I just spoke to a McCain campaign official about the subject of my SwampCast: Why is he bothering with Iowa when he has such scarce resources — shouldn’t he be spending every single minute and dime in New Hampshire? (Until recently, this was the strategy favored by his top advisers.)
The official told me that the Brownback endorsement and the “crazy calendar” had swayed the decision to stay in Iowa and be serious about it. How serious? The official told me that McCain “could come in third, maybe even second.”
That’s a truly audacious ambition considering McCain’s weaknesses in the state: ethanol and immigration, more than having skipped it eight years ago… and then there’s the fact that they had to complete rebuild the Iowa staff post-implosion this summer…. The McCain campaign may be running low on money but they’ve never needed to borrow chutzpah.
Speaking of which: I wonder if that bold prediction isn’t also a tacit admission that they’ve succeeded in getting that 3 million dollar loan Marc Ambinder reported on this morning — without it, it would be difficult to play in Iowa even if it was unquestionably a brilliant idea.
I also should note that, contrary to my ‘Cast, the McCain campaign spent $100k on mailings in Iowa, not $200k; it was for 200k pieces of mail.