Dorning: "If Obama could inspire just 10 percent more Democratic voters under 30 to go to the polls than did four years ago, that alone could be enough to switch Iowa and New Mexico from red to blue, the analysis suggests. Just a 10 percent increase in turnout among blacks would make up more than 40 percent of George W. Bush's 2004 victory margin in Ohio and more than 20 percent of the Republicans' 2004 victory margin in Florida."
Assuming the money is there, the map is his oyster: "Barack Obama will focus his resources largely in 14 states George W. Bush won in 2004, his chief field operative said Tuesday, hoping to score upsets in places like Virginia, Indiana, and Georgia," Politico's Ben Smith reports. "But winning the White House won't be his only goal, deputy campaign manager [Steve] Hildebrand told Politico: In an unusual move, Obama's campaign will also devote some resources to states it's unlikely to win, with the goal of influencing specific local contests in places like Texas and Wyoming."
Talking energy in Las Vegas only makes sense when you remember that Las Vegas has a real geographical place: "Obama's visit is part of a strategy to score upset victories in the traditionally Republican but independent-minded region that lies between California and the Rocky Mountains," Kathy Kiely writes in USA Today.
And yet: "Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) holds important advantages in the states that decided recent presidential elections, despite the strong headwind Republicans face this November,"The Hill's Sam Youngman reports. "Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire show promise for Republicans hoping to hold the White House amid a housing crisis, record gas prices and the Iraq war."
But McCain got it right at his fundraiser, in Newport Beach, Calif.: "We are behind. We are the underdog," he said. Per the Los Angeles Times' Andrew Malcolm: "And then he uttered another truth that McCain's competitors ignore at their peril, 'That's what I like to be.' "
Someone needs a refresher on advance staffing: "During a roundtable discussion on energy security at Santa Barbara's Natural History Museum, one of the panelists invited by the McCain campaign to sit onstage beside the candidate -- disagreed with the Arizona senator's energy plans and lambasted his nuclear energy proposal," per ABC's Bret Hovell, Jennifer Parker, and James Gerber.
"I'm a little bit bemused that I ended up on this panel," said Michael Feeney, chair of the Santa Barbara Land Trust, a non-profit conservation group.
(There's one way to separate your candidacy from President Bush. Per USA Today's David Jackson: "Instead of picking crowds of committed supporters to fill his town hall meetings, aides to Republican John McCain say they are hiring specialists to find undecided and not overly partisan voters.")
Settled: Santa Barbara was a poor choice. "In this coastal city, the site of a disastrous oil spill in 1969, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was dogged by critics at nearly every turn for his recent embrace of offshore drilling," Maeve Reston and Michael Finnegan write in the Los Angeles Times.