CNN’s King: McCain campaign ready to concede Colorado

CNN’s chief national correspondent, John King, reported Monday afternoon that John McCain’s campaign has decided Colorado “is gone,” and Democrat Barack Obama will likely win the state.

Describing the “tough decisions” being made at the “top of the McCain campaign” with two weeks to go until the election, King said the Republican’s team is headed toward adopting a “risky strategy” that concedes Colorado, New Mexico and Iowa to Obama while going all in on the chance of winning Pennsylvania, a state where the Democrat has recently led in the polls by double digits.

“They are making the tough decisions in the McCain camp and they are beginning to look at some states they thought they could win, some states they even thought they had to win, and beginning to think they are drifting away,” King reported on the cable network Monday afternoon. He said, “Most people at the top of the McCain camp” have conceded “New Mexico and Iowa are gone,” and will be carried by Obama.

“More interestingly,” King reports, “most top people inside the McCain campaign now think Colorado is gone, that that is now beyond their reach, Colorado a red state twice for George W. Bush most likely will go Obama, they think at the top of the McCain campaign.”

Recent polls show a consistent lead for Obama in Colorado, which began early voting on Monday on a swell of new registrations.

“So they are now finishing with a very risky strategy,” King said, counting as “must-wins” for the McCain campaign, Florida, Nevada, and “the biggest risk of all” that the McCain strategists are “betting on coming back and taking the state of Pennsylvania.” King also pointed out this strategy requires wins in Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia — “states where they are trailing or dead even in polls.”

According to King, “as Colorado, Iowa, other states drift away, they think they have to take a big state,” such as Pennsylvania, which has 21 electoral votes.

Watch King’s analysis here.

“We see the race tightening both internally and in public polling,” said national communications director Jill Hazelbaker in a statement released Monday night by the Colorado office of the McCain campaign. “We are within striking distance in the key battleground states we need to win.”

Hazelbaker didn’t say whether Colorado was still considered a “key battleground state” by the McCain campaign.

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