Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Race42008's Kavon W. Nikrad: "John McCain's Not Surrendering" + 4 YouTube videos

Race42008.com's Kavon W. Nikrad posted a YouTube-laden piece titled "McCain's Not Surrendering" on Tuesday, September 18. Here is his text:

Re: The McCain polling surge, Gallup Polling Guru Frank
declared the Arizona Senator, “a very solid number 3″ (behind Giuliani and Thompson) on his USA Today blog yesterday, and notes that he is “within 4 points of Thompson” in their polling (Romney fans may want to avoid this entry due to his analysis of Mitt’s numbers.)

McCain’s polling resurgence has come with the reports from Iraq that The Surge has been effective in quelling the violence in many of the nation’s most war-weary areas.
Let’s face it-McCain was right on Iraq, and was from the beginning of the conflict. The Senator is now using his foresight on the campaign trail to make the case that he is the most qualified Republican candidate to be Commander-in-Chief.

You can read the original post, with the four YouTube videos, by clicking here. You can contact Campaignia at publisher@campaignia.org.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Power Line Blog's Paul Mirenoff's summary - "Feeling It" - of McCain conference call

Paul Mirenoff of Power Line Blog published a concise summary of Senator McCain's conference call on Wednesday, September 12 - here are excerpts...

John McCain was "feeling it" during his blogger phone conference today. And why not? The domestic political climate with respect to Iraq seems to have improved, and he's doing better in virtually every poll.

McCain began by calling on the Democrats to repudiate the aspersions cast by Moveon.org on the patriotism and integrity of General Petraeus. McCain reminded us that he repudiated what he considered attacks on the patriotism of Max Cleland and John Kerry. Later in the call, he declined an invitation to come down hard on the Democrats' conduct during the hearings this week. McCain said he wants to maintain a respectful relationship with the war critics in Congress, but added that they seem to have made up their minds.

I asked McCain whether, in light of Gen. Petraeus's concession that parts of Baghdad remain under the control of Shia militias and dominated by fear, he thought the recommended troop reduction was a pure military judgment, or at least in part the product of political calculation and concerns about manpower. McCain said Petraeus has committed to him that if he needs more troops he will ask for him. Thus, he hopes, and based on his trust of Petraeus believes, that the troop reduction recommendation is entirely "a considered military judgment." McCain added that there are reports (which he can neither confirm nor deny) of opposition to the surge at the Pentagon, but that (again) he hopes and trusts that this is not influencing Petraeus's recommendation.

Matt Lewis asked about the response of other Republican candidates, in particular Mitt Romney, to the surge. McCain said he doesn't pay much attention to what's coming from the other campaigns, and engaged Romney on the issue only because of his comment during the debate that the surge was "apparently" working. Lewis followed up by asking whether it's the responsibility of Republican candidates to help create confidence in the surge. McCain said he'd like to see other candidates be more supportive...

Betsy Newmark, passing along a question from one of her high school students, asked what McCain would do to rally support for U.S. involvement in Iraq if he becomes president. McCain said the next six months are the key. By January 2009 we'll either have shown enough success to sustain the effort or we'll have basically been forced out...

In response to a question from Phil Klein about what's likely to happen in Congress now that Petraeus and Crocker have testified, McCain noted that the authorization of the military budget is supposed to occur by October 1 but this is in jeopardy because the Dems can try to insert controversial provisions pertaining to Iraq. He also said that, while Harry Reid knows he can't get 60 votes for withdrawal, he's negotiating with certain Republicans like John Warner and Lamar Alexander to get a less straightforward resolution that will promote the same goal. McCain vowed to remain in Washington to fight these efforts notwithstanding the need to campaign and raise funds.

You can read the full text of the original post by clicking here. You can contact Campaignia at publisher@campaignia.org.

