Barack Obama began scaling back TV advertising for the convention week, pulling ads in Republican strongholds in the South and Mountain West to concentrate on ad wars with rival John McCain in battleground states.
But Democratic and Republican officials familiar with Obama's ad purchases said the campaign had decided to pull ads from Alaska, Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Montana and North Dakota during next week's convention. Two Democratic officials, speaking not for attribution because they were not authorized to discuss ad strategy, said the campaign intends to return to those state airwaves the following week. Obama has already pulled ads in Miami, but there were conflicting reports on whether he planned to silence his ad presence in the rest of Florida.
It looks like Obama's 50-state strategy has been scrapped for a traditional battleground state approach to the campaign. The South looks like a big losing proposition for Obama. A recent poll in the region shows McCain leading in 11 southern states by a 16-point, 51%-35% margin. Obama's decision to pass over Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA) could signal that his campaign is virtually writing off the South. Virginia and Florida are the only two states in the region where Obama is running close behind McCain. His choice of Biden, a Scranton, Pennsylvania native and a Catholic, suggests Obama's campaign is on the defensive. Recent polls show Obama with a narrow lead over McCain in the Key Stone state, a must win state for any Democratic presidential candidate.