Two-pronged final approach

  • Matthew Price
  • 1 Nov 08, 12:02 AM GMT

Columbus, Ohio: You would not expect anything else from the campaign in these last few days, but Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager, has said: "We are witnessing, I believe, probably one of the greatest comebacks that you've seen since John McCain won the primary."

There hasn't really been anything to come back from since the primary, surely?

He says they're seeing gains in virtually every battleground state in the last week. He says they have also shaken off the effects of the financial collapse that suppressed McCain's numbers. He says states that make up a potential 270 electoral college votes are all actively in play for them.

In short, they still - in public at least - believe there is a way to win. That way - if McCain's schedule for the final day is anything to go by - consists of Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Mexico, and Nevada. He'll finish off in Arizona.

There seems to be a two-pronged strategy. Palin gets the base energized. McCain hangs out with his more centrist mates (Schwarzenegger and Giuliani) to try and tap into the undecided.

If this is anything to go by thoughthen those voters who haven't yet made up their minds may swing it slightly towards McCain but they won't get him close enough.

Look also at exactly what Rick Davis was saying. Polls improving in "virtually" though not "every" battleground state. Also, the statement (hope?) that states making up a "potential" of 270 votes are actively in play. There's an expression of possibility, not necessarily of confidence.

McCain's attacks against Obama's tax policies do appear to have worked, and continue to, though I feel he needs more time than he has left if they are to become a decisive factor in this election.

Comparisons are tricky, but these last few days have made me think back to the 1997 general election in the UK. In the run-up to polling day, Tony Blair's Labour Party sensed victory, but some supporters worried it might fail yet again at the polls. John Major's Conservative Party spoke of how he could win, but his supporters weren't that keen on what was on offer for them.

The day after the election Tony Blair was striding up Downing Street, all smiles. John Major went to watch the cricket. Politics moved into a new, fresh generation. For most I met that day, a country that had felt stagnant, felt alive again.

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