NYT: "Buoyed McCain Tours Iowa W/ New Campaign Theme"

The New York Times summed up the current mood on Senator McCain's Iowa segment of his "No Surrender Tour" in a Thursday article titled: "Buoyed McCain Tours Iowa with New Campaign Theme". It noted that it could just as easily stand as the new motto of the campaign itself. Here are excerpts from its text:
Senator John McCain’s famous “Straight Talk Express” was gone, replaced by a bus
emblazoned with a sign that read “No Surrender.”

Mr. McCain and a group of veterans — including former prisoners of war who were held with him in Vietnam, and newly minted Iraq veterans — piled into the bus and drove across Iowa, stopping in V.F.W. posts and American Legion halls to argue that the current strategy in Iraq is working, and that Democrats and wavering Republicans who want to withdraw the troops now are making a terrible mistake....

Of course, the phrase “No Surrender,” could be applied to the McCain campaign as well. It was practically written off over the summer when it nearly ran out of money, forcing it to reduce its staff sharply and scale back its operations in all but three states, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. In a trip here just last month, Mr. McCain was asked by local reporters at nearly every stop of the way if he was dropping out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

No one asked if he was dropping out this week. And the McCain campaign, buoyed by good reviews Mr. McCain received last week at a debate in New Hampshire and by the prospect of his taking on a high-profile role in the Senate debate over Iraq, is very much hoping that it is beginning a comeback.

“All we need is a little money, my friends,” Mr. McCain said in a brief conference call with fund-raisers that he made from the bus between stops.

But any momentum could drain away in mid-October if the campaign fails to show a robust bank balance when the next fund-raising figures are announced. And so far Mr. McCain has spent much of the month not raising money but discussing Iraq in the Senate and on trips like this one, trips that will continue in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

“The bad news is that all of this is obviously taking away from fund-raising time,” Mr. McCain told the fund-raisers on their call. “We’ve got to show a pretty good quarter.”

On the road, the campaign is drawing enthusiastic crowds. The tour began Tuesday in Sioux City in a hangar at Col. Bud Day Field, where Mr. McCain was introduced by Mr. Day, a Medal of Honor winner who nursed Mr. McCain back to health when they were both held prisoner in North Vietnam.

Mr. McCain remarked on the imposing statue of Mr. Day that stands outside the airport. “I think the statue is kind of, a little bit too flattering,” he told the crowd. “I almost didn’t recognize him.”

In Des Moines, Mr. Day introduced Mr. McCain as “my fellow jailbird from Hanoi.” He also served as a kind of character witness, reminding the crowds that Mr. McCain was offered an early release by the North Vietnamese but refused to go until everyone who had been shot down before him, or was sicker than he, was released...

After extolling the virtues of running a “lean and mean” underdog’s campaign, Mr. McCain then had some praise for Mrs. Clinton — or at least her campaign.

“I’d love to be in Hillary Clinton’s position,” he said. “She’s conducted a very good campaign, and she’s continued to increase her lead.”

“Although I don’t know if I could take an $850,000 hit,” he added with a laugh, referring to the Clinton campaign’s decision to return $850,000 that was raised by
Norman Hsu, a fund-raiser with legal troubles. “We might have to shut the doors.”

You can read the full text of the original article here. You can contact Campaignia at publisher@campaignia.org.

"Rebuilding Fort NH" - Ana Marie Cox: "Can NH Revive McCain?"

Ana Marie Cox of Time.com's Swampland blog posted this piece -

"Can New Hampshire Revive McCain?" - on Wednesday, September 12. Here are some key excerpts:

Senator John McCain arrives in Portsmouth, N.H., Wednesday night to begin the second leg of what he has dubbed his "No Surrender Tour," a traveling Iraq war and campaign pep rally engineered to coincide with the congressional testimony of Gen. David Petraeus and its attendant media frenzy. Given the public's continuing frustration with the war and McCain's significant stumbles earlier this year, the presidential candidate's counterintuitive approach may seem like a risky strategy, but it now has staffers talking "comeback." A recent uptick in national polls and a strong performance in last week's New Hampshire debate has the campaign hopeful that the Senator's decision to, as an internal memo framed it, "own the surge" will reinvigorate McCain's chances among the Granite State's notoriously skeptical voters...

After the campaign imploded in the spring, with McCain's coffers all but dry and his bloated operation scaled back, the remaining staffers had always hoped to "rebuild Fort New Hampshire," the site of McCain's upset triumph in the 2000 primaries. They just didn't suspect the structure's foundations would be something as shaky as the war. Until recently, the thinking was, as one adviser put it, "what immigration is for McCain in Iowa, the war is for him in New Hampshire." Which is to say, it was killing him. And just as McCain would often bring up his immigration reform proposal in Iowa town halls whether someone asked about it or not, the candidate was equally irrepressible — even glib — about bringing up the war unprompted in New Hampshire. ("Thanks for the question, you little jerk," McCain told a student a Concord high school student who asked about his age last week. "You're drafted.")

But campaign advisers say New Englanders are starting to respond to McCain's steadfastness on Iraq, even if they don't agree with his policies. They point to the focus group of New Hampshire Republicans assembled by Frank Luntz to watch last week's debate; McCain's numbers spiked the highest when he told the audience that he empathized with their "frustration" and "anger" over the situation in Iraq, and that he wants to bring the troops home as well...

Voters' willingness to see past their differences with McCain on the war may also have to do with McCain's carefully calibrated moves to distinguish between his support for the war and his support — or lack of it — for the Bush Administration. He's long emphasized, as he made a point of doing during the Petraeus hearing, that he was one of primary critics of the Administration's handling of Iraq. But when he emphasized it as a point of distinction just prior to the New Hampshire debate — saying that his skepticism about Bush's strategy predated that of even the Democratic candidates — the message finally resonated, says senior aide Mark Salter.

Of course, it's easy to speculate about McCain's surge now, but assessing his improvement on the ground is as difficult to do as in Iraq... And McCain's ability to sell his stance on the war as a principled stand may not matter if he doesn't have enough money to get his message across...

You can read the full text of the article here. You can contact Campaignia at publisher@campaignia.org.

Race42008's Kavon W. Nikrad on Senator McCain's Wed Sept 12 blogger/new media conference call

Campaignia's publisher was on Senator McCain's blogger/new media conference call yesterday, Wednesday, September 12. Starting at 3:45 PM EDT, it lasted about half an hour. It had been announced as focusing on Iraq and the report of General David Petraeus on that subject. Kavon W. Nikrad's summary, posted on Race42008.com, is a good summary of the proceedings, and here it is, in its entirety:

I sat in on Sen. McCain’s blogger conference call this afternoon hosted by Ankle Bitings Pundit’s Patrick Hynes.

Sen. McCain was in Iowa this afternoon on his multi-stop “No Surrender” tour. He will head out to New Hampshire later this evening.
Here are the highlights:

Sen. McCain began by calling out Sen. Hillary Clinton over her statements regarding Gen. Petraeus report to Congress and the “suspension of disbelief” and called on her to repudiate MoveOn.org’s attacks on the general. McCain believes that if you are not tough even to take on MoveOn.org, then you are not tough enough to be President of the United States.

The first question came from Townhall.com’s Matt Lewis, who asked in light of his skirmish with Gov. Mitt Romney during [the debate], does he feel that some of the GOP candidates are hedging their bets regarding the outcome of The Surge. McCain responded that the reason he reacted in that manner with Gov. Romney was due to his use of the words/phrases “apparently” and “seems to be” when talking about the success of The Surge so far. McCain wished to remind us that he was the only candidate to repudiate the failed Rumsfeld Doctrine. He also stated that he would like to see his fellow candidates become more active in raising support among the America People for The Surge.

Jennifer Rubin asked if he sensed any “stiffening of the spine” among his Congressional peers after the general’s report this week. McCain stated that some of the success on the ground that is due to Gen. Petraeus and the hard work and sacrifice of the troops under his command has made it through the media filter and has served to strength some members’ resolve. President Bush’s attention to raising awareness of the success of the new strategy has helped as well.

