For Immediate Release

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007




The Greenville News: McCain Begins the Difficult Road Back



Excerpts From McCain Begins the Difficult Road Back”


By Dan Hoover

The Greenville News (Greenville, SC)

September 23, 2007


ANDERSON – His arrival at the cinderblock VFW hall on well-worn Highway 29 here was sounded by the throaty roar of motorcycle engines, "Patriot Guard" flags snapping on each escorting bike.


In a parking lot that couldn't handle another car, more sported patriotic than political bumper stickers.


John McCain was midway through his "No Surrender" bus tour last Sunday when he entered territory both familiar and friendly, that of yet another military veterans' group.


The tour was named for his position on Iraq, one mirroring that of the Bush White House: No withdrawal, at least not in any numbers and not now.


It also could have been named for his second Republican presidential run.


The Arizona senator is hanging in there, something many thought unlikely after six months of disastrously low fundraising for a major candidate by 2007 standards. …


Now the leaves are beginning to turn, there's a chill in the morning air, donations have improved, the private jet's back on call, and, like Mark Twain, rumors of McCain's political death proved premature.


His Iraq-centered performance in the recent New Hampshire Republican debate won favorable coverage.


He's staking his final presidential run on being the candidate most vocally supportive of an unpopular war, a guy who wanted a troop surge before the administration thought of it. …


His is more than a one-dimensional "support the troops" pitch. McCain asks audiences to reflect on the long-term consequences of its failure. …


The Islamic extremists who would bring down the West are "evil, evil people" with a degree of patience hard for Americans to fathom, he says. …


But, the road ahead for McCain looks a lot bumpier than it did back in January.


Yet on this tour, it was hardly apparent.


McCain may be one of those guys who does better looking ahead than back over his shoulder.


After brief remarks, he waded into the crowd for animated conversations that had aides looking at their watches. He seemed to revel in the camaraderie and didn't look like a man under the gun. Of course, he's been there before, too. …


McCain draws solid crowds to his appearances, 200 here, 300 there, a sign of some voters' ongoing support and solid staff work. …


If nothing else, McCain has built his life – and persona – around resiliency.


Read The Greenville News: McCain Begins the Difficult Road Back


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