The Plank

The Throwing-under-buses Phase Begins

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This is pretty interesting:

[Norm]
Coleman told reporters that he would not be appearing at a planned
rally with McCain this afternoon. Could it be McCain's sliding polling
numbers in Minnesota? His attacks on Obama? Coleman said he needs the
time to work on suspending his own negative ads."Today," he said, "people need hope and a more positive campaign is a start."

There
are at least three groups of Republicans that might have an interest in
distancing themselves from John McCain. Firstly, purple-state moderates
like Coleman and Gordon Smith who don't like the campaign's tone.
Secondly, the anti-bailout economic populists in the House who might be
looking ahead to 2010 and 2012. And thirdly, true conservatives who
never trusted McCain that much to begin with.Far
more so than Obama, McCain is dependent on the goodwill of fellow
Republicans. With McCain having opted for public financing, RNC funds
are an important part of his advertising budget. Because he's way
behind Obama on McCain-branded field offices and ground operatives, he
is depending on assistance from state and local party organizations.
Republican enthusiasm lags behind that of Democrats, and so volunteer
resources are scarcer; conservative activists will need to decide if
they're going to make phone calls to support McCain or to help save
their local Republican Congressman.The further that McCain
falls in the polls, the worse these conflicts become. And it won't help
when the campaign is putting out statements like this one (McCain "blew up" the bailout?) and this one (it's Obama's
fault that some very small minority of McCain supporters have taken to
making violent statements?), which won't pass the media's smell test
and reek of stress, sleep deprivation, and low morale in Crystal City.

--Nate Silver

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