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Election Post Mortem: Did McCain Hurt The Republican Brand?

Although this segment of The Rachel Maddow Show aired before the election, it does bring up an important point about one aspect of the McCain campai

Although this segment of The Rachel Maddow Show aired before the election, it does bring up an important point about one aspect of the McCain campaign tactics we haven't discussed yet: as polls showed McCain dropping further and further out of contention, McCain--effectively, the head of the Republican Party--did nothing to help down ticket races, some of which were very, very tight (at the time of writing the Coleman/Franken race in Minnesota was heading to a recount).

Did McCain's refusal to campaign in any of these locations help or hurt the Republican brand? Tim Pawlenty tries to deflect the question by saying that Obama didn't come to Minnesota to stump for Franken, but I don't know that the comparison is apt. While Obama never did any appearances with Franken, the Obama campaign's ground forces did do an amazing job of canvassing and registering more Democratic voters, which would only help Franken.

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