McCain Camp Gives Up on Michigan

John McCain's path to 270 electoral votes may have gotten quite a bit harder on Thursday. As first reported by Politico's Jonathan Martin, the McCain campaign is pulling the plug on trying to win Michigan's 17 electoral votes. He has cancelled an event in the Wolverine State and is expected to halt his campaign's television advertising there, according to Republicans familiar with McCain's plans.

"Things have not gone well for him here since the Wall Street debacle," said Bill Ballenger, the editor of "Inside Michigan Politics," a non-partisan political newsletter.

McCain's move does not deliver a net gain of electoral votes into Obama's column: John Kerry, after all, won the state in 2004.

But Republicans had been hoping that a win in Michigan -- a state that Democrats skipped in the primaries and that has a history of racially charged politics -- could offset McCain losses in states like Iowa and New Mexico that Bush won narrowly in 2004. GOP hopes were not unfounded.

Back in June, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe identified Michigan as one of three Kerry states "most in danger" for the Democrats in 2008.

(The other two were Pennsylvania and New Hampshire).

Ballenger, the state's foremost political analyst, says that McCain has "outperformed anybody that the Republicans could have nominated."

In the end, however, the financial crisis appears to have undone McCain's hopes in Michigan, a state with the nation's highest unemployment rate that has also been hard hit by the nation's foreclosure crisis.

"This Wall Street meltdown has exacerbated people's anxiety about the economy," said Ballenger, "and it makes it even more impossible for the Republican nominee, whoever it might be."

The Kicker:
"Every time George W. Bush comes on television, he reminds the country how unhappy they are, and he weakens McCain."
--Newt Gingrich explaining to ABCNews.com on Tuesday how the financial crisis hurts McCain

On the campaign trail. . .

JOHN MCCAIN
-- 1:30 pm ET: Holds town hall meeting in Pueblo, CO

SARAH PALIN
-- Fundraises in Texas

BARACK OBAMA
-- 11:00 am ET: Holds a community gathering in Abington, PA

JOE BIDEN
-- 11:00 am ET: Speaks at son's deployment in Dover, DE

At the White House. . .

PRESIDENT BUSH
-- 6:50 pm ET: Attends Kenny Hulshof for Governor Dinner

POLITICAL NEWS STORIES ON ABCNEWS.COM

ABC News' Bret Hovell, Teddy Davis and Ferdous Al-Faruque: McCain Steps Up Insinuation Ifill Is Biased LINK

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ABC News' George Stephanopoulos: Stephanopoulos: Palin a Drag on Republican Ticket LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: Senate Passes 'Sweetened' Economic Bailout Bill in Hopes of House Support LINK

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos: Stephanopoulos: Battleground Swing Sees Obama Within Reach of 270 Electoral Votes LINK

ABC News' Sam Donaldson: Commentary: Sam Says Palin's Performance Will Be a Referendum on McCain's Judgment LINK

ABC News' Ariane de Vogue: Palin Silent on Supreme Court Question LINK

ABC News' John Berman, Sunlen Miller and Ursula Fahy: Obama...Nice No More LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: Awkward! LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: Debate Tip: Look for Palin to Use Biden's Own Words to Attack Obama LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: A Supreme Question LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: McCain Campaign Insinuates Bias by Moderator of VP Debate LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: Live from Capitol Hill LINK

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