Sen. McCain appears to play up the idea that he is running behind.
"I'm the underdog in this campaign. I'm the underdog. Have no doubt about it," he told supporters at a Nevada fund-raiser on Tuesday on Lake Tahoe. "That's a place I enjoy because that invigorates me, it makes me campaign harder, it energizes our supporters and our friends."
Sen. McCain enjoys the underdog role, and arguably is at his strongest when he's behind. He ran as the underdog in the GOP primary almost until the end.
Analysts said the danger to Sen. McCain's approach, such as with his new ad, is it can be seen as whining about Sen. Obama's successes rather than promoting Sen. McCain's own. And it remains unclear if it will stoke voter concerns about Sen. Obama or reinforce his front-runner status.
As his attacks falter, and they will because there's no substance to anything he's doing, McCain is probably going to have to use pity before too long. As in, take pity on my disasterous campaign and help me finish with a respectable number of electoral votes this fall.
Hat in hand, McCain will have no coattails this Fall, and may face the worst beating of any candidate since Mondale. That's not hyperbole--that's a recognition of the fact that Americans typically don't vote for underdogs or show anyone pity or mercy. They want a President, not a charity case.