Celebrating McCain, Comeback Kid
By Ed O'Keefe
NASHUA, N.H. -- John McCain gathers tonight with supporters in the same Crowne Plaza Hotel ballroom they filled when he won the New Hampshire primary in 2000.
A loud cheer went up at 7:32 p.m., as Fox News Channel displayed early returns giving McCain a 38-29 percent edge ahead of Mitt Romney.
Among those in the crowd: former senator Phil Gramm (R-Tex.).
"This has been the greatest political comeback of my lifetime," Gramm says. "Given where we started, we made a remarkable comeback."
The former senator says McCain asked him to review his campaign budget as it started bleeding money last summer. "It wasn't just a matter of making a few adjustments," Gramm says. "It was an acknowledgment that we were going to have to, in essence, start over with a grass-roots, shoe-leather campaign."
McCain never complained, Gramm says. "He hunkered down and started working. He came off as courageous."
"McCain has been a leader in more change than all the other candidates in this race combined," Gramm says, noting that "change" is a word that most candidates have muttered, with few of them able to match McCain's record.
The former Texas senator and 1996 presidential candidate says he'll stay involved with the McCain campaign, "just for John," saying he's stayed so far away from the political process that tonight he'll give his first television interview since the 2004 death of Ronald Reagan.
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