How can John McCain win?
The Republican presidential candidate trails Democratic rival Barack Obama in opinion polls and time is running out before the Nov. 4 election. The Web site FiveThirtyEight, which uses statistical modeling to predict the outcome, gives the Arizona senator only a 5.3 percent chance of victory.
It’s third and long for the Maverick, but two prominent Republican strategists see a path to victory.
Here’s what they say:
THREAD THE NEEDLE. McCain should focus on a handful of states that voted Republican in 2004 but could go Obama’s way this time out — Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado and Nevada, said Karl Rove, President Bush’s former political advisor. He can lose Iowa and New Mexico, which also voted for Bush in 2004, and still squeak by with 274 Electoral College votes, enough for a win.
“It’s threading the needle, but it’s come to that,” Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
TAXES, TAXES, TAXES. Forget on-the-ground tactics — McCain and running mate Sarah Palin should hammer Obama for wanting to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000, tapping into Americans’ instinctive mistrust of politicans, said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
If the message catches on, all those swing states will swing McCain’s way, Gingrich said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
The way Gingrich sees it, Obama could have another Bittergate on his hands after telling Joe the Plumber that he wants to “spread the wealth around” to create a healthier economy.
“If Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin spend the rest of this campaign focused on whether or not politicians want to take money away from you and decide how much you’re allowed to keeep, I suspect they win the election,” he said.
“What Sen. Obama said the other night was a Freudian slip,” he added.
There’s another prominent politician who’s not ruling out a McCain victory: Obama himself.
“Don’t underestimate the capacity of Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory,” he said at a fundraiser Thursday night. “Don’t underestimate our ability to screw it up.”
What do you think? Who’s got the better roadmap for McCain — Rove or Gingrich?
Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.
Photo credit: REUTERS/Jim Young (McCain arrives at the Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York, Oct. 16)