McCain's Hail Mary
McCain is concentrating his money on media buys at the expense of GOTV (get out the vote) efforts. My knee jerk reaction was that this a stupid move. The very best use of money at the end of a campaign is insuring your voters cast their ballots. GOTV in vital for down ballot races. A strong GOTV program is the makings of presidential coattails, it brings voters to the polls who will also vote for congressman, senator, and dog catcher. Upon further consideration I understand why McCain is doing this.
McCain's campaign has realized that even if every one of their supporters vote they will still lose. A 100% effective GOTV program will still fall short. Even now, they need to concentrate on finding new votes and hope their supporters find the polls on their own. It's a gamble that can't hope to succeed. They will lose more votes by not having an organized GOTV than they could possibly gain through still more advertising and they are sacrificing dozens of House and Senate seats in the process.
Obama in the Desert
Obama is spending money advertising in Arizona. This seems like a waste of money. Going after Arizona's 10 electoral votes is a senseless extravagance. There is a method to this tactic.
The battleground states are already saturated with campaign commercials to the point of diminishing return - one more ad in Cleveland won't make a bit of difference. Moving a little money into Arizona forces the McCain camp to react at no practical cost to Obama's campaign.
More than most politicians, which is saying a lot, John McCain is driven by his ego. The thought of losing his home state to Obama stings worse than losing the whole election. The smart move for McCain is to ignore Obama's move into Arizona. But can McCain resist the compulsion to defend his home turf? If McCain reacts, the diversion of time and resources will hurt McCain's campaign.
This is how chess players defeat poker players.