Pres. Numbers Game

CNN's all-knowing John King reported yesterday that the McCain campaign has essentially conceded Colorado, along with two other states that Bush won in '04: Iowa and New Mexico. McCain is now forced to put all his eggs into an unlikely (but possible) comeback in Pennsylvania.

Here's his problem. Those three states add 21 electoral college votes to the Obama column. If Obama gets 251 from holding all of the states Kerry won in '04 -- in all of which he holds substantial polling leads -- that gives him 272. It takes 270 to win.

There states that would seem easier to pluck than Penn., such as Wisconsin, Maine, New Hampshire, or Minnesota. But any one of those would be negated by Obama winning Virginia -- a red state where Obama is now whooping McCain in the polls.

So, McCain is forced to go all-in on one big prize, and that's Pennsylvania's 21 electoral votes. And in fact, McCain is barnstorming the Keystone State today.

By doing so, of course, he frees up Obama to go after other states -- particularly given Obama's vastly greater resources.

Obama can now shift resources from states where McCain is giving up, to states McCain must hope remain in his column. Perhaps Obama will pull ad money from New Mexico, and spend it in Nevada instead. Perhaps he'll pull staff from Wisconsin and put them in Indiana.

McCain has no choice but to seek the only path that could get him to 270. But by doing so, he increases the chance that Obama will win by a large margin. Perhaps even the 35 states I have predicted -- which looks less crazy every day, doesn't it?

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