July 15, 2007


McCain rolls out leaner campaign in New Hampshire: He says he can outcampaign those with more funds (MICHAEL COOPER, 7/15/07, Associated Press)

Without much money, or a private jet or even one of his trademark campaign buses, Sen. John McCain brought his newly stripped-down campaign to an American Legion post here on Saturday and stood in a stifling hot room for an hour and a half fielding questions from voters like Frank Fahey.

Fahey, a 64-year-old retired teacher who is a registered Republican, told McCain that he was "an American hero" who received his vote in the state Republican presidential primary in 2000. But he wanted to know about the perception that McCain had become too close to President Bush since then. And what, he asked McCain, about those pundits who "pretty much sang the death knell of the McCain campaign" on television last week?

McCain looked out at the crowd and said: "Look, I have had tough times in my life. This is a day at the beach compared with some others."

It was the kind of one-on-one exchange that McCain and his aides say will have to dominate his campaign for president now that it has spent most of the $24 million it has raised.

Two of his top strategists quit in the past week, scores of workers were laid off and McCain has gone from presumed front-runner to underdog. Now the campaign is being pared down. Staff members were just asked to turn in their parking passes, and the campaign is considering a move from its Virginia headquarters to a cheaper space.

Now, he said, he will focus on just three states: New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina. It is a return to the kind of lean insurgent's campaign that he ran in 2000, say the aides who are left

For New Image, McCain Looks to His Past (Dan Balz, 7/15/07, Washington Post)
"Look, we're going to be fine," he said. "I know how to campaign. I can win in New Hampshire, as I did in 2000. I never was going to rely on money to win this campaign. I'm not a very good fundraiser. I'll admit it. But I can out-campaign any of these guys, and I will and I can and we'll do just fine -- here, in Iowa and in South Carolina."

He was planning to rely on money, as the initial budget projections from his campaign now testify. He expected to raise and spend $154 million, then revised that to $137 million, then $120 million. But he was right about another thing -- he did not turn out to be much of a fundraiser. Now he is reduced to what has long been his essence -- grit, determination, a willingness to say what he thinks and the exhilaration that comes with being an underdog.

The Senator just needed to look to his own experience and past his CFR rhetoric--money isn't important. In America you win when you run as an insurgent outsider, no matter how far inside the Beltway you really are.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 15, 2007 12:00 AM

He's just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Posted by: AWW at July 15, 2007 11:21 AM

The parrot's dead, oj.

Posted by: ras at July 15, 2007 11:39 AM

Iraq remains a huge wild card for Johnny Mc.

The right outcome there ... at the right time ... could make him both a hero and a visionary.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 15, 2007 12:48 PM

Will have no effect on his chances at all. Thompson, Giuliani, Rommey etc. have mouthed similar sentiments in support of the Iraq war effort, but only McCain managed to simultaneously make an a** of himself with regards to accusations of torture and general conduct of the War by Rumsfield, which has been beneficial to Democrats and damaging to Bush.

It's a mute point. There will not be a clear decisive ending to our engagement.

Posted by: h-man at July 15, 2007 3:41 PM

Disagree. Johnny Mc will be portrayed as the one who stood up to both his peers in the Senate and his friends in the media. May not be enough to push him over the finish line ... at the moment he has no wind in his sails ... but then again, it just might. My guru is Yogi: it ain't over.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 15, 2007 4:04 PM

Reagan's parrot died too--he won as well. As did GHWB's, Dole's, and W's.

Posted by: oj at July 15, 2007 4:10 PM

OJ - you keep trotting out Reagan, GHWB, Dole, and W. Problem is none of them ticked off the majority of the GOP base the way McCain has the past 6 years so your analogy falls apart.

Posted by: AWW at July 15, 2007 5:49 PM

The base hated GHWB and Dole. The base doesn't matter.

Posted by: oj at July 15, 2007 9:03 PM