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HUGE NEWS out of Politico's J Mart

John McCain is pulling out of Michigan, according to two Republicans, a stunning move a month away from Election Day that indicates the difficulty Republicans are having in finding blue states to put in play.

McCain will go off TV in Michigan, stop dropping mail there and send most of his staff to more competitive states.

Michigan was the one HUGE vulnerability in the Kerry State firewall that Obama has working for him, due primarily to the fact there was no primary there.  It seems the hard work, starting with the Gore Endorsement, then the Edwards Endorsement, and countless stops, has paid off, BIGTIME

Now Confirmed via AP Article

But recent polls there have shown Obama extending what had been a small lead, with the economic crisis damaging an already tattered GOP brand in a state whose economy is in tatters.  

A McCain event planned for next week in Plymouth, Michiigan, has been canceled.

Generic Michigan Hockey Mom couldn't be reached for comment...  Late word from the local GOP Office: "These jobs are leaving Michigan, and my friends, they won't be coming back"

Tonight, McCain is doing an event in Denver, Colorado, and NBC has reported that later this week McCain will be in Missouri... Colorado and Missouri are definite DEFENSE and pulling out of Michigan means that McCain's chances to win have fallen off a cliff...  Now, short of somehow winning PA or WI, McCain MUST win ALL of the following states showing a Pollster Obama lead:

Colorado  +3 Obama
Virginia  +0.7 Obama
Florida  +1.5 Obama
Ohio  +0.2 Obama

While keeping his darker red states, which are now shiny pink, Red:

North Carolina

That's alot of ground to cover, and with dwindling resources, holding the line on a 274-264 final tally gives Obama a powerful advantage headed into October.  Obama's campaign can now run hard Offense at selected states, based on polling and ground game advantages, while hopefully cutting back on spending in MI and eventually PA, MN and WI, where money has definitely been invested to turn these states Dark Blue.  Ground level opperations certainly must continue until and through election day in each state for Obama's campaign, however investments in air wars may be best turned to the clincher states where McCain will now focus all his energy.

and in Semi-related news, 538 has their latest Battleground assesement, and it's gotta make Obama happy

Today, Barack Obama has 269 electoral votes outside the battleground zone. That is, if you only give Obama the states he is projected to win by more than five points, that is enough to get him an Electoral College tie, which is essentially the same as a win.

To break down the math, we project all Kerry states save New Hampshire outside of five points, so that’s 252 minus 4, or 248. Then add Iowa (7 EV), New Mexico (5 EV) and Colorado (9 EV), and Obama hits 269. As Nate has explained, that would be as good as an Obama win. In fact, if we put the line at six points, we’d get the same result. Obama projects to win Colorado by 6.1%

As of this morning before today's polls update, we project Obama victories in Virginia (4.4%), New Hampshire (3.4%), Ohio (2.4%), Florida (2.4%), and Nevada (2.1%), with Indiana a tie. Give all these states to McCain, it’s 269-269 and an Obama presidency. Allocated by lead, it’s Obama 338, McCain 189, 11 tossup. McCain also projects precarious wins in North Carolina (0.1%) and Missouri (0.4%).

Sweetness... but not over yet...

Update: Rumor is McCain/RNC now day dreaming about Maine... which I take as confirmation of the original story.

Source: McCain/RNC considering making a play in Maine, including buying TV ad time.

Update II:  Here is a good diary showing photos of Obama's successful rally of 16,000 this morning in a GOP stronghold in Michigan.

Update III:  Politico has the details of a late afternoon conference call that confirms this move, and indicates the campaigns direction forward.  In short, the situation is bleak and dire.

a. Road to Victory that even Bush didn't get green lights on

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) now must win Pennsylvania, Wisconsin or Minnesota in order to get enough electoral votes to win the presidency, his campaign says.

Those were considered swing states in 2000 and 2004, but George W. Bush lost them both times.

b. Insane desperation in Maine

The count is so tight that Maine could be the new Ohio. To explain: McCain is moving staff into Maine because it’s not a winner-take-all state (the only other one that splits its electoral vote is Nebraska).

The McCain aides, perhaps optimistically, are suggesting he can win one electoral vote by picking up one of the Pine Tree State’s two congressional districts.

c.  Faith Based Campaigning

We can dig up an additional 10 electoral votes in Nevada, Colorado and New Hampshire,” the official said.

“We feel strongly that we’re going to win in Florida, Missouri and the traditional Republican states of Virginia and North Carolina.”

d.  Blood on the Floor, Wall and Ceiling....

One McCain official acknowledged that the campaign is feeling the pressure from the better-funded Obama. "He has an extraordinary amount of resources," the official said.

You are the knife, aimed at their pathetic campaign's bare exposed neck... give it all you've got!

Originally posted to Hope Reborn on Thu Oct 02, 2008 at 11:00 AM PDT.

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