Rich Galen

Rasmussen has published polls in New Jersey, Michigan and Washington State which show - as of now - John McCain is, at a minimum, competitive with either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

Whoever the Democratic nominee is, he or she cannot afford to lose either New Jersey, Michigan or Washington State.

Got it?

I will repeat this, probably, twenty seven hundred times over the next seven months but all that matters on November 4 is the number 270. That is the number of electoral votes necessary to stand on the steps of the US Capitol building at noon on January 20, 2009 and take the oath of office as President of the United States.

A state's electoral votes is calculated by adding the number of Congressional Districts plus the number of US Senators (always two).

New Jersey, as an example, has 15 electors. Michigan has 17. Washington State has 11. Neither Hillary nor Barack is likely to get to the magic 270 without all three.

Why is this? It is because the two Democratic contenders, Hillary R. (!) Clinton and Barack H. (!) Obama, are slugging it out in Wilkes-Barre and Upper Macungie Township, Pennsylvania while John McCain is standing astride the world in places like Baghdad and Jerusalem.

On the air, my Democratic debate partners insist that the Clinton-Obama bloodletting will ultimately be good for their party in the Fall, I always ask this:

If this is such a good thing, why is every senior Democrat in Washington in a projectile sweat trying to figure out some mechanism to stop it?

That is generally when we go to a commercial.

Next bit of good news: The economy may have already bottomed out.

From the Associated Press last night:

Wall Street began the second quarter with a big rally Tuesday as investors rushed back into stocks, optimistic that the worst of the credit crisis has passed and that the economy is faring better than expected.

The Dow Jones industrials surged nearly 400 points, and all the major indexes were up more than 3 percent.

If, in the approximate words of my back-door neighbor James Carville, "It is ALWAYS the economy, stupid" then the economy may not be the crushing issue Democrats have been hoping for.

I have no idea what this means, but the AP also reported that: Wall Street got another boost when the Institute for Supply Management said its March index of national manufacturing activity rose to a reading of 48.6 -- indicating a contraction, but a slower one than in February and tamer than many analysts had predicted.

Government data on construction spending for February also came in better than expected.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at