Don't do it Hillary. Don't skip NV and SC

Manchester, NH - There are all sorts of rumors up here that if Hillary loses tonight, she is going to pull out of the next two states - NV and SC - and focus all her resources on the 23 Super Tuesday states on February 5th. The logic I hear is that since they believe she will lose the two states any way, why burn time and resources there?

Let me offer the counter.

Pulling out of states is an admission of weakness, and sends a signal that a candidate is not strong enough to compete with their adverseries. Recent examples of candidates who have announced the strategic skipping of states - Clark and Lieberman in 2004, Rudy in 2008 - have not been good.

At a time when Hillary needs to change the campaign's narrative, it denies her of important free media opportunities, including the debates and all the run up to the national media around the voting. I just cannot believe that the national media will grant her significant coverage in her trips to the Feb 5th states until after South Carolina.

All of this comes at a time when free media becomes much more important. On Super Tuesday, the campaigns - with the possible exception of Obama - will not have enough money to do significant paid advertising in more than a handful of states. This means the voters in these states will become much more dependent on free media to help them make up their minds, much more so than than in the early states where voters not only got free media but lots of candidate time and paid ads. Skipping NV and SC essentially cedes the free media game to Obama, at a time when it matters more. And where the Clinton campaign decides to focus its media dollars, Obama will be able to match dollar for dollar if not dramatically outspend. To me this strategy seems destined to fail.

And it will be a sign of tremendous disrespect to the voters of NV and SC as they look to take their place at the adults table of American politics. In the case of Nevada, given how important the Southwestern states will be to a Clinton general election campaign, skipping this caucus in particular seems like a very bad idea.

So what should Hillary do? Stand and fight, don't dismiss NV and SC. Use the free and paid media in these next two states to redefine your candidacy. Challenge Barack and make your stand in these next two states. Or, I believe, you will lose, slowly, and perhaps more dramatically on February 5th.