Paul Mirengoff of Powerline asked if a commitment to withdraw some troops is wise in light of Petraeus’s admission that parts of Baghdad have yet to be secured. The Senator responded that he is confident in Petraeus’s judgment and is certain that he would not withdraw troops if it would affect our success in this conflict. McCain believes that a limited withdrawal of troops is likely indicative of Iraqi forces being able to fulfill their responsibilities.

Betsy Newmark asked a question, posed by her students, which asked what he would do specifically as President to drum up support for the war. McCain stated that success on the ground is what is essential in this regard and candidly remarked that the next six-months are going to be critical. Restoring trust and confidence in the Presidency among the American People, Congress, and the Government in Washington is key. In a follow-up question, McCain stated that history will likely base its judgement on George W. Bush’s presidency on Iraq, but reminded us that President Truman left office with very low support among the American People, yet history has been kinder to him in hindsight.

Rob Bluey of Redstate asked if he was addressing the American People, as President Bush is tomorrow, what would he tell them? McCain stated he would base his address on the Petreaus report and in as much detail as possible. He also stated that if he were President, he would be addressing the American Public on a weekly basis. Secondly, he would be much more open to admitting the military mistakes that have been made so far in the conflict. Clear in this call is that fact Sen. McCain intends to make the case that he is the most qualified Republican in the field to be Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Military during this time of global conflict. He does have quite a stake to that claim in his past repudiation of Rumsfeld Doctrine, as well calling for the what has come to be called “The Surge” as early as 2003.

You can read the original post by clicking here. You can contact Campaignia at publisher@campaignia.org.

Welcome to the new home of the Campaignia Web Log!

Welcome to the Web Log for www.Campaignia.org. This is the same web log as The Tower: Surveying the Political World From High Above, which has been transferred here for ease of navigation.

For the time being, all new posts will be made here – campaignia.blogspot.com. However, all previous posts from The Tower – its archives, categories, etc. - are all still available there.

Please instruct your browsers, feeds, etc., to switch from The Tower to campaignia.blogspot.com – i.e., here.



Publisher – The Campaignia Web Log and

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Atlantic's Ambinder: "McCain's 'Road to Victory': An Actual Internal Memo"

On Saturday, September 8, Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic published excerpts from an internal strategic memo, reputed to have emerged from Senator McCain's campaign. Here is the full text of Ambinder's analysis, as well as the excerpts from the memo. (Note: italicized text comes from the memo; it has not been italicized by Ambinder.)

McCain's "Road To Victory:" An Actual Internal Memo
08 Sep 2007 01:26 pm

In an internal memo sent to political advisers this week, John McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis writes of "four phases" the campaign plans to "roll out" in September.

This isn't one of those internal memos meant for public consumption. It contains unusually specific information about campaign strategy and tactics.

The first phase of our September strategy is to take ownership of the surge and demonstrate again that John McCain is the only candidate running for President who is prepared to be Commander-in-Chief from day one.

After laying down the marker as the only candidate in the race prepared to be Commander-in-Chief from day one, we will highlight John McCain’s record of reform and his often lonely fight in Congress against wasteful spending and earmarks, against corruption and for stronger ethics accountability, and for real institutional reform to decrease the size of government and make it work effectively.

Then comes policy roll-outs, which the campaign calls "Bold Solutions for the Future."

McCain will also speak of his religious faith:

John McCain has faced unique personal challenges in his life; he has overcome them all through his faith in God, faith in country, and faith in his fellow man. Spanning issues as diverse as religious freedom, internet pornography and support for the war against Islamic extremists, faith will play an important role in discussing these issues.

Davis sees the key events of the "Fall Launch" as taking place in three stages. The first -- happening right now -- is the reintroduction of McCain, capped by his appearance tomorrow on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

On 9/11, the campaign begins its "No Surrender Tour" in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to "build support for the fight against Islamic extremists." After the last event on the tour, McCain will return to Washington and "lead the debate in the Senate against Democrat efforts to force surrender in Iraq."

After the Senate debate, McCain will "finish out the month of September with some high profile speeches, appearances, and an increased focus on the media." That includes a stop on the Late Show with David Letterman on 9/26.

Davis recognizes the need for McCain to have a strong fundraising quarter.

September is not only an important month politically; it is the final month of the third financial reporting quarter. It is essential that the campaign have a good month fundraising and finish the quarter strong.

An attachment lists information about 15 separate fundraising events.

You can read the full text of the original article here. You can contact Campaignia at publisher@campaignia.org.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

RealClearPolitics: "September: Make or Break for McCain"

Here is an analysis of the importance of September for Senator McCain, from Blake D. Dvorak of RealClearPolitics, on Friday, September 7:

September: Make or Break for McCain
By Blake D. Dvorak

Written off as an also-ran not so long ago, John McCain turned in a performance Wednesday at the GOP debate in New Hampshire that showed there’s life in his campaign yet. The pundits noticed this as well, and McCain has enjoyed a round of congratulatory press, although the Union-Leader’s “McCain Reborn: A Comeback Begun” editorial seems a bit premature. If McCain has any hope of revitalizing his campaign - to say nothing of actually winning the nomination - he has to capitalize on this sudden good fortune and turn in an equally solid performance throughout September.

And it starts with money. The reason we haven’t seen any “Straight Talk Express” lately is because a.) there hasn’t been enough money for it; and b.) what money exists is going into the “No Surrender Tour” - an week-long trip through the primary states - and his very poignant “Courageous Service” ad showing him as a POW. First and foremost, these are fundraising efforts, designed around McCain’s military service and steadfast support of the Iraq war. They are also extremely timely.

Beginning on Sept. 11 and continuing through Sept. 17, McCain will take his “No Surrender” tour through Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. It’s no coincidence that Gen. David Petraeus will deliver his report to Congress on the surge’s progress that week. Indeed, McCain hopes to make his tour a sort of public-relations effort on behalf of Petraeus and the White House.

While the other GOP candidates will no doubt support whatever Petraeus advises, none have yet tied their fortunes so closely to the surge’s success. (Recall McCain’s chiding of Mitt Romney for using the word “apparently” to describe whether the surge was working.) It remains, however, McCain’s only shot.

McCain has also found a way to differentiate himself from the other GOP candidates. As he said at Wednesday’s debate, “Find me one quote where [the other GOP candidates] have stuck their neck out and said anything that was counter to Rumsfeld or Bush or Cheney on the war for the last five years.” This is a smart line of attack that takes into account the fact that the Republican base, while recognizing the need to win the war, also in part blames the White House for following a failed policy for so long. Moreover, McCain is pointing out that someone like Romney wouldn’t have been able to criticize the war anyway, because he doesn’t have enough military experience.

To be clear, McCain’s chances of winning the nomination remain remote no matter what kind of September he has. There’s also no guarantee that McCain’s emphasis on the war will pay off in any significant way with the Republican base. But ultimately, if McCain can’t find traction in September, when so many factors are moving in his favor, his reason for staying in the campaign all but disappears.

Blake D. Dvorak is an assistant editor at RealClearPolitics.

You can read the full text of the original article here. You can contact Campaignia at publisher@campaignia.org.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Weekly Standard's review of McCain's UNH debate performance from Continetti: "McCain makes a comeback"

Senator McCain received an extremely positive review from The Weekly Standard's Matt Continetti, when it came to his performance at the UNH debate on September 5. Here's the full text of Continetti's piece:

A New Race: McCain makes a comeback and Thompson jumps in.
by Matthew Continetti

09/06/2007 12:00:00 AM

"SINCE MAY, the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination has been characterized by an unusual dynamic. At a time when national security issues are the foremost concern of GOP primary voters, a war hero with substantial experience defending the use of American power in Iraq and beyond has seen his support in national and state public opinion polls erode precipitously. That hero, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, saw his frontrunner status evaporate as two men who had not served in the U.S. armed forces--former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney--dominated in fundraising and local and national public support. Many political analysts, reflecting widespread
sentiment among Republican elites, saw McCain as irrelevant to the race and likely to withdraw.

Not anymore. Wednesday night's Fox News Channel debate saw McCain reassert his place in the top tier of Republican contenders. And it was his answers on critical foreign policy questions involving Gen. David Petraeus's "surge" strategy in Iraq, the interrogation techniques deployed on enemy detainees, and the use of military force against Iran that established his strong position. It increasingly seems clear that illegal immigration, the issue which dominated the Republican race throughout the spring and summer, and an issue on which McCain stands directly opposed to many in his party, will not be the issue on which the nomination is decided. To put it another way: Foreign policy has come home to roost.

Romney's defense of the surge was weak. In fact, he did not bother to defend it, reserving judgment until Gen. Petraeus addresses Congress on September 10. Romney said the surge was "apparently" working--at which point McCain found an opening to attack. "Governor, the surge is working," he said, going on to defend the policy and reminding voters that he has called for this strategy and increased troop levels since 2003. Flummoxed, Romney tried to recover, but failed. And Romney left an additional opening for McCain to attack his call for U.S. troops to move into a "support" role in Iraq--a strategic change that the latest National Intelligence Estimate has said would erase the security gains the surge has made so far.

McCain also drew a connection between his military service and his views on the treatment of enemy detainees, while highlighting the fact (though not explicitly) that Romney and Giuliani are not veterans. McCain was allowed the final words of the debate, responding to a question on Iran's nuclear programs. And both Giuliani and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said kind words about the senator.

A lot is still to come in the race for the Republican presidential nomination and it's likely that Fred Thompson's entry will overshadow last night's debate. But when the history of the 2008 campaign is written, September 5 will likely be remembered as important. It's the day when many commentators' assumptions about the race were overthrown--and the fight was joined in full by every combatant.

Matthew Continetti is associate editor at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

You can read the full text of the original article here. You can contact Campaignia at publisher@campaignia.org.

Text of McCain's fundraising e-mail in the aftermath of 9/5 UNH debate, under the signature of Rick Davis

Below is the text of the fundraising e-mail, sent out under the signature of campaign manager Rick Davis on Thursday, September 6, in the aftermath of the previous day's debate at the University of New Hampshire.

This differs from other fundraising e-mails in two main respects. One is the fact that it is structured in the form of a memo from the campaign manager. While some previous e-mails had been sent out under the campaign manager's signatures- most, if not all, previous e-mails had been framed as ostensibly personal letters, with the first name of the recipient prominently noted in the salutation. The second difference is that it also has cool graphics and quotes from New Hampshire voters, about Senator McCain's performance during the debate.

Davis's text is italicized.

To: All McCain Supporters
From: Rick Davis, Campaign Manager
Re: Last Night's Debate

I hope you had a chance to watch last night's New Hampshire GOP Debate - it was a perfect example of why John McCain is the only candidate ready to be Commander-in-Chief from day one. And post-debate focus groups show the voters agree.

"I think John McCain sounded the most presidential, even the other candidates were quoting John McCain during their responses."

"I think McCain just has the experience and it came through in his answers."

"[H]e was very passionate about being a leader. And that's what we need in this country: a leader who's not afraid to do what he says."

"He exhibits leadership a lot better than other candidates seem to ... He was direct. He spoke forcefully in support for the war in Iraq."

Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes," 9/5/07

Bottom line: This campaign is in your hands. We need your help to turn last night's momentum into the votes needed to make John McCain our next president. It's clear that this isn't a time for spin or slick, made-for-TV responses. It's time for serious leadership and straight talk. At every turn last night, John McCain stood up with straight talk and a willingness to tackle our nation's challenges head-on.
I'm proud that John McCain is about solutions, not sound bites. Last night's
debate showed why John McCain is ready to be Commander-in-Chief from day one and win the war against Islamic extremists.

At last night's debate, voters in New Hampshire and around the country saw the John McCain we know and support - now it's our turn to stand up and make sure every voter gets to know John McCain before they cast their ballot. With the primaries getting closer every day, it's clear we need to have the resources necessary to help John McCain win right now. In a competitive campaign such as this one, we need every dollar possible to reach out to voters, spread John McCain's message and build our organization to get voters to the polls on Election Day.

As you saw from last night's debate, John McCain is winning over new supporters every day - and with your immediate contribution we can turn those new supporters into votes. He's been out on the road holding town hall meetings and talking with voters about the issues that matter to them in this campaign, and voters are responding to his leadership, experience and straight talk. I hope you'll join me in keeping last night's momentum going.

Paid for by John McCain 2008 ·

You can contact Campaignia at publisher@campaignia.org.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Post-UNH debate analysis: DaveG of Race42008 writes this post: "Is a McCain comeback still possible?"

Here is an extended post written by DaveG of Race42008.com, on Senator McCain's campaign as a whole, in the immediate aftermath of Wednesday's debate at UNH:

Is A McCain Comeback Still Possible?

I know that I say this after every debate of the GOP field, but the reaction of the Granite State crowd surveyed by Frank Luntz was compelling. As seen post-debate on Fox News, a room full of New Hampshire Republicans began the night with nary a McCainiac in their ranks, and ended the night stopping just short of collectively shouting, “Go, John, Go!” The same crowd, incidentally, expressed much disappointment with national frontrunner Rudy Giuliani. What gives?

This development may be less mysterious than it initially seems. Rudy has a knack for disappointing debate performances in a multi-candidate field, probably because his good-humored persona doesn’t dominate the room. Rudy’s more like a wry New Yorker, grinning and thinking of the next one-liner when a question is posed to him. This would probably be highly effective in a two-person debate, but not when every single-digit type is pounding their fist and puffing out their chest, trying to look presidential. Further, McCain is far more conservative than most conservatives give the man credit for, and upon hearing his actual views, and not the views that many Republicans have grafted onto him ever since the South Carolina primary in 2000, it is understandable that conservatives would be willing to give the man a second look. And while this may seem obvious to political junkies like us, folks who don’t spend every waking second refreshing R4′08, i.e., the bulk of Americans, still have an
unrealistic caricature of McCain embedded in their political psyche that will only be removed with greater exposure to the actual Arizona senator. But McCain is almost bankrupt, and without a functioning campaign, it’s difficult to see how he hangs on until most voters start paying attention this winter.

If McCain does decide to go for broke and hope that disaffected conservatives will return to the real McCain at the eleventh hour, here’s what he should do. First, McCain should spend the next four months visiting every nook and cranny of New Hampshire, a northern state that is more secular than religious, more Roman Catholic and Mainline Protestant than Evangelical, more fiscally conservative than not, and that has an affinity for mavericks of all stripes. If McCain can reintroduce himself to New Hampshire voters in a favorable light, he has a chance of scoring a major upset in the nation’s first primary. That will mean that after New Hampshire, Romney, the likely winner of Iowa, and McCain would each have a contest under their respective belts, while Rudy and Thompson would have no such victories. McCain’s next step would be to win Michigan, a Midwestern state that responds well to Republicans like McCain, with his understated cultural conservatism and domestic pragmatism. A one-two-punch against the rest of the field in New Hampshire and Michigan could do major damage to one or more of the frontrunners. Romney will probably snag LDS-heavy Wyoming and Nevada, but if McCain can build up enough momentum, he may be able to win South Carolina, the supposed Thompson firewall, or Florida, Rudy’s firewall. That could propel McCain into Super Duper Tuesday, where he could do very well in states like California and Illinois. And all this from a man who is politically as good as dead.

What we politicos have to remember is that the average voter remains disengaged in this race. Romney is still the guy that looks like Ward Cleaver. Rudy is still America’s Mayor. McCain is still a Democrat with an “R” next to his name. And so on. Those perceptions won’t change until the bulk of America starts paying attention. As Frank Luntz demonstrated tonight, when voters do tune in, preconceived notions can change overnight. That gives McCain one more reason to stay in the game for at least a little while longer.

by DaveG @ 11:02 pm. Filed under John McCain

You can read the full text of the original article here. You can contact Campaignia at publisher@campaignia.org.

