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, 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

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

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.”

You can contact Campaignia at

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.

You can contact Campaignia at