STRATEGERY WATCH…. There’s been quite a bit of speculation over the last couple of days about John McCain’s avenues to 270 electoral votes, and just how many of them seem to have roadblocks. CNN reported Monday that Colorado is the next “red” state Republicans are likely to give up on, prompting fierce denials from the McCain campaign.

Today, it appears the reports were true.

Republicans are slashing their television advertising at Colorado’s three biggest television stations, a troubling sign for presidential nominee John McCain.

McCain is headed to Colorado Friday, but public records provided by three Denver stations show the GOP this week cut their ad spending for McCain by 46 percent.

What’s more, Greg Sargent spoke with ad maven Evan Tracey about the shifts in McCain’s ad expenditures, which include far fewer ads in “blue” states like Wisconsin and New Hampshire, a “red” state like Colorado, and apparently even a reduction in Pennsylvania, perhaps due to insufficient funds. McCain is increasing airtime, however, in Virginia and Florida.

Tracey notes that there were a couple of exceptions to this pattern. For instance, he says, McCain’s ad spending has also dropped in Ohio and North Carolina, two states that are effectively dead heats.

But Tracey says he thinks these shifts are not about McCain confidence in those states as much as they are about the shortage in available ad time in them that’s been created by Obama’s massive spending and the ad buying done in local races. In other words, McCain’s getting outspent by even more than before in these dead-heat, must-win states.

For McCain, time, resources, and options appear to be dwindling.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.