Text of statement from McCain NH Chairman Peter Spaulding, in the aftermath of UNH debate

Here is the statement from Senator McCain’s New Hampshire chairman, Peter Spaulding, in the aftermath of Wednesday’s debate at UNH. As with the previous post, reprinting the statement from Rick Davis, this is unalloyed spin, and not an objective assessment of McCain’s performance.

However, as with the statement from Davis, it provides a clear view of the messages and themes which the official campaign wants to emphasize.

Statement by New Hampshire State Chairman Following GOP Debate in Durham

MANCHESTER, NH — Peter Spaulding, New Hampshire Campaign Chairman for John McCain 2008, issued the following statement on tonight’s Republican presidential debate.

“Tonight John McCain showed voters in New Hampshire why he is the most qualified candidate to be our next president. John McCain’s unquestionable national security credentials, record as a reformer, and inspiring lifetime of service set him apart from the other candidates on the stage at UNH. John demonstrated a command of the issues and an ability to give honest, straight-talk on each one, from the importance of reducing America’s dependence on foreign sources of energy, to cutting wasteful spending and protecting America from Islamic extremism. Tonight was simply another example where John McCain, unlike any other candidate, displayed the experience necessary to lead America and change Washington.”

You can contact Campaignia at publisher@campaignia.org.

Official post-UNH debate statement from campaign manager Rick Davis on McCain's performance

Here is the complete text of a statement, sent out via e-mail by Senator McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, immediately after the conclusion of the debate (it was received at 10:53 PM Wednesday). Obviously, this is entirely spin, and not an objective analysis of McCain’s performance in the debate at UNH on Wednesday. But it is indicative of the message of McCain’s campaign. In the e-mail, Davis stresses several of McCain’s leading campaign themes, as listed in the “Themes” categories on the right-side menu:


ARLINGTON, VA — Rick Davis, John McCain 2008 Campaign Manager, issued the following statement on tonight’s Republican presidential debate:

“This evening, John McCain demonstrated why he is the only candidate with the proven national security experience vital to confronting the transcendent challenge facing our nation — the struggle against radical Islamic extremism. McCain has demonstrated leadership and political courage by advocating an Iraq policy that would bring our troops home with honor — by winning.

“John McCain presented an optimistic and realistic vision for America’s future and has a life-long record of working to resolve the challenges we face and restore American’s trust in their government. Beyond his broad national security and international expertise, on the domestic front John McCain has been a leader in the fight to cut unnecessary spending in Washington, DC, eliminating earmarks and exposing pork-barrel projects. His exemplary record of service and sacrifice continues to stand out among all other candidates from either party, and is one of many reasons why he is uniquely qualified to lead as commander-in-chief from the moment he is elected.”

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Fred jokes about McCain on Leno: "a good friend - unless, of course, he beats me."

While the rest of the Republican field was at the University of New Hampshire for the debate on Wednesday, Fred Thompson was - finally - officially announcing his candidacy on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. (Senator McCain was on the show last week.)

Here’s what he had to say about McCain. (Fred was McCain’s national co-chairman for the 2000 campaign and one of his four Senate supporters that year.)

LENO: Now it’s you, Giuliani, Romney, McCain. Which of those guys is the toughest opponent? Which do you fear the most?

FRED: I don’t know. I don’t know. I know them all, to a certain extent. John McCain and I sat, side-by-side, on the Senate floor. And he’s a good friend, and will be, after this is over with. Unless, of course, he beats me. Then I’ll have to take another look at it. (Laughter).

But you know, I can’t gauge them. I still think it’s kind of early. You know, if you look back in history, some of these primary states - early primary states - have changed from what the polls were, from like three weeks out.

LENO: Right, right.

FRED: So you can’t tell. They’re all formidable. But, I think I will be, too. So you know, The nation’s not going to be hurt, by having one more good person step into the race.

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