Uh-oh: McCain spending in Indiana

Now in retreat mode, John McCain must spend to defend the Hoosier State.

Published September 23, 2008 9:04PM (EDT)

Indiana has been a bright spot recently for Democrats, particularly in the pickup of three U.S. House seats in 2006. These are not gains on the magnitude of Ohio, New Hampshire or Colorado lately, but still not bad for such a reliably red state.

And now comes word from Ben "King of the Mini-scoop" Smith of the Politico that the McCain campaign will be spending precious, limited dollars on ads to defend against Barack Obama's possibly stealing Indiana's 11 electoral votes.

The Obama campaign gleefully noted that in a recent Time magazine piece reported from Indiana, a state George W. Bush won by 20 points four years ago, the GOP was suggesting that McCain need not bother there:

Indiana Republicans proudly say they don't need to pay for advertising because the Democrats are merely playing catch up. "We want [the GOP] to put resources in the true battleground states," says Kevin Ober, the Indiana Republican Party's executive director, adding: "The polls are already showing us ahead." Jonathan Swain, spokesman for Obama's Indiana campaign, concedes the party is running from behind in a state where it has not campaigned actively in 40 years. Still, he says, the polls show that "we've got good reason to think our goal is within reach."

By Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz.