First, he has to raise money.
John McCain's presidential campaign is virtually broke, raising and spending about $25,000 a day. To do that, he will turn to a cadre of big-name fundraisers recruited way back when the campaign was projecting $120M budgets and renting high-class office space in Los Angeles.
Then he has to win Michigan -- an accomplishable task, although he needs to play tournament-quality politics.
Then he has to add staff -- lots of them. The campaign proudly runs on well-worn shoes, but the 22 contests on February 5 are not congenial to politicians with special retail politics skills. McCain has no absentee ballot program to speak of in Florida; Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney hope to bank thousands by the day of the election.
Then he has to figure out how to build momentum in Feb. 5. A win in South Carolina is possible, providing that Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson split the votes of mainline conservatives. Rudy Giuliani is superficially strong in Florida now, but there is no evidence that an accumulation of victories by McCain could erase, almost overnight, the modest groundwork that Giuliani is building in the state.
Illinois and California are McCain's top Feb. 5 targets. New York and New Jersey give all their delegates to the winner, and there's no reason to spend millions to try and soften Rudy Giuliani's home state and adopted state support.
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