McCain Campaign Abandons Efforts To Win Michigan
SCOTT HORSLEY: And I am Scott Horsley with John McCain, who is not in Michigan. McCain had hoped to compete in that Midwestern battleground. But after Barack Obama opened up a double-digit lead there, McCain opted to drop his ads in Michigan and redeploy staffers to other, more winnable locations. Political director Mike DuHaime said on a conference call yesterday McCain still sees opportunities in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, two states the Democrats carried in 2004.
Mr. MIKE DUHAIME (Political Director, John McCain for President 2008): The reason that this race in these states is as close as it has been in what is a difficult environment for Republicans is because Senator McCain has the ability more so than any other person in the country right now to keep moderates and conservatives together, win a majority of independent voters, and get that lion's share of Democrat voters.
HORSLEY: Adding Sarah Palin to the ticket energized conservatives, and McCain hoped the Alaska governor would also draw more independent women to his camp. The new polls suggest that Palin's star has faded somewhat, especially among women. A majority now say Palin is not qualified to be president. McCain disagrees.
Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona; 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee): And I can't tell you how proud I am of her and the inspiration that she has provided to young women and men and every American.
HORSLEY: McCain was speaking at a women's town-hall meeting in Colorado, where Jennifer Raffi (ph) asked for his autograph and also asked him about the economy.
Ms. JENNIFER RAFFI (Resident, Colorado): I considered myself a swing vote up until recently. I have been laid off four times in the past eight years. I started my own business and that didn't make it after three years. And now I am a security guard with an engineering and math background, and I can't find an engineering job.
HORSLEY: Raffi told McCain she's worried about health-care costs and about home foreclosures. McCain stressed his plan to cut taxes and empower consumers to shop for better health-care deals. After the town hall, Raffi said she decided to vote for McCain but mainly because of his foreign-policy experience. Aides say they are looking forward to turning the corner on the financial crisis so McCain can get back on more comfortable ground. McCain was asked at the town-hall meeting when he plans to take the gloves off. He replied, how about next Tuesday, in his next debate with Barack Obama. Scott Horsley, NPR News, Denver.