McCain and Michigan

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Politico reports that Michigan Republicans are furious at John McCain’s decision this week to abandon the state, which at one point had been considered one of his best prospects among the states that John Kerry won in 2004:

“We’re blindsided, along with everybody else in Michigan,” said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. “I feel like I woke up this morning, and there was a note on my pillow.”

“When the general leaves the battlefield when the fight’s still going on, it creates a lot of chaos,” he said.

Saul Anuzis, the chairman of the state party, sent out a fundraising message Friday morning that called McCain’s decision “a tough blow.”

McCain’s move speaks louder than spin. It is the most tangible sign yet that there is a new calculus taking hold in the final month of the race.

UPDATE: Commenter James, Los Angeles asks: What do you think they are seeing that the rest of us don’t see, Karen? It makes not a lot of sense. They aren’t *that* far behind.

I think there are two things at work here. The latest polls do indeed show Obama opening a big lead in Michigan, where McCain’s disadvantage on economic issues is going to hit him as hard as it does anywhere in the country. The McCain campaign also is beginning to badly need those resources it was spending in Michigan for other states where he is falling behind, like Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, a state that hasn’t voted for a Democrat for President since LBJ.

UPDATE2: Sarah Palin doesn’t seem to have gotten the strategy memo. CBS’s Scott Conroy via Politico’s Jonathan Martin:

For the second day in a row, Sarah Palin expressed her dismay at the campaign’s decision to pull out of Michigan. This time, though, she brought up the move unprompted (!)

Palin may be only expressing her honest views on the situation, but by continuining to talk about the state she continues to give legs to a negative storyline and ensure additional days of coverage on the worst kind of process-oriented matter at this stage of the race: