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Supporters cheer as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio August 21, 2012. Obama is on a two-day campaign trip to Ohio, Nevada and New York. .REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
We know that the Mitt Romney campaign has ceded Michigan and Pennsylvania.

I wrote this morning that they were bizarrely ignoring (at least for the moment) Wisconsin. I didn't mention it in that earlier post, but Romney's ad blitz also omits New Mexico and Nevada. New Mexico makes sense, since it hasn't looked competitive all cycle. But Nevada? Sure, Obama is hovering at or close to 50 percent, but it's close enough that a few points could swing it. Why cede it to the president if you've raised hundreds of millions?

So that stuff is head-scratching enough, but what about this?

Obama’s Republican challenger has spent much of the summer racing around the country gathering campaign donations to pay for advertising. And the legal restraints that kept him from spending money raised for the general election were lifted a week ago, when the party officially nominated him for president.

Yet for reasons that his advisors declined to discuss, Romney has ceded the advertising airwaves to Obama over the last week in Ohio and other battleground states.

I couldn't believe this story, so I went and looked. And yes, it's true. Other than $800K from the Koch brothers, Republicans have been absent from Ohio airwaves. Given that they spent over $3 million in the state the previous week, AFP's action seems downright inadequate (not to mention their ads are probably the crappiest of anyone this cycle). And apparently, that AFP effort is in southern Ohio, so northern Ohio is a GOP-free zone. Enjoy the break!

The Romneys aren't pulling out. Ohio is part of their "carpetbombing" effort coming up next week. But why would you go dark at all? For all the bragging of the hundreds of millions they've been raising, they couldn't spare one million to keep their presence in the state?

To be fair to them, advertising seems to be irrelevant this cycle, with hundreds of millions being pissed away with hardly any impact on the numbers. But still, you don't go dark in one of your two most important states, even for a freakin' tea break.

Since the Romney campaign ain't talking, all we can do is speculate. Are they running short on cash? They've been hoarding general election money raised all year, but they can spend it now. Why wait the extra week? Maybe they're being forced to retool their message after their convention failed to move any numbers: If your unchallenged 3-4 hour infomercial gets no traction, spending hundreds of millions with that same message might not be a smart idea.

Either way, this move doesn't bode well for a campaign that is trailing and falling further behind.

Originally posted to kos on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 01:09 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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