Three signs of confidence from the Obama camp:
I. Ad Wars: While outspending McCain three-to-one on television advertisements between Oct. 7 and Oct. 13, Obama dramatically increased his disbursements in a wide swath of red states as well--"evidence," as the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza writes, "that he is almost entirely on offense with just three weeks left before election day." Here's Chris:
In Florida, for example, Obama is now spending just shy of $5 million a week on television -- a $1.8 million (!) increase from just a week ago. The same pattern is apparent in Indiana (a $900,000 increase in ad spending over the past week), Missouri ($1.4 million increase) and Virginia ($2.3 million increase).
Lest we forget, McCain upped his spending, too. The problem? "The majority of his increased spending [was] in states Republicans carried with ease in recent presidential election." These include North Carolina (a state Bush won with 56 percent of the vote in 2004 and where McCain has recently added more than $700,000 to his buy) and Missouri (Bush 53 percent, $600,000). Having just pulled out of Wisconsin, the RNC is currently advertising mostly in Missouri, Colorado, Indiana and Virginia--again, all red states.
In other words, Obama's cash advantage has forced McCain to play defense instead of offense. With Obama leading by more than seven points in the Bush states of New Mexico (+7.0), Virginia (+8.6) and Iowa (+11.8)--he's also ahead in Missouri, Ohio, Florida, Nevada and North Carolina--it's hard to see how McCain can put together a winning map if he's not even trying to encroach on his rival's turf. The only state where McCain is outspending Obama: Maine.
II. Redeployments: As Marc Ambinder reports, Obama is redeploying field staffers from a blue state (Michigan) to a pair of red states (Indiana and North Carolina). Again, if Obama adds Iowa, New Mexico and Virginia to Kerry's 2004 map, it's over. He's won--with or without the Hoosier and Tar Heel States. This latest move indicates that Obama is less worried about defending his terrain--which is understandable, given that McCain has withdrawn from Michigan and now trails by 10.5 percent in the polls--than in pursuing every available path to the largest possible victory.
III. Letting Biden Say Whatever the Heck He Wants: Do you think Joe Biden would inform Ohioans that he'd once been arrested for infiltrating a girl's dormitory if Team Obama was on tenterhooks? Um, no. Here he is in Athens this afternoon:
It’s good to be back in Athens. Now you say ‘Back in Athens, Biden, when were you here?’ Well I went to the University of Delaware and we came out here to play Ohio University. Now that was 228 years ago and we did just fine, but the thing I loved about the university was that it was such a beautiful town and we all hung around out afterwards.”Now I made a little mistake here that day, I made a little mistake. I wandered in, I met this lovely group of Ohio University…students... And uh, without knowing it, I shouldn’t admit this on national television because it’ll reveal that I’m over 60, but I thought that we were gonna go get something to eat... So I just said to young, two young women I had met, said well why don’t you…we’ll be right back, I said well I’ll come with you, and they said OK, and I walked into their dormitory and was immediately accosted by a cop who arrested me because back in those days men were not allowed in women’s dormitories.
Not that anyone can control Biden's mouth. But still.