Today, McCain was again the Old John McCain New Hampshire voters have grown to like over ten years, giving him decisive victories in two primaries. But despite the fact he was on message with tax and spend issues that live in the blood of the new Hampshire voter, the room was not full.
Murmurs in the crowd, mostly republican, were of concern for him, and for Senator Sununu. He didn't mention Bill Ayers. He did mention ACORN. Other than that, attacks were on policy, not character. Ok, except the one time he said the election was about leadership and character.
"There is no place I'd rather be today than an underdog campaigning in NH," said McCain today.
The problem is, he can't even spend the time it would take to close this state, let alone others that have more than 4 electoral votes. Aside from Pennsylvania, this is the only Kerry state he even has a real hope of winning.
Its not true he is conceding the state - GM Jeff Barlett at WMUR confirmed he still owns plenty of ad time. McCain knows not to blow his wad here - the state can't be bought. As was evident for Steve Forbes, who "built the house" that WMUR now is. As was evident for GW Bush in 2000. As was evident from President Bush in 1992, who almost lost the primary to Pat Buchanan.
"I love you. I love New Hampshire. I know I can count on you again, to come from behind and take a victory and take it all the way to Washington, D.C.," said McCain. If not here then where? If he now than when?