McCain's Closer

A campaign blog.
Nov. 4 2008 3:14 PM

McCain's Closer

John McCain capped off his seven-day marathon Monday night with a midnight rally in Prescott, Ariz., the town where Barry Goldwater launched his Senate and presidential campaigns.

After 26 straight hours of campaigning, McCain kept it brief. "We’re gonna win tomorrow," he said. "And we’re gonna be this …" he paused, catching himself. "We’re gonna bring this home." He stood at the base of the Yavapai County Court House steps with the biggest American flag I’ve ever seen hanging behind him.

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They have a joke in Arizona, he said: that it’s the only state where mothers don’t tell their kids they can grow up to be president, after Barry Goldwater and so many others failed. "Tomorrow, we’re gonna reverse that tradition, and I’m gonna be president of the United States."

He told a few anecdotes, including one favorite about a woman in Wolfeboro, N.H., who begged him not to let her son’s death be in vain. He promised, as usual, to put country first. During the quiet moments, you could hear a crowd of Obama supporters chanting their candidate’s name.

At the end of an epic campaign like this, it’s hard not to get emotional. When Cindy introduced him, her voice cracked on "my husband, John McCain." Even McCain seemed to be getting misty. Instead of closing his speech with his trademark entreaty to "fight" and "stand up," he simply thanked everyone who came out. "It’s great to be home," he said.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.

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