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Why Did John McCain Avoid Los Angeles?

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On the heels of a whirlwind California journey that took him to Santa Barbara and Ventura Tuesday, presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain shuffled off to another campaign stop today, skipping out on the state's biggest city and one of the nation's largest metropolises.

Why did John McCain avoid Los Angeles?

Going to Santa Barbara and Ventura counties made sense. Santa Barbara, while not majority Democratic, does have a conservative streak and Republicans outnumber Democrats in Ventura [PDF]. He spoke of energy and pulled in a butt load of money, asking supporters in Santa Barbara to shell out between $1,000 and $50,000 dollars at a fundraising event in the seaside city.

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But why not get more money from Hollywood's deep pockets, not all of whom support Obama?

Yes, that's right. Hollywood, like the city in which it exists, is mostly Democratic. OK, mostly liberal. There are as many Prius's in L.A. as farms in Nebraska and marriage is now not just for ball and chains anymore.

Still, as Politico reported in March top shelf Hollywood stars have lined up to support McCain as Obama and Hillary Clinton debated in Kodak Theatre.

At almost the exact moment that the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Rob Reiner were cheering Obama and Clinton, entertainment industry figures including Tim Allen, Kelsey Grammer, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger were across town boosting McCain at a fundraiser at the home of MGM chief Harry Sloan. McCain's ties to Hollywood are perhaps much more extensive than those of any other recent GOP contender, a fact that could very well neutralize attempts to argue that Democrats and their Hollywood ideas are out of touch. [Politico]

So why avoid L.A. this go round?

1) McCain's message would have been lost amid Obama's Los Angeles visit.

Politicians get elected or reelected not for necessarily having good ideas or implementing them, but for the perceptions that they have good ideas and have acted on them. That's why slogans are so important. Obama is for "Change," McCain is about "leadership and experience." Few people know what they have actually accomplished but know Obama is supposed to be a different kind of president [different from whom we don't actually know. We assume Bush, but you never hear Obama hearken back to Bill Clinton's presidency.] McCain is heroic and supposedly talks straight. [A difference, I suppose, from Bush and Bill Clinton, each of whom lied in different ways.]

This is all to say, McCain would have had to fight for the city's press as Obama was wrapping up his event and as the media calculates the support he gained last night. -- even if he spoke in L.A. today -- just as an LA Times/Bloomberg poll put him 12 points down from his Democratic rival.

2) McCain doesn't like you.

Considering that nearly half of the 3.9 million registered voters in Los Angeles County voted Democratic in the February 5 primary, there is a chance that McCain has nothing to gain from talking to you or most other people here.

He is not going to win Los Angeles in November and will likely lose California as well. Obama, on the other hand, has a lot to gain from coming to L.A. Though he will likely carry this city and the state, he is still jostling for support from Clinton malcontents who think she got a raw deal and are not convinced Obama is the real deal.

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3) The green, mean, cash machine has dried up. For now.

Obama last night reportedly raked in $5 million and McCain is now in Las Vegas where a morning event will net the Arizonan $33,100 per person and an afternoon event will bring in between $1,000 and $2,300 a person.

Hollywood's pockets are only so deep and it's no use asking those on the right to shell out dough a night after their political opponents on the left did the same thing. Though there is something to be said of competing fundraisers (It's speech, damnit!), most donors like to have the spotlight all to themselves, or for at least a couple of days.

Those said, McCain will likely be back in Los Angeles. At some point. Maybe we can ask him then why he avoided a swing through the city yesterday.

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