To be precise, he thinks 48 states will at least be in play according to internal projections obtained by Politico. Click and scroll for maps. The point, clearly, is simply to show that he’d fare better against Hillary than would Fred or Mitt, not to suggest that he expects a landslide. But still, how do they expect people to take this seriously if they’re painting Connecticut, where Joe Lieberman wasn’t liberal enough to win the primary last year, purple? Granted, Rudy would force Hillary to spend a little extra money defending states she’d otherwise have wrapped up — but only a little, since, as Green Mountain Politics reminds us, she’ll have money to burn while Rudy will have to devote his meager cash to true swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Add to that the fact that 70% of the public wants to cut funding for Iraq and the fact that he’s already being snubbed by social cons in battlegrounds like Iowa and he’s looking at a scenario where, as a hawkish liberal, he’ll have to count on Hillary hatred alone to carry the south for him while he dumps the lion’s share of his cash into five or six states and prays for a clean sweep to squeak through.

And he’s our best chance. Repent, for the end is near.

Update (bp): As long as we’re bashing Rudy, here’s a Red Eye segment from last night. Levy gets in a couple of choice shots at the end.

My take on all of this: Rudy is better than Hillary but isn’t the GOP’s last, best hope. We don’t have a candidate who is that last, best hope yet but hopefully one will emerge. And I think that it’s too soon to just give up and crown her queen. Hillary has many ethical issues that should dog her, she doesn’t connect with voters well, she has extremely high negatives nationwide, etc etc. She’s pretty much a lock for the Dem nomination, but she’s quite evitable in the general.