Barack Obama has never been particularly shy about his hope to reshape the political landscape of a country deeply divided between red and blue. To much fanfare earlier this year, his campaign launched into General Election mode pledging to make a serious play in all 50 states: the idea was scoffed at as a waste of time and money by Republicans, and lauded by many Democrats as at least a shrewd way to tie up the GOP's resources. But until recently, even as some anxious Democrats started to view the 50 state strategy as an indulgence their candidate could no longer afford, Obama seemed to have followed through -- even now he has a few paid staffers sitting in Salt Lake City, despite the fact that Utah is the most Red of Republican states. His advisers argue that the approach not only expands the playing field and aids down ballot candidates, but also helps with fundraising and adds to volunteer efforts in neighboring states more in play -- such as, in the case of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.
But now, as voter registration winds down in the next two weeks and the impact of John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin becomes clearer, the Obama campaign has apparently scaled back its outsized electoral ambitions. It is already shifting staff abandoning some states, and putting others on notice.