Saturday, August 26, 2006

McCain's Support Evident

WaPo writes about John McCain laying the groundwork for an inevitable Presidential Campaign and his newfound support within the Republican Party:

But doing it they are. And no one more assiduously, nor with more apparent success, than McCain, who has vaulted to the front of the GOP field. Early polls indicate he gets twice as much support as any other likely Republican candidate except Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, who runs close behind. Even in liberal, blue-state strongholds such as Massachusetts, McCain runs even with or better than the two most recognizable Democratic names, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore. As a former Navy pilot who was shot down over Hanoi and spent more than five years as a prisoner of war, he's got impeccable military credentials and stature, and a reputation for bipartisanship and fierce independence that appeals to a broad spectrum of voters. He's also got star power: Turn on your television most days, and you'll find McCain on one of the morning talkfests or on "Larry King Live," "Imus" or "Hannity and Colmes."

McCain has found success from both ends of the Republican party. Long-time Bush donors are lining up to help McCain:

Still, the detente has paid early dividends for McCain in important battleground states. Ana Navarro, a Republican activist in Miami, says big-time donors loyal to the Bush family are signing up to contribute to McCain. Ronald Weiser, a Michigan real estate developer who was Bush's state finance chairman in 2000, told me he's now backing McCain. Even Sam and Charles Wyly, two Texas businessmen and longtime Bush supporters who funded $2 million in attack ads against McCain in 2000, have given McCain's political action committee $20,000 (the PAC announced recently it was returning the donation because the brothers reportedly are under investigation for possible tax infractions).

The Grassroots superstructure is also being built:

"We'll be in good shape," says Weaver. "We'll have a 50-state structure by early next year, as opposed to a three-state structure last time. The house will be ready. Hopefully, we'll have an occupant."

That Grassroots support is clearly evident at the stops he's making:

It shows. As a purple dusk descends behind his head, he launches a stump speech with a bit more edge when he gets to Iraq. "Look, we should acknowledge the fact that we made some serious mistakes in Iraq and Rumsfeld was responsible for them -- I'll give you a little straight talk -- because we didn't have enough troops there. And the military guys knew it, and I knew it. But we still have to win, and we still have to prevail."

After the speech, the crowd mobs him for handshakes and photographs. A Vietnam vet in biker's gear and a braid in his hair is sobbing. A World War II veteran rises out of a wheelchair to shake McCain's hand. They give him presents: an Upper Peninsula flag, a hunting knife and a pair of antlers from a white-tailed deer.

"America" is playing on the loudspeaker. McCain's handlers try to clear a path to the car, but neither the candidate nor the crowd is ready to let go. It takes 20 minutes for Weaver and Yob to drag him from the scene.

Yob likes what he sees. "This guy can do what Ronald Reagan did for us. I'm just waiting for the starting gate to open."

McCain also relishes the moment. "That was really an amazing thing," he says later, as the plane takes off for another campaign stop, another hotel room, another fundraiser. "Did you see that old guy in his wheelchair? Oh, God, it was wonderful."


At 9:55 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post -- thanks!

FYI RedState is running a straw poll so go vote!


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