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Is McCain a 'comeback kid' at 71?

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Election 2008
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Posted December 23, 2007 9:54 AM
The Swamp

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Sen. John McCain at a campaign event at Pelham High School December 19, 2007 in Pelham, New Hampshire. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

 by Paul West

WASHINGTON--This strangest of Christmas weeks - when presidential candidates are asking last-minute shoppers for last-minute support - has bestowed an embarrassment of riches on John McCain.

     The upshot: his chances of winning the Republican nomination, which once seemed all but gone, are glowing brighter at exactly the right time.

       The Union Leader in Manchester, N.H., an influential conservative voice, gave McCain its endorsement, which could reassure Republicans who still wonder if he's truly one of their own. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000, delivered his support, bolstering McCain's image for bipartisanship.

          His rivals in the Republican presidential contest have been unusually generous. Take Mike Huckabee. The fast-rising Republican contender starts to gush when he talks about McCain.

          "I think he's one of the most honorable individuals in this nation. I personally like him. I also professionally respect him," Huckabee said on CNN last weekend. "You won't ever hear me saying something unkind or untoward toward this person who I believe to be a great American hero."

        It's what Huckabee is doing on the ground in Iowa, though, that could deliver the most tangible gift. His surge has pushed Mitt Romney down to second place. If Huckabee holds on, it would reshape the Republican contest and give McCain's candidacy new life, even though McCain figures to finish far back on caucus night.

              Romney is counting on an Iowa victory to help sew up New Hampshire, which holds its primary just five days later. But Andrew Smith, who directs the University of New Hampshire's independent polling unit, says that "if Romney loses in Iowa, I think McCain could very easily be the winner here."

          Iowa's caucuses historically exert a strong pull on New Hampshire. "If you lose Iowa, you get penalized," says Smith. After his Iowa defeat in 2004, Howard Dean plummeted 18 points in one day in New Hampshire polling.

        Huckabee isn't the only Republican who is helping McCain. Rudy Giuliani has been giving his all to put McCain back in contention, though not on purpose.

        The more money and time the former New York mayor spent in New Hampshire, the worse he seems to have done. Giuliani is running "a terrible campaign" that has succeeded mainly in turning off voters, according to Smith.

       As moderate Republicans and independents peel away from Giuliani, many are turning to McCain. The senator has climbed into second place, and Romney's lead in New Hampshire has all but disappeared.

         McCain was just three percentage points behind in a new Boston Globe survey, in the paper's Sunday editions.

          For the first time in a long time, his rivals are wondering if McCain could end up as the nominee.

          Romney, who launched the first negative ads of the '08 campaign against Huckabee, opened a new front late last week against McCain, criticizing the senator over his positions on taxes.

            A come-from-behind revival in New Hampshire was not McCain's original plan. With everything riding on that state, it would be lights out if he doesn't win there, his campaign manager, Rick Davis, has all but acknowledged.

          The precariousness of McCain's position was underscored late last week, when the senator was forced to admit that he was fighting unconfirmed allegations that he did favors for a Washington lobbyist or her clients, which were the subject of questions from New York Times reporters.

            Most voters in New Hampshire aren't expected to make up their mind until the final week before the Jan. 8 primary, leaving McCain at the mercy of events, or last-minute revelations.

          That's a big change from where he started out, a year ago, when he was the early favorite for the nomination. Last December, McCain played host at a glittering holiday reception in a soaring marble hall close to the White House, an event with the unmistakable air of a pre-inaugural celebration.

             His attempt to portray himself as the inevitable nominee, which grew out of losing to George W. Bush in the 2000 primaries, was part of a long-term strategy to position McCain as the establishment candidate, as Bush was back then.

                  McCain threw himself into supporting Bush's re-election and became the leading voice in support of the Iraq war. With an eye toward primary voters, he shifted some long-held positions, becoming, for instance, a tax-cutting proponent after having voted against Bush's cuts.

            But McCain's early strategy backfired, in part because it undermined his greatest asset, a reputation for independent thinking. By last summer, he'd blown through $25 million in campaign money with little to show for it.

               Far down in the polls and effectively broke, he jettisoned most of his national campaign staff. McCain and others blamed his fall primarily on his outspoken support for a comprehensive immigration overhaul, which put him sharply at odds with Republican primary voters (and still does). Then, out of options, he went back to the straight-talk style of campaigning in New Hampshire that helped him defeat Bush eight years ago in the primary there.

             By last week, McCain was talking up his chances in the state, while admitting it could be just "wishful thinking." If McCain makes it all the way to the nomination, he would replicate what John Kerry did four years ago. After mortgaging his Beacon Hill townhouse to fund a cash-short campaign, Kerry capitalized on party infighting to go from the back of the field to the nomination in a matter of a few weeks.

             These days, McCain points to national polling to make the case that he's the most electable Republican, appealing to the pragmatism of voters in New Hampshire. If he wins there, he'll try to follow up with a strong showing the next week in Michigan, where Romney could be making a last stand, and South Carolina, where he's counting on backing from military veterans to counter Huckabee's strength among social and religious conservatives.

         At his age, it would be a stretch for a 71-year-old senator to call himself the comeback kid. But if everything breaks his way, he could be.

             His timing and good luck would have to hold up for at least six weeks after New Hampshire, a tall order. His best hope might be a showdown in the big round of Feb. 5 primaries with another underfunded candidate, Huckabee, who could conceivably wind up as his running mate if a McCain miracle were to happen.

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Comments

I do not see why Mr. McCain's age should have to do with anything. I disagree with him on many subjects, but as long as he is mentally fit his age should not matter in a political campaign. It is just something that should not be brought up. If it is obvious a candidate is becoming mentally incapacitated that is something that should be taken into consideration. But nowadays age doesn't have much to do with anything.


McCain is appealing, and is surging.

HOWEVER, he is TOO OLD.

He is also on the opposite side of immigration from most primary R voters, and is not rusted by the religious right.

McCain may win in New Hampshire, but could end up taking Romney out for Huckabee, and also killing Giuliani's chances.

This split-field opens the door for Huckabee to waltz through with the backing of the religious right.


Are you kidding? This is a liberal who is doing negative ads in the mail on black postcards. He is a nutcase.. He's had his day.

Flip 'em he's done.

- NH


Comeback Kid was beaten to death by Bill Clinton - that and the trust voters vested in him for two elections.

John McCain, it seems to me, has maintained his forthright communication to the American people and that has gotten him in Dutch with uncooked-meat conservatives, as well as 'Progressive' Nanny State Democrats. Rather John McCain appears to be the only consistent straight talking candidate of any Party.

John McCain is the Dad of Our Country - you do not always like what you hear coming from Dad, but you know it is the truth.

http://hickeysite.blogspot.com/2007/12/john-mccain-dad-of-our-country.html


I like McCain. He's not my first choice for president, but he is on the republican side. I'm sure he would continue the Iraq fiasco which is still lacking the much promised political solutions. Still he beats the heck out of all the other republican misfits, and miscreants.


John McCain = another angry old rich Republican white guy/George Bush puppet.

http://photobucket.com/mediadetail/?media=http%3A%2F%2Fi115.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fn297%2FpdxWoman%2FJohn20McCain.jpg&searchTerm=john%20mccain&pageOffset=3

The Republican Presidential candidates in this election cycle suck so bad that even Charles Manson and Jeffery Dahmer could be top tier candidates for them.


Manson and Dahmer are already running on the Democrat line.


I have been following this election since January 2007. There have been so many ups and downs that I'm getting dizzy. Rudy was up and now he is down. Huckabee was out and now he is in. Fred was the chosen and now he is frozen. McCain is like a magic act... appearing, disappearing and then reappearing. I would have to say that the electorate really doesn't like much of anything they are seeing. Thus the wishy washiness of the election year. The only candidate that seems to have been in the race the entire year is Mitt Romney. He has been hammered on all sides, usually attacked on both flanks and has held is ground. He is the most conservative(socially and fiscally) of the lot. He has the best record and platform and that is why he been the consistant contender. He is the strongest over all candidate. He is the best candidate that I seen run in many years. He has my vote.


We the people are 'anybody but Romney' right now. Trying to buy the election, Romney has taken the 'negative ad' approach. McCain is not my first choice but I do hope he beats Romney in NH, and I hope Huckabee wins Iowa.


"There is no Republican up on Capitol Hill more disliked by his own GOP brethren than John McCain. That's why, despite the size of his fan club in the mainstream media, McCain seems rather unlikely to capture the party's nomination for President in 2008.

Here's a short, but sweet primer that may help explain why so many conservatives believe John McCain would be a very poor choice as the Republican nominee in 2008."


The Age Issue


John McCain will be 72 years old in 2008, which will make him 3 years older than Ronald Reagan was when he became the oldest man to ever be inaugurated as president back in 1981. In the Senate, where doddering fossils like Strom Thurmond and Robert Byrd can be elected over and over, McCain looks like a spring chicken in comparison. But, Reagan's age turned out to be a campaign issue and McCain, who would be 80 years old at the end of his 2nd term, would certainly have a lot of people questioning --with good reason -- whether he's up to the job. Were McCain to be the nominee, his age could be the deciding factor that puts a Democrat in office........ http://www.rightwingnews.com/category.php?ent=5365
MUST READ plenty of other good reasons listed here as to why NOT to nominate McCain.


Redstate.org diarist jmmartin offers five reasons:

1. McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform, which many Republicans considered unconstitutional legislation under the First Amendment.

2. McCain visiting Alaska along with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on a "Global Warming Enlightenment Tour", resulting in McCain-sponsored legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions from utilities and industry.

3. Membership in the Gang of 14, which has compromised President Bush's attempts to nominate true conservative justices onto the Supreme Court.

4. The McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, which is more liberal than a similar proposal by President Bush concerning guest workers (i.e., amnesty).

5. McCain's anti-terror legislation, which is another assault on the First Amendment, as Powerline's Scott Johnson accurately stated: "Subtract from the rights of Americans at home and extend the rights of Americans to foreign terrorists abroad -- it doesn't make much sense to me."


To John E,

I'm sure no one on the Democratic side will say they agree with John McCain on most of the issues but, at least, they will say they can have a effective, well-researched, and INTELLIGENT discussion with him on those issues. Please, you are making yourself and all of the other ideologues, on both sides whose arguments are fed to them via the 30 second TV commercials, that response to anything they disagree with by saying something along the line of it "suck so bad". I hope you are a teenager because if you are an ablebodied adult, I truly feel sorry for the state of our democratic process. For the sake of this country's future, please go to the library.


The guy is likeable. He seems capable and sincere, but his stay-the-coarse stance on Iraq is the deal-breaker for me.


There is a reason why John Mc Cain went down so far in the polls. He stubbornly tried to shove amnesty down our throat! I do not trust Mc Cain. Why did it take him so long to give up the amnesty fight? Because he is just a Washington politician/insider. If we want real change get someone like Romney that is not a career politician.


Age is no hindrence for John McCain. He's mentally sharp, in excellent health, and has the energy to do the job.

I may not always agree with the guy, but I always know where he stands and why.

I want him representing me with foreign leaders. I don't want someone who would "negotiate" away my safety, flip flop in the face of adversity, or check his poll standing every time there's a difficult decision to be made.

Of all the candidates, both Republican and Democrat, he's the one with the honesty, integrity and stature to be President. I trust him.


John E. - If your assertion that Senator John McCain is an "angry old rich Republican white guy/Bush Puppet," would it be fair for me to respond that Senator Barack Obama is an "angry young poor Democratic black guy/Karl Marx puppet"?
The fact is, we all need to rise above stereotyping our leaders and refrain from the name-calling and blasphemus remarks that we generally spew forth in our public discourse.
The general election of 2008 is truly about the direction that our nation will go into the future. We are going to elect a leader who either espouses the preservation of our Republic that embraces democratic principles, or we will become a Socialistic nation that isolates itself from the rest of the world and provides for all our necessities from cradle to grave. Socialism, my friend, as advocated by Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and others, will be the final nail in the coffin of a once great, free, democratic society. Our Republic will die on the vine.
I would encourage everyone to read the Inaugaral Address of President John F. Kennedy in Jan. 1961. After reading it, consider if this great President's vision for America resembles anything that is being proposed by the Left-wing liberals and socialists of today? The Democratic Party has succumbed to the ideology of the Karl Marx doctrine. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and their followers are grave threats to the national security and survival of America.


Come-back kid?

Don't you mean come-back, tiresome old fart?


McCain will flame in the south, I'm in Texas, and because he stood with Bush on the virtual amnesty plan, McCain is toast in the big southern state primaries, so Rudy is the man who will beat Hillary, no other can do it.

There are some great articles about the election at http://DancingFromGenesis.com, so I hope you check 'em out under "News Commentary" there.


John McCain continues to be himself - the only candidate capable of leading America in Time of war on Islamist Terror. That’s issue #One - everything else is side-dish political empty calories.

John McCain has stayed on point and on message for his entire career - and that angers single-issue, pre-packaged citizens.
McCain will be there for America, because he has been there.

http://hickeysite.blogspot.com/2007/12/mccain-plants-himself-in-townhall.html


John McCain is a patriotic American and has given a lifetime of service to his country but there comes a time in a person's lifetime when they need to pass the torch to the next generation and I believe that the time for Mr. McCain to do this is now.


I believe that how old you are isn't how many years you are since birth, but how many years you have left here. Of course no one but God knows that, but by this metric, McCain may even be younger then the other candidates out there. What's the chance he'll die when he's 68? Well that's zero, since he's 71. It's not zero for all the other candidates.

Giuliani, for instance has had some minor health issues recently, and I don't blame him, campaigning is extraordinarily rigorous. Also, Clinton couldn't get the date right in Iowa.
See Reuters Article Link

You haven't heard about these kinds of misteps with McCain, and that tells you that he's got extraordinary stamina and a sharp mind.

Here are some ages of the other candidates. . .
Giuliani 63
Huckabee 52
Romney 60
Obama 46
Clinton 60

You may believe all the Oprah like marketing of all the other candidates (Romney to conservatives, Huckabee to evangelicals, Obama to change, Clinton to legacy), but McCain is the real deal.


I believe that how old you are isn't how many years you are since birth, but how many years you have left here. Of course no one but God knows that, but by this metric, McCain may even be younger then the other candidates out there. What's the chance he'll die when he's 68? Well that's zero, since he's 71. It's not zero for all the other candidates.

Giuliani, for instance has had some minor health issues recently, and I don't blame him, campaigning is extraordinarily rigorous. Also, Clinton couldn't get the date right in Iowa.
See Reuters Article Link

You haven't heard about these kinds of misteps with McCain, and that tells you that he's got extraordinary stamina and a sharp mind.

Here are some ages of the other candidates. . .
Giuliani 63
Huckabee 52
Romney 60
Obama 46
Clinton 60

You may believe all the Oprah like marketing of all the other candidates (Romney to conservatives, Huckabee to evangelicals, Obama to change, Clinton to legacy), but McCain is the real deal.


He may not be every one's absolute favorite but when in comes to experience, courage, and the wisdom that only comes with years, John McCain stands head and shoulders above the rest of the pack in both parties. 72 is not old in this day in age. Reagan and Eisenhower were two of the finest presidents in this country's history. And two of our youngest presidents Clinton and GW Bush are viewed as among the worst. I think most Americans feel comfortable with John McCain because he is a known quantity. that's important in the uncertain world of today. God speed John McCain.


He may not be every one's absolute favorite but when in comes to experience, courage, and the wisdom that only comes with years, John McCain stands head and shoulders above the rest of the pack in both parties. 72 is not old in this day in age. Reagan and Eisenhower were two of the finest presidents in this country's history. And two of our youngest presidents Clinton and GW Bush are viewed as among the worst. I think most Americans feel comfortable with John McCain because he is a known quantity. That's important in this uncertain world of today. God speed John McCain.


Let's not forget that McCain is one of the Keating Five, of savings and loan scandal fame, and he supported Bush's cheap- labor-for-business amnesty plan, so McCain should never be trusted.


Enough with the "amnesty" garbage! Since 45% of the 12 million illegals now in the country have overstayed Visas, I’m sick of politicians demagoguing this issue by talking only about fences and Border Patrol to solve the problem. I don’t care if you build a fence to the moon – it doesn’t address the problems with the State Dept. (called by Newt Gingrich one of the 2 most dysfunctional agencies in Washington) and its inability to work with state & local agencies, colleges, etc. to share information. Remember the 6 illegals that were arrested last spring for planning an attack on Ft. Dix? They had hundreds of interactions with NJ state & local agencies over 10 years, including police, school officials, etc. Why was it up to a Circuit City clerk to catch them? It is ironic to worry about issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens when, during the 1.5 million US Passport backlog this summer, a bad guy could have put in fake papers & now be sitting with an American passport good for 10 years. So, what to do now? Instead of shoving Federal money at First Responders in tiny towns that will never be terrorist targets, let’s get a leader, who knows these agencies, to appoint smart Cabinet members (not Bush-like cronies) who will turn them upside down, get rid of incompetents & give them enough funding to do their jobs properly. That leader is Senator John McCain. The 400-page immigration bill was properly defeated. It tried to do too much and didn’t put the enforcement part first, but it was an attempt to fix a terribly broken system and it did bring the situation to the fore. If you want to be part of the solution, send your Senators and Congressmen thoughtful suggestions for changes & stop parroting AMNESTY, AMNESTY, AMNESTY. And don't even get me started on the Dept. of Energy!


John McCain was against the Bush tax cuts, for McCain/Feingold an anti-free speech campaign bill.He is for amnesty for illegals. He doesn't support strengthening our borders he's too chummy with Teddy, Dickie, Chuckie, Dingy Harry Reid and even Senator Clinton.
We don't need a RINO as President in the good old GOP. Jerry White, Springfield, IL


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