Stretching the map just a little more

STRETCHING THE MAP JUST A LITTLE MORE…. The notion of stretching the map was never about downplaying the significance of Ohio and Florida — they remain the two biggest battlegrounds — but it is about making the list of swing states longer than two.

With that in mind, it’s striking to see where the Obama campaign is investing resources now.

Barack Obama’s campaign announced Friday that it was going on the air in John McCain’s home state of Arizona for the first time this cycle, as a new CNN poll of polls released this morning finds the Republican nominee leading the Illinois senator there by just 4 percentage points, 49 to 45 percent. Six percent of the state’s voters said they were unsure about their presidential pick.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe told reporters the campaign’s positive closing argument spot, ‘Something,’ will hit the airwaves in Arizona. He also said the campaign was going back on the airwaves in Georgia and North Dakota with its negative closing argument spot, ‘Rearview Mirror,’ which ties McCain to President Bush.

It’s one thing to open offices and organize volunteers in these states, but we’re talking about television advertising in the last four days of the campaign.

Now, it’s possible this ad buy is intended to psych McCain out. Or maybe the Obama campaign has already bought up every possible slot in all the other battleground states, and was looking for new ways to spend what’s left of its ad budget. Either way, who would have thought in say, June, that Obama would air TV ads in Arizona, Georgia, and North Dakota in the campaign’s closing days?

Asked about Obama’s new ad buy in Arizona, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds called it a “waste of his resources.”

Perhaps. But if it’s foolish to “waste” money in Arizona, why did McCain and the RNC launch anti-Obama robocalls in the state this week?

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Steve Benen

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.