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McCain on the Mend?

After enduring a week of staff departures and negative news coverage, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) huddled with his supporters on Capitol Hill yesterday to ensure them that his presidential campaign remains viable.

Two separate memos were distributed to help McCain make the case and The Fix got its hands on both.

The first document seeks to draw parallels between Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential bid and the current state of McCain's operation. "During the summer of 1979, Ronald Reagan's campaign reported that it was broke," begins the memo. "The candidate had to explain his weak fundraising and big spending, as well as overcome doubts about his age and ability." After firing much of his top campaign staff just before the New Hampshire primary, he went on to win that ballot, the GOP nomination and the presidency. "Ultimately when Ronald Reagan took control of his own campaign, he started to see successes," the document reads.

The second memo is far longer and more detailed -- seeking to explain McCain's potential path to the Republican nomination.

"The 2008 primary election is dramatically front-loaded," it reads. "We believe that puts more pressure on candidates to win early primary states than ever before.

So, where does McCain stand in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina in relation to his opponents?

*Iowa: McCain has a "strong grassroots organization with special emphasis on social conservatives," reads the memo. Neither former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.) has spent much time in the state and "have limited organizational infrastructure. Former Gov. Mitt Romney? He's "already purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars in television ads and will likely continue to attempt to 'buy' a caucus victory." Ouch.

*New Hampshire: The roots of McCain's 2000 upset over George W. Bush are deep in the Granite State, according to the memo. ("New Hampshire is McCain country," it reads.) Giuliani hasn't spent much time in the state and Romney is "looking for a regional appeal that he could not get in four years as governor of a neighboring state." Double ouch.

*South Carolina: The memo insists the Palmetto State is McCain's "best organized state and one that will reward his steadfast position on Iraq." Giuliani is ignoring South Carolina; Romney is the only other candidate with an organization to rival McCain's in the state but that organization will be tested by Thompson's candidacy, according to the memo. Triple ouch.

It's no real surprise that the two memos seek to put the best face on a McCain campaign that reached rock bottom last week. The candidate has pledged to stay in the race no matter what and it is the job of the strategists still with the campaign to turn around the conventional wisdom that McCain now has no chance at winning the nomination.

The reality is more sobering. McCain is in dire straits financially at the moment and until he can prove an ability to raise money without spending most of it he will be relegated to the second tier of candidates. One source within the campaign said McCain collected $120,000 online on Tuesday alone, a sign that a level of energy and exictement still remains.

Nevertheless, the task is daunting. The memo outlines two steps to improve McCain's cash position: "Spend less" and "Raise More". AHA! Among the directives within those larger points are to "significantly reduce the size of campaign overhead....take advantage of free media events such as debates [and] participate in more 'sponsored' events = live off the land."

For McCain to have any chance at the nomination, he must find a way to change the current narrative of his campaign from one on the decline to one on the rise. Money is the best first step in that process.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 19, 2007; 11:08 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: The Thompson Effect

Comments

McCain may have a higher chance of gaining credibility if he represented key issues concerning the country such as Global Poverty. Less than half of aid from the United States goes to the poorest countries where people earn less than $2 a day [Borgen Project]. Norway is leading in the global effort to end poverty and if the US stepped up, the country would gain much more respect.

Posted by: Erica | July 20, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

McCain may have a higher chance of gaining credibility if he represented key issues concerning the country such as Global Poverty. Less than half of aid from the United States goes to the poorest countries where people earn less than $2 a day. Norway is leading in the global effort to end poverty and if the US stepped up, the country would gain much more respect.

Posted by: Erica | July 20, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The following poem (which I wrote) aptly sums up John McCain's predicament.

http://aglasner.blogspot.com/2007/07/mccain-and-abel.html

Posted by: Ariel | July 20, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Might be the republican VP candidate to rudy or mitt.

Posted by: rufus | July 19, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Your right mike. Stick a fork in him. I don't know it it was his saying not to torture or his immgration stance. It really doesn't matter, either way.

Chris cillizza shows his face. Earlier today he's quoting Fox "news" polls like they have something to say. Like they're not puppets for the GOP.

OLBERMAN, IF YOUR LISTENING. STOP GIVING THIS GUY AIRTIME

Posted by: rufus | July 19, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Let's be honest. This isn't a story.

Sorry to upset you CC, but McCain is NOT on the mend (though I know you wish he was).

You're right Brad that we don't have a crystal ball, but the fact is - John McCain can NEVER get the GOP nomination - not after his Amnesty Bill.

He may as well run with Bloomberg as an Independent. That way, he can continue what he started and assure the destruction of the GOP for years to come.

Posted by: Mike | July 19, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Andy R--Thanks for the correction - what a crazy strategy for Giuliani!

Posted by: Philly Buster | July 19, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

McCain's So. Carolina headquarters is at 1600 Gervais Street in Columbia.

Positive attitude?

Posted by: Maurice B. | July 19, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Or, can finagle away from him!

Posted by: D. C., V.P. | July 19, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

JD, the VP has only the power the President gives to him.

Posted by: Aaron Burr | July 19, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

sorry about the triple post. i keep forgetting how slowly comments load.

Mea culpa.

Posted by: Brad Marston | July 19, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I find it odd, bordering on bizarre that a year before conventions a candidate who has not even declared is considered by many as a lock for the nomination while McCain is thought to be close to dropping out, toast, DOA, etc. Perhaps I am simply envious of all who seem to have a crystal ball with a very potent lense.

Many pundits and an equal number of posters seem to equate their feelings about McCain (and other candidates) with those of the majority. I think there is a good chance that "I simply don't know" would be a more accurate forecast for this election. There are simply too many examples from the past to suggest otherwise. Does President Dean ring any bells?

One item I have seen scant attention paid to is the idea that at least on the Republican side we may have an actual convention with no candidate having the requisite number of delegates going in.

http://azamatterofact.blogspot.com/2007/07/mccaindown-but-not-out.html

Posted by: Brad Marston | July 19, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I find it odd, bordering on bizarre that a year before conventions a candidate who has not even declared is considered by many as a lock for the nomination while McCain is thought to be close to dropping out, toast, DOA, etc. Perhaps I am simply envious of all who seem to have a crystal ball with a very potent lense.

Many pundits and an equal number of posters seem to equate their feelings about McCain (and other candidates) with those of the majority. I think there is a good chance that "I simply don't know" would be a more accurate forecast for this election. There are simply too many examples from the past to suggest otherwise. Does President Dean ring any bells?

One item I have seen scant attention paid to is the idea that at least on the Republican side we may have an actual convention with no candidate having the requisite number of delegates going in.

http://azamatterofact.blogspot.com/2007/07/mccaindown-but-not-out.html

Posted by: Brad Marston | July 19, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I find it odd, bordering on bizarre that a year before conventions a candidate who has not even declared is considered by many as a lock for the nomination while McCain is thought to be close to dropping out, toast, DOA, etc. Perhaps I am simply envious of all who seem to have a crystal ball with a very potent lense.

Many pundits and an equal number of posters seem to equate their feelings about McCain (and other candidates) with those of the majority. I think there is a good chance that "I simply don't know" would be a more accurate forecast for this election. There are simply too many examples from the past to suggest otherwise. Does President Dean ring any bells?

One item I have seen scant attention paid to is the idea that at least on the Republican side we may have an actual convention with no candidate having the requisite number of delegates going in.

http://azamatterofact.blogspot.com/2007/07/mccaindown-but-not-out.html

Posted by: Brad Marston | July 19, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

you're right Blarg, as I said before, nobody has the quals in this crowd, on either side.

So I guess it'll be up to the people to vote on the issues, or perhaps charisma/star power (Fred vs Obama?)

It's important to remember that it's a different world now. In fact, I wonder if W would have been elected in 2000 if the al quaida attack had happened before the election - you can only afford the OTJ training when there's a kind of pax americana, which was what we thought in 2000 (of course, we didn't realize that we'd been at war all that time).

Posted by: JD | July 19, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

JamesCH, although you're technically right, the powers vested in the VP, constitutionally, are very weak, I think everyone knows that the VP actually has more power than that:

- to provide some kind of balance (gender, race, geo, ideological, or as we saw last time, 'gravitas')

- to potentially carry a state (or more) to help the prez candidate win

- he (she?) also has whatever powers the prez wants to inbue the office with - look at Cheney with energy policy, Gore and his 'hammer awards', the environment, and other pet projects, and of course Quayle and his initiatives to help school kids spell the names of vegetables correctly.

Posted by: JD | July 19, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

But JD, who doesn't need OTJ training? The CEO who governed Massachusetts for half a term and campaigned the other half? The two-term mayor who's never held state or federal office? One of several senators who's served 8 years or less?

This is why I don't think the election will be about experience: Almost none of the candidates have enough to brag about.

Posted by: Blarg | July 19, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Mike, you might be right, Americans might be ready for a step away from the professional politicians. The desire for change, a fresh face, etc, which would suggest Obama. The problem is, it's a more dangerous world now than it's been since the Cuban missile crisis, not sure if we can afford some on the job training.

bsimon, I agree that McCain had the best claim for experience, and I also agree that his positions on campaign finance and immigration absolutely doomed him (of course, the positions were absolutely wrong, as I've posted before).

Colin, I agree Richardson's resume is strongest among all potential candidates, on both sides. But he screwed the pooch in the debates IMHO, and doesn't have the money or charisma to grab the bull by the balls. He's running for vice.

Posted by: JD | July 19, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Being the VP qualifies you to be president the way watching ESPN qualifies me to be the starting Center Fielder for the Boston Red Sox. Has anyone here read the Constitution? The VP has two powers vested in him:

1) Break ties in the Senate

2) Have a pulse, so he/she can become president if the president dies or Amendment XXV is invoked.

That's it.

Posted by: JamesCH | July 19, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

blarg and bsimon

The fact that none of the 18 meets my criteria argues for getting someone who has ideas and a new approach- certainly not most of the retreads in the 18 noted. And certainly not someone named 'Bush' or 'Clinton'.

Obama/Richardson would be ideal-unlikely that two minorities would get selected to top a slate.

But I am getting a nice feeling about Obama/Webb-a fresh slate. With the Republican filibuster and the president (with Cheney, Haliburton, Blackwater and the Oil companies pulling his strings) intending to keep us in Iraq for a generation, we need people willing to get us out of there.

Posted by: poor richard | July 19, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Andy R, I'm not sure why you asked me, because I didn't mention qualifications. Maybe you meant someone else. (Bokonon?) But I'll answer anyway, because it's something I've thought about.

I think that there are three jobs that qualify a candidate to be president: Governor, Senator, and (obviously) VP. Being an ambassador, CEO, Cabinet official, or general is nice, but I don't think president should be anyone's first high office.

I don't think I need to say much about governors. Pretty much everyone agrees that a governor is qualified to be president. And, of course, most presidents are former governors.

The Senate is more tricky. Senators often run, but never seem to get elected. It's easy to criticize a senator, to cherry-pick objectionable votes and complain about Washington insiders. But even though senators don't do well in elections, I think they're qualified to be president. The president needs to work with Congress and have Congressional allies. Senators are often experts on particular subject areas, usually related to their committee assignments. And senators have experience running statewide campaigns, unlike representatives.

As I said before, additional experience is a plus. But I'm suspicious of candidates who want to jump right from being a representative, a mayor, or a general to being president. I feel like they're skipping the steps that would give them relevant experience.

Posted by: Blarg | July 19, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

JD

Richardson was also a Congressman and he undertook a number of overseas missions while in Congress. He has a great deal of international experience and is pretty well respected.

Re: Gore - Mark in Austin and I were discussing yesterday the possibility that none of the Democratic candidates will be within striking distance of the nomination after the primaries. The proportional allocation of delegates and the front loading of primaries could produce this. Anyway, should the convention deadlock and none of the main contenders agree on which candidate to support - could Gore be drafted by the convention? It will be interesting, there hasn't been a second ballot for a presidential nomination since 1952.

Posted by: JimD in FL | July 19, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Truth Hunter asks
"Fred Thompson gets more ink and hype than the announced GOP candidates.... why is that?"

Because the pundits expect him to draw voters from 'None of the Above'. Thompson is the Tabula Rasa in the GOP primary. Once he's officially in and has to take real stances on the issues and justify his prior stances on hot-button issues, the undeclared GOP media darling will be Newt Gingrich.

Posted by: bsimon | July 19, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

JD writes
"No candidate brings the statesman penumbra to the table, on either side. The closest, I guess, is HRC, if you consider Bill to be the real power there as I suspect most Dems do."

Yes, there really isn't a candidate up there who's already demonstrated a 'statesman' like leadership ability. The question my mind is who can grow into that role. I think on the R side, its McCain, his problem is the issues on which he takes principled stances aren't good wedge issues that help the party - campaign finance and immigration? Those are no good for building or maintaining a 'permanent republican majority'. Which means he'll never get the support of the talk-radio set, which means he'll never win the nomination or the Presidency. On the Dem side, I suspect Obama is the only one with a chance to pick up that mantle. Edwards & Clinton II don't have the charisma of Clinton I. Biden might have the experience requisite for the role, but is likely too much like Kerry (i.e. too long in the Senate) to become a consensus building leader.

Posted by: bsimon | July 19, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

JD -- Richardson was also Ambassador to the UN, so I think it's fair to say he does have some experience as a statesman - for whatever that's worth. Really, his resume is probably the best of any candidate on either side.

Posted by: Colin | July 19, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Fred Thompson gets more ink and hype than the announced GOP candidates.... why is that?

He recently said he isn't announcing until later this year, even though he evidently is setting up some machinery for a run.

Outside of Bush, who is hurting the GOP the most right now? Cheney.

If Cheney resigns "to spend more time with his family," after his scheduled pacemaker minor surgery in August, who would Bush appoint?

Not someone who is a candidate. How about someone who was a Senator and could count on confirmation, who is popular with the base and has an easy persona, the opposite personality of Cheney.

And, why would McCain pander to Bush so blatently, with more to lose than to gain.... unless Bush had promised to pull strings for him.

McCain was alone among the candidates in supporting Bush's immigration bill... something Bush wants almost desperately.

McCain/Thompson....?

Just a thought.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | July 19, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

JD and Blarg, Minus being Vice-president how do you get qualifications to be President of the United States?

Posted by: Andy R | July 19, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

JD, Colin Powell has the presentation to the UN of the questionable US evidence in re: Saddam's weapons program. And I don't think Gore is willing to run unless begged... and Bill will not allow the party to beg Gore to run against his wife. I still like Obama - no, he doesn't have much foreign policy, but he has been calling for US troops to re-focus on Afghanistan... just as the latest NIE does. He seems bright, a quick learner, and willing to work across the aisle - in each case, the opposite of the current administration. When/if the field thins out a little (i.e. lose Gravel, Kucinich, maybe Dodd, maybe Biden...?) there is a real chance for him to pick up some support. I think Edwards and Hillary have got as much as they're going to get... of course, I could be wrong.

Posted by: Bokonon | July 19, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

JD -- I don't think many Americans from either party really want to elect a professional politician, which is reflected in the current pool of "top-tier" candidates. What do you think?

Posted by: Mike | July 19, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I do not think that Giuliani could ever hope to do well in Iowa and South Carolina given the strength of the social conservatives in those states. New Hampshire could be another matter. However, if Romney wins all three of the initial contests, that will put Rudy in a serious bind. If Thompson and Romney split these contests, Giuliani can probably get away with it.

Giuliani's best shot at the nomination depends on Thompson and Romney staying in the race for a while.

Posted by: JimD in FL | July 19, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, you're absolutely right. No candidate brings the statesman penumbra to the table, on either side. The closest, I guess, is HRC, if you consider Bill to be the real power there as I suspect most Dems do (certainly she doesn't qualify on her own). I guess you might be able to make the case for Richardson, seeing as he was cab secretary of Energy, despite the disasters that occurred on his watch (the classified data walking out, missing hard drives, etc). Plus he was gov, which was about all any first time presidential candidates ever brings, at least as far back as Carter (with the exception of George 41).

I can't really think of too many statesmen these days who might run, who would have better qualifications than the current crop, on both sides - Colin Powell maybe, or (dare I say it), Gore. But could they get elected?

Posted by: JD | July 19, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Mike, I would add that neither is it news that Giuliani was mayor of NYC on September 11 of '01, yet he still feels the need to remind us every chance he gets. The political news story of the summer so far ---?
Maybe Romney's tying his dog to the roof of the car, and the dog's revenge. Now he seems not to have learned his lesson, and wants to tie the U.S. to the roof of his car, metaphorically speaking of course. Of course, Americans have been on a high fiber diet for a while now... metaphorically speaking, of course... and he may find our displeasure bubbling up to drip down his agenda. Again, a metaphor.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Blarg -- this is not a story about a come-back (which would be interesting, I'll grant you that).

And it's definitely not newsworthy. T

he fact that McCain sent some memos begging what left he has left of a staff not to jump ship is not a news story.

The story of his way down was news. And maybe if he were to start gaining ground, too.

But the fact that he's unhappy with how things stand now is not news.

You think Hunter, Tancredo, etc. are unhappy about where they stand too? You bet. And like you said, that's not news.

Maybe CC wanted to show off what a "feat" it was to obtain these 2 memos.

But the memos are not news. McCain is a has-been, and until that changes, he is no longer relevant or newsworthy.

Posted by: Mike | July 19, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

John McCain would have a stronger chance of gaining support from a variety of communities if he addressed poverty as a main issue in his platform. 78% of Americans agree that helping poverty is a way to combat terrorism.

Posted by: Erica | July 19, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Meybe Vitter can help him. A Bible in one hand and a pack of Trojans in the other. That is a winning combo with the "True Believers". Look at their track record. More Kool Aid!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Meybe Vitter can help him. A Bible in one hand and a pack of Trojans in the other. That is a winning combo with the "True Believers". Look at their track record. More Kool Aid!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 19, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Philly B,
It is true that Guiliani's campaign figures that its best chance is to spend its money and time in states like Florida and California that vote on Feb 5. Basically saying that his star power will win out over whomever takes the three early voting states.

I think probably as you do that this is insane but this is what happens when you have non-political operatives running your campaign (ie Guiliani's wife)

Posted by: Andy R | July 19, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

There's no way McCain's memo can be right. It says that Giuliani is basically ignoring the three most important states on the primary calendar. Just from an objective standpoint, that's simply not true, and those statements detract from the memo's credibility.

Posted by: Philly Buster | July 19, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

poor richard writes
"Quite frankly, what has any of the republicans done to distinguish themselves on the world stage to be considered as our sage and noble Current Occupant of Pennsylvania Avenue. Not Much."

I agree, though would expand your criticism to include all 18 candidates running for their respective parties' nominations. Nobody, thus far, has demonstrated the kind of leadership that this country needs right now.

Posted by: bsimon | July 19, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Andy R speculates
"PRS, I have been thinking for a while now that Thompson is really setting himself up as the shoe in VP nominee."

Not a bad theory. The perfect job for the lazy politician that Thompson is alleged to be. Though I suspect, if he were to actually reach that office, he'd aspire to be like Cheney.

Regarding Part II of the theory, how old will Thompson be in 2012? Wasn't he working for Nixon when McCain was bombing Hanoi? Them two old buzzards are past their primes now; to run for a first term in 2012 is downright delusional.

Posted by: bsimon | July 19, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

So a couple of days after he was supposed to drop out, he's back on track and headed for a competetive run. What!!??

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: matt | July 19, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Mike -- I'd argue McCain IS, in fact, more like Reagan than any of the other candidates. And strangely, his most significant "sins" tend to prove that fact.

Immigration -- guess who spearheaded the most wideranging amnesty bill before the one pushed for by McCain? Oh right, that was Reagan in 1986.

Tax Increases -- guess who singned into law one of the largest tax increases in history (after the even larger tax cut he initially passed)? Again, that would Reagan after essentially everyone realized that the initial tax cuts were too large. Good example of Reagan's pragmatism, in my opinion.

Smaller Government -- McCain, unlike Bush and modern Republicans, has actually been wiling to speak out against wasteful spending and earmarks even when that spending was passed by a Republican Congress. Sort of like Reagan actually using his veto pen (unlike Bush II) to strike down budgets that were too high. NONE of the other republicans in the race have shown an actual commitment to reduce spending, instead focusing ONLY on tax cuts.

Care to respond?

Posted by: Colin | July 19, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

blarg

Quite frankly, what has any of the republicans done to distinguish themselves on the world stage to be considered as our sage and noble Current Occupant of Pennsylvania Avenue. Not Much.

Even Thompson. After being a Nixon mole he made a career as a lawyer on a program I haven't watched twice.....like about 87% of the American TV audience. There is a good reason network TV is dying. It's garbage.

Posted by: poor richard | July 19, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

SWB: "You mean the same primary voters that chose a draft dodging chickenhawk over McCain in 2000? Good luck with that one."

And then those same voters all chose that draft dodging chickenhawk over an actual combat veteran in 2004. Yep, military experience really matters to these stout patriots.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | July 19, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

PRS, I have been thinking for a while now that Thompson is really setting himself up as the shoe in VP nominee. He could lend star power and a southern charm to any of the candidates running. Then when the GOP lose (which if you ask ANY political expert in confidence they will tell you is almost a forgone conclusion at this point) then he can run in 2012 with great name recognition and a pre-made team to run with. Not to mention he would have 4 years to raise money and become annointed as the savior of the GOP.

Posted by: Andy R | July 19, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

ask rufus how much I'm part of the "left."

truth hurts, eh numbnuts?

Posted by: dopes R us = dipwad | July 19, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Romney is still a big flip-flopper on everything

Posted by: Iowa caucusgoer | July 19, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

No, Mike, I wouldn't consider McCain to be a rock-bottom candidate. You know why? Because of Tancredo, Hunter, Huckabee, Tommy Thompson, and Ron Paul. Those guys don't have a chance in hell to get the nomination, and their poll numbers usually fall within the margin of error. Compare that to McCain, a big-name candidate who still polls better than the bottom 5 combined. If McCain is rock-bottom, then what's Hunter?

We're talking about McCain because what happened to his campaign is a news story. The fact that he was the frontrunner but has fallen so far is a legitimate topic for discussion. Especially for The Fix, which focuses on the process of politics instead of the substance. What's happened with Giuliani's campaign recently that's worthy of a news post? What has Romney done lately? McCain's fall and possible recovery is interesting, and in the absence of any more compelling news, it's going to be reported.

Posted by: Blarg | July 19, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

sorry.

Zogby had 'None of the above" at 24 and McCain at 9. That's 15 points down.

Posted by: poor richard | July 19, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Every GOP candidate, no matter the office, calls himself (they're all really hims) the 2nd Coming of Ronald Regan. The GOP candidate through the same trials he goes, eg no dough, campaign staff woe, everyone calling on him to read the writing on the wall and just go.

Given that we've been waiting 2,000 years for that other Second Coming, I don't think the GOP's 2nd Coming is likely to happen in 2008.

John McCain's candidacy is toast. He'll carry on zombie-like... mumbling unintelligibly about the war, croaking that he may be a zombie but he's steadfast in his zombieness, grabbing for your wallet instead of your arm to gnaw and otherwise just creeping the Hell out of children and adults alike.

Posted by: Roofelstoon | July 19, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Money can't bring it back...Message wont bring it back...He's got Beltway-FR status because he stumped for so many repub candidates in '06. His pronouncements on Iraq, Immigration, and the "perceived base" of the Christian Right, have killed any chance he has to overcome the AGE factor, and raise himself to Reaganesk standing anoung the remainder of registered repub voters. The MSM loves him because of his military, Viet Nam, and 2000 run background... That doesn't play the same in '07 and it wont play at all by '08. He's toast ...................

Posted by: L.Sterling | July 19, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chris -

What do you think of a McCain/Thompson ticket?

Maybe instead of announcing his candidacy for Prez - Thompson announces (after consultation with McCain of course), he will serve as VP.

Early announcement would send other candidates scrambling. It would also solidify the conservative vote for McCain.

Posted by: PRS | July 19, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

What a silly subject Chris!

What does it matter if McCain is on the mend or not? Didn't you see Zogby's most recent republican poll. 'None of the Above' was at 24%, well above any particular candidate and 13% over Mr. McCain.

And if the Cheney and his Side Kick George are forced to start withdrawing troops-they will probably replace line troops with Blackwater and other contract troops paid by the Pentagon from the word that is starting to float about- Whoever the republican candidate is, will be a sacrificial lamb or token candidate profiled to bait the conservative Christian Right.

McCain doesn't fit either role.

And you know. He is getting a bit old for this sort of thing. If he were elected, after two terms he would be what-84, 85 years old?

Just what we need inspired geriatric leadership....

Posted by: poor richard | July 19, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

look at the previous post topic mike

Posted by: rufus | July 19, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Ed L. :

1) You mean like John Kerry?

Posted by: Jackson Landers | July 19, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Mike, McCain was basically the frontrunner at the beginning of the race. He's well-known from his 2000 run, and he's one of the highest-profile senators even when not running for president. He's not a rock-bottom candidate; even now he's one of the Republican top 3. Why would you expect the media to ignore him? "

Don't re-write what I wrote. No one expects him to be ignored.

The truth is, after McCain-Feingold and McCain-Kennedy, very few Republicans can stand this guy. He's a joke. A has-been.

My question wasn't, why WERE they covering him in the beginning, when a lot of people had high hopes. But now that he's dropped from the top tier, he's still getting more coverage than the other major candidates.

My question is why - why are we even talking about him?

And yes, I would consider bankruptsy and losing your star team to be rock-bottom. You wouldn't?

Posted by: Mike | July 19, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

sigh....., all right, I'll state the obvious.

McCain continues his sham candidacy because he needs to be an 'official' candidate in December to qualify for Federal matching funds. Which he needs to retire the debt that his campaign is carrying.

He knows he's dead, but to use some sports metaphors, he's 15 games back and playing out the string; he's on the back nine and the clubhouse is in sight; he's taking a knee and running out the clock... well, you get the idea.

Posted by: JD | July 19, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

So what you're saying is that John McCain has the Capitol Hill vote sewn up. Now if only that actually counted for anything in the slightest in terms of winning votes in the early primary states, then I could see McCain being on the mend. But it doesn't.

What I see is a candidate in free-fall with his organization falling apart. When I see him attracting good, new talent to replace the senior people who left the campaign for reasons other than having the money to pay them, then I will agree that McCain might be on the mend. Or maybe if he was advancing in a single poll, rather than suddenly falling from 20% to 12% in New Hampshire. Or maybe if he had even a respectable fund-raising quarter.

So far, all I see are lovely excuses and explanations. Words, not deeds. McCain may or may not have stopped the bleeding but there are no real signs of recovery right now.


Posted by: Jackson Landers | July 19, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Leaking optomistic strategy memoes does not a mended campaign make.

Posted by: bsimon | July 19, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

McCain is toast..It's to bad though because i think he'd actually make a pretty decent POTUS..McCain has been vilfied by his own party for actually TRYING to come up with a solution to a very serious problem facing this country in immigration reform..Yet Mitt Romney in all his bloviating suitiness could be the gop nominee...what the heck is the gop thinking...

Posted by: TheIrishCurse | July 19, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I think McCain shot himself down in Vietnam and tortured himself.

Posted by: SwiftPlanesForTruth | July 19, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Mike, McCain was basically the frontrunner at the beginning of the race. He's well-known from his 2000 run, and he's one of the highest-profile senators even when not running for president. He's not a rock-bottom candidate; even now he's one of the Republican top 3. Why would you expect the media to ignore him?

Posted by: Blarg | July 19, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

mccain on the mend? CC wishes. The republcian party is going the way of the whigs. Good. Fascism does not fly in a free country.

Posted by: rufus | July 19, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Another way to "spend less" on the rising phoenix that is the Straight Talk Express Mark II is to have shills come to the post blog and prop him up. I got a chuckle out these doozies:

"1) Voters who'd like to nominate a candidate with actual military experience"

You mean the same primary voters that chose a draft dodging chickenhawk over McCain in 2000? Good luck with that one.

"2) Voters who'd like to nominate a candidate who's actually fought for restraint in goverment entitlement and earmark spending (not just made vague statements about "reducing the size of government")."

You mean the same guy who rubber stamped the most massive increase in government spending and federal bureaucracy since the Depression? With any more "restraint" like this, we will be a fully owned subsidiary of China by 2012. Thanks Senator, bang up job you've done the last 8 years!!

Posted by: SWB | July 19, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Chris:

You wrote:

"...yesterday to ensure them that his presidential campaign remains viable."

Did you mean "assure"?

