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John McCain’s falling star

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April 9, 2007

By CHARLOTTE RAAB

040907mccain.jpgSenator John McCain, long seen as a likely favorite on the Republican side in the 2008 US presidential race, is scrambling to overhaul his campaign strategy as he lags in fundraising and in the polls.

With disappointing fundraising data just out and 19 months still to go before the 2008 vote, McCain’s campaign chief has pledged to do whatever it takes to battle back.

“Although we are pleased with the organization we’ve built and polls show us strongly positioned in key primary states, we had hoped to do better in first quarter fundraising,” Terry Nelson said of the 12.5 million dollars the team raised in the first quarter of 2007.

“We are already in the process of taking the necessary steps to ensure fundraising success moving forward,” he added.

The amount raised puts McCain in the presidential pack yet light years behind the funds brought in by Democratic favorites Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (26 million and 25 million respectively).

It also is far behind the top Republican fundraising candidate, former businessman Mitt Romney, who has netted almost 21 million, or 23 million counting money he has invested personally.

“It’s a troubling sign for McCain because his aura of inevitability has already sustained a good deal of damage,” said John Pitney, a professor at Claremont McKenna College.

Packing new accounting methods, fresh strategy and setting a date of April 25-27 for a tour to officially announce his candidacy, the McCain team is making it clear they are not giving up the fight.

McCain himself has tried to downplay any sign of vulnerability.

“It’s my fault. I haven’t done a very good job at (fundraising). I’m not very good at it, and I hope to get better,” he told NBC television.

“We’re happy with where we are, but we have some improvements to make. But in many areas, we’re very happy with the progress; in others, we’ve got a long way to go.”

Even just a few weeks ago, McCain, who never gave up his presidential ambitions after President George W. Bush defeated him in the 2000 party primary, had seemed unbeatable on the Republican side.

A Vietnam War hero with an accomplished career as a lawmaker over 20 years in Congress, McCain was the only Republican to take on the Bush administration and press it to explicitly renounce torture. He appeared certain to be anointed as the party’s presidential pick.

But competition from popular former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, a determined Romney, and the hugely unpopular war in Iraq — seen as a mistake by about 60 percent of Americans — have knocked the wind out of McCain’s sails.

He is the Republican candidate most supportive of the war in Iraq — though he has harshly criticized Bush’s handling of it — and is a staunch supporter of sending more US troops there, a move Bush announced in January.

McCain drew fire from the media, which were stunned to hear him welcome the improvement of conditions in Iraq when he visited the country last weekend.

He seems ready to pay the price for his sometimes unpopular stands on the war, however.

“I can’t worry about the effect on my political ambitions of the war. It’s too important. Too many young people have sacrificed already. I’d much rather lose a campaign than lose a war,” he told MSNBC.

Giuliani told CNN of McCain on Wednesday: “I don’t expect to remain ahead of him for long. He is a very, very strong competitor and a really great guy.”

Copyright © 2007 Agence France Presse

8 Responses to John McCain’s falling star

  1. Ruth Guarino

    April 9, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    Did anyone else but me hear John McCain say on 60 minutes that “he did NOT care what the American people want.. we are ALL wrong?” Talk about the emporers new clothes. it would be a slap in the face for all of us should he even come CLOSE to winning the election… hopefully this hard headed runner will be left dangling in the wind. HE does NOT CARE what we want !!!!! If he wants to get close to even staying in the race he better start caring right now.

  2. Donna

    April 9, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    “Did anyone else but me hear John McCain say on 60 minutes that “he did NOT care what the American people want.. we are ALL wrong?” ”

    Isn’t this what Bush/Cheney believe as well? I guess PNAC has already got John in their corner. They’ll have to launder a lot of money into his campaign if he’s trailing as badly as this article suggests.

  3. Carl Nemo

    April 9, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    about this guy is that he is so self-aborbed and pompous that he and his brain-dead supporters feel that he even has a chance to be elected to the Presidency?! But, I forgot, we live in times where polling outcomes are un-resolved and the Supremes appoint our president…!
    “We the People” need to learn out place in the order of things that are both now and to come!

    To elect McCain to the Presidency would be getting Bushco in spades… :((

  4. Marla Risener

    April 9, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    Not to mention going to a Baghdad market with an armed escort of U. S. soldiers (100?) for a photo op and talking about how safe Iraq is. And wasn’t that market bombed the next day?

    The man has lost his mind!!!!!!!!

  5. gene

    April 9, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    This guy is f**king crazy. Just look at his face. Unlike Bush and Cheney who are just evil this guy has gone nuts. Delusional and not in touch with reality, he actually believes he is worth more than owl shit, he’s not. F**king evil or crazy, take your choice. It’s like going to the circus now and paying to see all the freaks. This current white house gang is impressive in their arrogance and above the law behavoir. Congress should be ashamed they did not act sooner to stop this insanity.

  6. William L. Jonke

    April 10, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Cheney’s crazy too!

  7. SEAL

    April 9, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    Why would anyone even consider having a man that had been the captive of the North viets for 5-6 years as a senator or president? What happened to McCain during that time? Who wants to gamble on it? The very best that could be hoped for is a very negative impact upon those qualities necessary for governance. Even discussing him is ridiculous as far as I’m concerned.

  8. Bill Jonke

    April 10, 2007 at 7:26 am

    What more can I say?