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."
"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. . .
-- 1:30 pm ET: Holds town hall meeting in Pueblo, CO
-- Fundraises in Texas
-- 11:00 am ET: Holds a community gathering in Abington, PA
-- 11:00 am ET: Speaks at son's deployment in Dover, DE
At the White House. . .
-- 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
ABC News' Gary Langer: Sarah Palin Boom Busts: Poll Casts Doubt on Experience Prior to Vice Presidential Debate LINK
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