Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Crowded Room and the Comeback Kid

That would be John McCain.

When Tucker Carlson and the rest of the national media personalities (Russert, Mitchell, Stephanopoulos) filed into the conference room of Senator McCain's Urbandale, Iowa HQ he shouted across the room, "You bet I'm about to call the fire marshall about this."

McCain didn't just show up with every recognizable television news personality, he came with Senator John Thune, former presidential candidate Sam Brownback, and South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham. The only surrogate that didn't show up was Tim Pawlenty—a tried and true McCain cheerleader for over a year (and my VP pick should McCain pick up the nomination). Even four of his fellow POWs from Vietnam were there. One of those POWs spoke of McCain's ability to lead, saying, "We've actually seen him under fire." That comment hung over the crowd throughout McCain's extended introduction.

The theme of Senator McCain's campaign here in Iowa is evolving. Though the national media is hammering in the scare tactic strategy evident in one of the Senator's homeland security television ads, McCain's tone on the ground in Iowa is a more moderate one, one of a leader who can protect this country through his ability to work with others and pass crucial legislation. It's a tone that's resonating in Iowa, and one that could propel McCain to a strong third place finish despite his largely passing up campaigning here.

It's the same trend that's taking over New Hampshire. The media, led by pundits quick to make early election predictions, ruled out McCain's campaign this summer after poor fundraising numbers, but it was the media's message that changed, not John McCain's—his message is strong, optimistic, and consistent.

(all photos: © 2008 by Luke N. Vargas. All Rights Reserved.)

No comments: