McCain's Seven-State Sprint: Pittsburgh, Pa.
The sleep deprivation has begun to take its toll. A punchy John McCain introduces his sidekick, Sen. Joe Lieberman, as "the most foolhardy and bravest person I've ever known in American politics" because the one-time Democratic vice presidential nominee endorsed McCain. "You know, Joe the Lieberman and Joe the Plumber are the best," the candidate says. "Joe! Joe! Joe! Joe!" he chants, but the crowd does not join in.
After a healthy turnout in Tennessee, this one is dispiriting -- no more than 1,000 people, filling perhaps a third of a hangar at the Pittsburgh airport. "There are more of us than there are of them," somebody says from the plane.
The warm-up act, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, likens McCain to the Pittsburgh Steelers in their Monday Night Football game against the Redskins. "On Monday night the Pittsburgh Steelers are underdogs to the Washington Redskins, and Tuesday it appears John McCain is the underdog to Senator Obama," he says. Of course, the Redskins are only favored by a point and a half -- a roughly even line -- while McCain trails Obama by a touchdown. But that's not Ridge's point. "The pundits could be wrong on both," he says.
The very loose McCain twice tells the Pittsburgh crowd that he's going to "give you some straight talk" about the election. And he loses his way on the simple task of introducing his wife. "And by the way, again, say thanks to the -- how welcome let's make -- the next first lady of the United States, Cindy McCain."
The Mac is Back, as McCain likes to tell audiences. But he needs a nap.
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