Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Fight For The Keystone State

With 23 days left to go in the election John McCain and Sarah Palin have set their sights on a state that has not been red since 1988. The Politico has the story of the key battleground state:

Pennsylvania hasn’t voted Republican for president since 1988. Democrats have increased their registration numbers here by more than a half-million over the past year, and Barack Obama has a double-digit lead in the polls.

Yet John McCain's campaign continues to signal that it intends to contest the state and its 21 electoral votes to the end. It is a high-risk, high-return endeavor: Pennsylvania represents a costly gambit, one that siphons resources from must-win states such as Ohio and Florida, but a win here would enable McCain to lose a few other states that George W. Bush carried and still capture the White House.

So with 23 days until Election Day, the state finds itself at the epicenter of the presidential campaign, with both sides spending precious time and money trying to energize their respective bases and drive up their opponents’ negatives.

For Obama, that means trying to offset white, working-class voters’ uneasiness with him by hammering McCain as out of touch on their economic struggles, and driving a huge turnout here in the state’s most populous city, where he spent Saturday barnstorming four neighborhoods.

For McCain, it means courting the politically competitive but historically Republican suburbs ringing Philadelphia, as well as the industrial and rural parts of the state that carried Hillary Clinton to a 9-point victory over Obama in the Democratic primary in April. The McCain campaign believes it can sway voters in those areas by emphasizing a socially conservative message and branding Obama an elitist liberal with shady past associates.

How will John McCain contrast himself with Barack Obama? By touting his economic plan which is pro-growth and one that is designed to help the average person who wants to invest in the nation's financial market:

As part of a plan to reinvigorate his flagging campaign, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is considering additional economic measures aimed directly at the middle class that are likely to be rolled out this week, campaign officials said.

Among the measures being considered are tax cuts – perhaps temporary – for capital gains and dividends, the officials said.

“The market’s the focus,” a McCain adviser said. “You want to stop the fleeing.” ...

Top McCain supporters have been agitating for a more robust economic package. It would give McCain something fresh to talk about on the stump, and dilute the perception that he’s relying mostly on attacks in the final stretch.

The McCain team is trying to stave off panic at a time of trouble for the nation - and for the campaign. He's doing this with an issue that has tormented him, as he has taken a patchwork approach to addressing the top issue on voters’ minds. ...

Among the ideas that have been considered are a bigger tax deduction for middle class mortgages, and more a more robust loan program for small businesses. But officials said the front-burner ideas all dealt specifically with markets.

He is picking the right issue at the right time. After the roller coaster ride people witnessed this past week in the markets something must be said, and done, to assuage fears that we are heading for catastrophe. This past week we watched the market drop like a rock, and the only bright spot seemed to come on Friday when in the last hour, the market rallied back, and lost only approximately 129 points instead of the significant drop that occurred as the market opened up.

Barack Obama's economic plan has come under scrutiny and has some questioning whether or not he really knows what he is talking about. A solid outing and a specific plan could help John McCain in what is now considered the central front in this election. Much like Michigan and Ohio, Pennsylvania has suffered under the past decade or so with industrial jobs departing for parts unknown, and leaving the people behind to pick up the shattered pieces of the businesses in these states.

If John McCain's bold economic plan resonates with voters in Pennsylvania, it could translate to Ohio where the race is incredibly tight, within 2 points right now, and that could easily hand him another key battleground state. In fact, every key battleground state is either tied, or Senator Obama has a small, single digit lead. With an economic plan that has more specificity than Senator Obama's flowery rhetoric, John McCain could shift the momentum in his favor as the election comes to a close.



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