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The Keystone Gamble

Sarah Palin is predicting a win in Pennsylvania. She and John McCain have spent gobs of time there. Sure, Ed Rendell expresses some caution. But the polls show that the race isn’t close there. Not even close to close. I suppose every one of the polls could be wrong. Maybe there is some special sauce internal poll which gives the McCain team hope, but this seems awfully wacky. Others share my skepticism that Pennsylvania — which has slid further and further towards the Blue side in recent years — provides a realistic opportunity for McCain.

There are many battleground states which are a lot closer — ones with a history of voting Republican recently. Isn’t the time better spent in Florida, Colorado and Virginia? In all of those he only trails by single digits. This raises the question whether this is another far-fetched gambit–like McCain wasting time in Massachusetts before Super Tuesday rather than trying to nail down some Western states (which he lost to Mitt Romney) or some Southern states (which he lost to Mike Huckabee).

The telltale sign that this might be a mistake is that Barack Obama has been spending plenty of his time in Virginia, Colorado, and North Carolina. Now maybe the Obama camp has missed some fatal weakness in the Keystone State and should be there making sure it doesn’t slip from his grasp. But for now this looks like another rather odd Hail Mary play by Team McCain. And if McCain winds up losing Virginia and Colorada by narrow margins they’ll be a lot of second guessing. On the other hand, in a landslide, questionable calls will get lost in the deluge.



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