Posted by: Peter | July 19, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Its no surprise the McCain memos "spin" the most positive message they can muster. I think everyone here and Members that were briefed by McCain staff realize that he is in deep trouble and unlikely to regain any significant footing for the Republican nomination, especially if Thompson jumps into the race. Furthermore, Guiliani and Romney have shown no real hiccups to fundraising or "getting out their messages".

Posted by: Political Junkie | July 19, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

The Fix has to be desperate to offer commentary that focuses on McCain. He's been toast for a long time - for as long as the campaign has been under way. You guys at the Post just don't know when to stick a fork in this bird.

Posted by: Butch Dillon | July 19, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Nixon was known to have said the biggest mistake he ever made was not controlling his last campaign, something he had always done in the past.

John McCain:

"Ultimately when Ronald Reagan took control of his own campaign, he started to see successes,"

McCain has been all over the map on every issue - when he got in bed with the Religious Right - he lost me and most any other independent Democrat for ever

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | July 19, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

The New Hampshire analysis is completely off. There's no way that McCain can count on the people who supported him in 2000 in NH will supporting him in 2008. Many if not most 2000 McCain supporters think of him as an entirely different candidate now. A UNH study suggests that most independents plan to vote in the Democratic primary, anyway.

Posted by: Antigone | July 19, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

You know, right after I posted, I started thinking about it. Why does everyone in the media, including you CC, fixate on John McCain?

He's the biggest little candidate I've ever seen. He has never been a major contendor, but has always been propped up by the media. Why is he a favorite among the media? Can anyone shed light on this?

Why is the fact that a rock-bottom candidate is trying desperately to recover even being written about?

http://conservativestandards.blogspot.com

Posted by: Mike | July 19, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Other groups that may break heavily for McCain:

1) Voters who'd like to nominate a candidate with actual military experience.

2) Voters who'd like to nominate a candidate who's actually fought for restraint in goverment entitlement and earmark spending (not just made vague statements about "reducing the size of government").

Posted by: Ed L | July 19, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

John McCain comparing himself to Ronald Reagan? I almost fell out of my chair.

Posted by: Mike | July 19, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Cokeheads, gays, and johns will break heavily for McCain in SC, FL, and LA.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | July 19, 2007 11:39 AM

the intellect of the Left

Posted by: dopes R us | July 19, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Called it from Day 1: Romney wins the nomination. Its almost inevitable at this point. He has big leads in Iowa and New Hampshire. Hes gonna get this nomination.

Posted by: George | July 19, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

McCain lost any support he had of independents when he went down to Oral Roberts University back near the first of the year. In doing so, McCain signaled that he was prostituting himself to the Christian Right Wing. This left a bad taste in the mouth of the independent voters. His blind support of Bush's war policy in Iraq further isolated him away from moderate and independent voters. He assumed the mantle of coddling the Neo-con wing of the Republican Party. All of this moved him away from the centrist and moderate members of the Party. I have blogged several months ago that his run was basically over and that he would withdraw by September. I now think it might be sooner. Basically, his campaign is like the dead dinosaur, the message just hasn't reached the brain yet.

Posted by: Red Rat | July 19, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Cokeheads, gays, and johns will break heavily for McCain in SC, FL, and LA.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | July 19, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

There is still a TON of money out there on the GOP side so I don't see the problem being McCain not having enough cash to go on. His problem is to convince the republicans that he has the best shot at winning in the general election. That should be his number one goal right now.

Posted by: Andy R | July 19, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

He's dead as a door nail in the GOP. Think one word...."immigration". The MSM is, for interesting reasons that I believe have to do with social and intellectual prejudices, incapable of ascertaining the depth, and breadth, of the anger out there among the GOP mainstream, not just the base.

Posted by: jon stanley | July 19, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"The memo insists the Palmetto State is McCain's 'best organized state and one that will reward his steadfast position on Iraq.' "

This is nonsense. When it comes to the voting booth the R voters will see a slate of candidates claiming to have steadfast positions on Iraq. This is not 2000, McCain is no longer the fresh face or a straight talker. My guess is that most R voters will look at the ongoing failure in Iraq (and, yes, it will still be a failure in 2008), think "time for a change" and go with anybody but McCain.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | July 19, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

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