Obama's first general election ad:
The ad will air in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia, per the campaign.
We can probably say with some certainty that this is Obama's early battleground targets. I would've loved to see Mississippi and Nebraska on this list, but aside from that, it's pretty clear that Obama is playing offense. Of that list, only Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are Kerry states. And really, those are the only current Blue states competitive at this juncture of the campaign.
Florida and Ohio are obvious inclusions, as are several purple states like Iowa and Nevada, even Virginia. But it's great to see solid Red states in the mix like Alaska, Montana, and North Dakota. This year's battles will be fought deeper in Red territory than we've seen in ages.
I'm an old artilleryman. In that biz, the first rounds fired are spotting rounds. The forward observer (or, today, unmanned drones) call in coordinates. The artillery battery fires a couple of rounds, to see where they land (things like wind have an obvious effect). The forward observer calls in adjustments, walking the spotting rounds closer to the target. Once the rounds are hitting their intended target, you "fire for effect" which means "unload all you've got on the target".
I see this first salvo as spotting rounds. If we see positive movement in places like Alaska and Montana, we may see the campaign fire for effect.
Let's hope so. McCain doesn't have anywhere near the resources to fight this war on such a wide front. Their best hope is for a traditional Ohio-Florida campaign to develop. Then, they concentrate their resources on those two states. But Alaska? Republicans can't afford to see states like Alaska become seriously contested.
Update: Good point made by an emailer -- by being up in Iowa, that bleeds over into eastern Nebraska, which are the two EVs that are possibly in contention this year.