USA - VOTE 2008

McCain’s decision to skip Michigan raises doubts

In an unusual twist to his campaign strategy, Sen. John McCain has decided to pull his campaign out of Michigan. But many Republicans – including his running mate – are not happy. And some wonder whether the tactic will backfire.


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Sen. John McCain’s surprise decision last week to pull his campaign out of the battleground state of Michigan has disappointed many Republicans and has sparked a debate over the strategic aims of the McCain campaign.


“Things are looking pretty bad for John McCain at the moment,” said FRANCE 24’s Guillaume Meyer, reporting from Nashville, Tennessee, where the second presidential debate is set to be held Tuesday.


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In media interviews over the weekend, senior Republican strategist Karl Rove conceded that if the election were held right now, Barack Obama would win, with the Illinois senator holding all the states Democrat John Kerry won in the 2004 race and picking up enough new states to put him over the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.


“Even Karl Rove has said the way to the presidency for John McCain seems very complicated,” Meyer noted. “Now that he has pulled his resources out of Michigan, John McCain will of course have to pool his resources into other swing states – Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Ohio – he needs to win those states if he wants to win the presidency.”


In a column in the “Washington Post,” political commentator E.J. Dionne called the latest twist in McCain’s campaign strategy a “high-risk wager,” one, he warned, that could backfire.


‘Oh come on…Do we have to?’


With the economy dominating the nation's attention, Obama has moved ahead in the polls. According to the latest Gallup poll released Sunday, 50 percent of those surveyed said they supported Obama, while 43 percent preferred McCain.


In media interviews, Mike DuHaime, McCain’s political director, said it made sense not to spend time and money on states where McCain is unlikely to win.


That may be the strategy, but even within the campaign, the decision still hurts.


In an interview with the US network, Fox News, McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin said she “fired off a quick e-mail and I said, oh come on... Do we have to? Do we have to call it there?”


‘Why vote for him if he’s pulled out?’


Across the state of Michigan, voters were still coming to terms with McCain’s unprecedented decision.


Some Michigan residents such as Michael Cox, a McCain supporter, said they trust their candidate to make the right choice. “If it's better for him to spend his money elsewhere but still be president, then I guess that's the way it's got to be,” said Cox.


But others believed that pulling out of Michigan sends a wrong message to voters across the state. “If he wants Michigan's vote he should continue to stay here and work just as hard as Obama,” said Jennifer Shear. “I think the citizens (in Michigan) are going to feel like, well, why vote for him if he's pulled out?”


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