Is McCain, Like Everybody, Working for the Weekend?
As Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports, Sen. John McCain appears to have an aversion to campaigning on weekends. According to Martin, the McCain campaign has held just one weekend public event since McCain effectively clinched the GOP nomination on Feb. 7. Granted, McCain is not as young as he used to be — and with four and a half months till the general election, pacing himself might be a good idea. Also, just because there are no campaign events does not mean the Arizona senator is sitting on his duff. From Politico:
He’s hosted reporters and donors on separate occasions at his Arizona cabin, done a guest turn on "Saturday Night Live" and visited troops in both Iraq and at Walter Reed hospital.
But as the article notes, all this this time off probably could have been better spent connecting with voters, considering how competitive this election is likely to be:
But [GOP Strategist Ed] Rollins said McCain had missed an opportunity by not getting on the trail on weekends since February.
First, he pointed out, it’s easier to draw a larger crowd when people aren’t at work.
And, despite the historic Democratic primary, he said McCain could have made a splash by going into less-populated areas.
“You’ve got to think beyond big news cycles and big media outlets,” he said. “The smaller market is where he [would have been] a big show.”
Given the lack of intensity of support for McCain in the Republican base, Rollins said weekends could have been an optimal time “to rejuvenate them.”
According to Martin, the Obama campaign has held seven weekend events this month alone, including this coming weekend. Sen. Barack Obama has also just come off a grueling campaign season, during which he spent a lot of time holding rallies and other events all over the country. If McCain is campaigning on average five days per week, and Obama is campaigning six or seven days per week, that could give Obama an advantage of 16 percent to 33 percent more face time with voters in swing states. That also gives Obama a lot more time to pursue his 50-state strategy — which will only make McCain work harder to play catch-up. All this could be compounded by Obama’s ability to draw massive crowds to his rallies.
Martin reports that the McCain campaign now says it will be active on weekends through the summer and fall. It’s understandable that they don’t want to wear out the candidate. Still, the presidency is a seven-day-a-week job — and if McCain wants it, he probably doesn’t have the luxury of sitting out the weekends.