SALTLICK, Pa. | Despite a double-digit deficit in polls, Sen. John McCain is throwing almost everything he can into Pennsylvania, seeking to flip soft supporters of his Democratic rival — many of whom favored Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primary, with some boldly acknowledging that race was a factor.
The Republican presidential nominee is expected to make few inroads in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, which have large black populations, but is working the blue-collar, white suburbs and rural areas across the broad midsection of the Democrat-leaning state.
Mrs. Clinton won 60 of 67 counties by nearly 10 percentage points in the Pennsylvania primary race against Sen. Barack Obama.
In this hardscrabble town, tucked in the southwestern corner of the state within Fayette County, which voted for Mrs. Clinton 79 percent to 21 percent, race is an issue but not one people discuss openly.
• Explore different election-night scenarios with our ‘Road to 270’ interactive electoral college map
“I didn’t much like Clinton, but I don’t like Obama at all,” said one man outside the fire hall, who said he voted for Mr. Obama’s primary rival.
“I don’t think America is ready for a black president, and I’m planning on voting for Senator McCain this time,” said the man, who refused to give his name but added as he walked away, “I’m not racist.”
While almost three-quarters of Americans say they would be willing to vote for a black president, 14 percent said they would not vote for a black candidate, according to a Fox 5/Washington Times/Rasmussen poll conducted Oct. 15-16. Pollsters and election strategists, though, say that number could be even higher, but that voters do not want to acknowledge racial bias.
Some analysts say Ohio and Pennsylvania may see larger than average versions of what is dubbed the “Bradley effect.” Tom Bradley, the first black man to be elected mayor of Los Angeles, lost the 1982 governor’s race even though he led in voter polls by large margins before the election.
With just 14 days left in the campaign Mr. McCain is mostly on defense, trying to hold the so-called red states that President Bush won in 2004. He trails Mr. Obama in at least a half-dozen of those states, though, and is looking to make up those potential losses by winning a state that voted Democratic in 2004.
But is Pennsylvania that state, especially with both Philadelphia, whose population is nearly half black, and Pittsburgh, a quarter black, expected to go strongly for the nation’s first black presidential nominee?
“He’s 13 points behind in the state polls, Obama’s outspending him 4-to-1, Obama has a huge field organization that he can’t begin to touch, and the race hasn’t tightened in a week. Did I miss anything?” said Terry Madonna, director of Pennsylvania’s Franklin & Marshall College Poll.
“If he gives up Pennsylvania, that means he has given up, what, every blue state - every blue state,” he said. “But pulling out of Pennsylvania would be devastating to the national campaign. He just can’t do it.”
Mr. McCain, who ends his stump speeches now with calls to “fight, fight, fight,” appears to have no intention of quitting in Pennsylvania. He makes three campaign stops today from one end of the state to the other - first Philadelphia, then Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.
One of his senior advisers said recently that not all is lost in Pennsylvania.View Entire Story
By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
“Right Angles” explores serious subjects, such as the Islamization of the Middle East and delegitimization of Israel, with humor, candor and a twist.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Weekly agitation from a columnist who many believed to be one of the least likely to become known as a Conservative Republican.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention