McCain pulling out of Michigan
John McCain is pulling out of Michigan, according to two Republicans, a stunning move a month away from Election Day that indicates the difficulty Republicans are having in finding blue states to put in play.
McCain will go off TV in Michigan, stop dropping mail there and send most of his staff to more competitive states, including Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida. Wisconsin went for Kerry in 2004, Ohio and Florida for Bush.
A McCain aide confirmed the move and chalked it up to the state's Democratic tilt and the resources Obama had put in place there.
"It was always a long shot for us to win," said the aide.
McCain will now turn his attention to bolstering his defenses in Ohio and Florida while putting more resources into Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and the second congressional district of Maine, where there is a sole electoral vote available.
Obama's campaign offered a muted response to McCain's decision to abandon Michigan, only promising to keep it in the Democratic column.
"We will continue to fight for every vote in Michigan because middle class families there just cannot afford more of the same," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.
Republicans had been bullish on Michigan, hopeful that McCain's past success in the state in the 2000 primary combined with voter dissatisfaction with Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm and skepticism among blue-collar voters about Barack Obama could make it competitive.
McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin spent the first night after the GOP convention at a large rally in Macomb County, just outside Detroit. The two returned later last month for another sizable event in Grand Rapids.
But recent polls there have shown Obama extending what had been a small lead, with the economic crisis damaging an already sagging GOP brand in a state whose economy is in tatters.
A McCain event planned for next week in Plymouth, Mich., has been canceled.
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