If John McCain loses next Tuesday, says Politico.com columnist Roger Simon, one of his biggest mistakes was his failure to exploit issues that Republicans usually do well with, like gun ownership. Guns are a potent force in American politics. Had Al Gore won Tennessee, Arkansas or West Virginia – all winnable states – in 2000, he would not have had to win Florida, and he would have become president. Gore lost all three states, and guns had a lot to do with it.
Gun owners simply didn't believe Gore when he said he was not going to take their guns away. This year, gun ownership seemed like a ripe issue for McCain to exploit. Obama opened up the door in April, when he made his now famous comments about how when small town people “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion  a way to explain their frustrations.” Considering that the McCain/Palin ticket is battling for its life in small town and rural America, you would think the campaign would be out there talking about guns every day. There has been one very effective political ad that does feature a gun. But it is an Obama ad. It shows a waist gunner in a helicopter manning his machine gun as the countryside flashes beneath him. And you hear Obama saying, “I believe in tracking down terrorists before they strike.”