Obama's map gets wider still: "Democrat Barack Obama extended his front-running campaign into West Virginia, a bastion of white, middle-class voters who rejected his primary season appeals, and confidently broached the subject of victory in a presidential contest playing out on Republican turf," the AP's Liz Sidoti reports. "GOP rival John McCain found himself looking for a break as he was largely forced to defend his standing in states President Bush won four years ago."
"It is a reflection of how the Obama team is trying to use its war chest to close off paths Sen. John McCain can use to accumulate the 270 electoral votes needed to win," Sara Murray writes in The Wall Street Journal.
Should McCain shrink his own map more? "McCain's campaign soldiers on in those Democratic-leaning states [Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Wisconsin], committing its most precious commodities -- time and money -- even as the Republican nominee struggles to lock up the red states he likely must sweep to win the presidency," Politico's David Paul Kuhn writes. "It's a head-scratching strategy that is leading even some Republicans to wonder why the McCain campaign hasn't written off places such as Iowa and Pennsylvania and strategically retreated to ensure victory in more favorable red state terrain -- such as Virginia and North Carolina -- that it absolutely cannot afford to lose."
The polls suggest a path, though a narrow one: "A spate of widely publicized newspaper and network polls over the past week have shown Barack Obama opening a big lead over John McCain. But other surveys tell a somewhat different story, suggesting the presidential race is still close, and the Republican has even gained ground in recent days," The Wall Street Journal's Nick Timiraos reports.
Obama gets it: "Don't underestimate the capacity of Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," Obama said at his Billy Joel/Bruce Springsteen fundraiser, per ABC's Jake Tapper. "Don't underestimate our ability to screw it up."
Remember New Hampshire? Obama does: "We are 19 days away from changing this country -- 19 days," Obama said Thursday, per ABC's Jake Tapper. "But for those who are getting a little cocky, I've got two words for you: New Hampshire."
"Obama is riding high in the polls, and many political analysts saw the debate as McCain's last, best chance to make a serious dent in Obama's momentum. But Obama cautioned supporters against overconfidence, reminding them of what happened in January in the Granite State," Brian MacQuarrie writes in The Boston Globe.
The McCain message: a plumber, yes, plus an evisceration: "I'm calling on behalf of John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama and his Democrat allies in the Illinois Senate opposed a bill requiring doctors to care for babies born alive after surviving attempted abortions," reads one McCain-Palin/RNC robocall, per Talking Points Memo.
Another: "You need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge's home, and killed Americans. And Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington. Barack Obama and his Democratic allies lack the judgment to lead our country."
ABC's Jake Tapper: "This doesn't seem to me to be such a great recipe for future bipartisanship achievement, should Sen. McCain win in 19 days."