Last updated: August 7, 2008 - 12:37pm
[Commentary] Now that the primaries are over it's time for the two remaining campaigns to reflect and decide what lessons should be carried over to the general election. The lesson for McCain: Obama's campaign will use its monetary advantage to stretch the playing field this fall. Although the Obama campaign never came close to Senator Clinton's campaign in any of the Pennsylvania opinion polls, it did not hesitate to pour over $10 million in media buys into the state. While the strategy did not result in a victory in the state, it successfully drained Clinton's already fleeting resources and helped Obama win North Carolina and come oh-so-close in Indiana. In the general election, look for the Obama campaign to target states that it won't necessarily need to win. Because the McCain campaign will take the federal matching funds for the general election, Obama's cash advantage will be sizeable in the fall. If Obama can make the McCain campaign spend its limited money and time in a few of these states, it will take resources away from McCain's true must-win states. A few of these "trap" states could include Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona and even Mississippi. In order to avoid the mistakes that could cost it victory in the fall, the McCain campaign will need to remain efficient and disciplined with media dollars and the candidate's time. This means resisting the temptation to chase the Obama buys into red states and holding fire until they see the "whites of the eyes," which is easier said than done. The lesson for the Obama Campaign: Don't underestimate the McCain campaign or discount the candidate's powerful biography.
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