately (for Dems) they seem very doable.

However, I have often said (as have others more experienced and knowledgeable than I) that the long Dem campaign and even the "proportionate" delegate system; are not only good for democracy (little "d") but for Democrats (big "D").

The touch Democrats have with people, the on the ground organization, the message, the vision Dems have laid during this guantlet will be a plus.

Has there been some damage--yes; will everything just fall out in the Dems lap--no. BUT, if played right, Dems can use this to their advanatge. Whoever the nominee is he or she will have had more face time and lingering contact in every state; AND can play the "tough campaign" card showing they have run the gauntlet and are "tried by fire"; that coupled with the loser either being Veep, or at teh least heavily campaigning for the winner can help Dems overcome this extra time for McCain, even if he were to follow The Fix's strategy.

Posted by: chadibuins | April 25, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

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