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Steve Schmidt Gets It

Whether it’s related to the McCain team’s shake-and-bake or not I don’t know, but tonight comes word that McCain is purchasing ad time in Virginia. Halperin puts the media CW thusly:

Suggests the McCain camp could be worried Obama has a shot in the historically Red state”

The McCain camp could be worried that Obama has a shot? I could be worried that I’ll have to pay taxes next year. Obama leads in all three recent public polls of the state (albeit by tiny margins). The state has a popular Democratic governor and a popular Democratic senator, and will soon have a second, because the best candidate the GOP could recruit against Mark Warner was Jim Gilmore, who was last seen sitting at the Tancredo/Brownback table at the Republican Debate afterparty. The good thing about a staff shake-up is that it can give you an excuse to swallow your pride and do some things that an underdog needs to do — like playing defense in Virginia.

EDIT: After reading Jonathan Martin’s description of the McCain campaign’s shake-up, it’s a bit harder to attribute this decision specifically to Schmidt, since the official line out of Crystral City is that Schmidt is responsible for communications and message control, while Rick Davis retains responsibility for strategy. That may be being said out of politeness to Davis, though. At the very least, there was a certain nonchalance in the way that Davis had been handling the campaign that this decision marks a reversal from.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.