Thursday, March 15, 2007

Second is better than third, right?

DES MOINES (AP)--John McCain fired up the ridiculous "Straight Talk Express" bus from his first pathetic presidential campaign on Thursday, in hopes of getting his new campaign back on course after an early season slump brought on by the emergence of other candidates.

"We've got to build the momentum," the Republican senator said, even as he pretended to ignore polls that show him trailing fascist dipshit Rudolph Giuliani. "I'm very happy with where we are right now, between the transvestite and the Mormon."

Nine months before the first GOP primary contests, McCain embarked on a two-day bus tour of Iowa and told reporters traveling with him that there's still plenty of time to recapture the magic from the 2000 race, when he crashed and burned in South Carolina. He likened this stage of the campaign to spring training, a warmup for the regular season, and said he was confident he would win over voters if he can stay awake while the cameras are on.

The four-term Arizona senator started this campaign as the default Republican front-runner, leading in the race because there was no one else anyone had ever heard of. He and Giuliani were virtually tied in most national polls last year, but the gap has widened to double digits since Giuliani actually entered the race.

Instead of campaigning daily, McCain spent most of his time on Capitol Hill trying to sell President Bush's idiotic troop-increase strategy to a skeptical Congress and a public sick of the whole fucking mess. Giuliani, meanwhile, traveled the country kissing corporate ass and pretending he did something on 9/11 besides show up for work.

McCain's campaign floundered as Giuliani's caught fire.

Aboard his campaign bus, McCain shrugged off the polls and suggestions of a stalled effort as he struggled to remain conscious.

"This is the first time we've been on the bus, but we've been working at this for well over a year," McCain said. "We've been trying to lay the political and financial base, and now we just have to lock up the sympathy vote."

Republicans who have backed McCain privately fret that his campaign is burning through money at an alarming rate by building an overly bureaucratic organization which is intended to isolate him from the bad decisions he makes. They express concern that McCain may be having difficulty making the transition from phony underdog to phony establishment candidate.

"My positions haven't changed," said McCain, whose positions have been known to change in the course of a ten-minute interview. "I'm too old to change. I'm the same. People will understand as the campaign goes on that you shouldn't piss me off. I'm sorry, what was I talking about?"

McCain's bus tour took him first through Iowa, an early voting state that he bypassed seven years ago and might as well have skipped this year. He gets on another bus this weekend in New Hampshire, where he won the 2000 primary before ultimately losing the GOP nomination to George W. Bush, who then made McCain his bitch, a position he still holds today.

His wife, Cindy, traveled with him and likened the second campaign to an older child. "It feels like a more mature campaign," she said. "Like a second marriage."

"Deja vu all over again," McCain added, dribbling coleslaw down his chin.

He chatted with reporters nonstop inside the plush blue tour bus hilariously emblazoned with a "Straight Talk Express" logo. Inside were two couches, nine leather chairs and two booths, a kitchenette with a full-sized fridge, a half dozen flat screen TVs and a left-over Whitesnake groupie.

McCain met privately with Iowa legislators at the statehouse and then traveled through the state for a few question-and-answer sessions with potential voters, none of whom seemed particularly enthusiastic about voting for him.

In Ames, the former Vietnam prisoner of war told several hundred bored future Democrats that he is the most qualified to lead the country as it fights terrorism, if it ever, in fact, starts fighting terrorism. "I have the knowledge. I have the experience," McCain said, apparently referring to his proven ability to be shot down, captured and abused. Or he may have been referring to his Vietnam experiences.

McCain told the crowd: "One of the reasons why the Republicans lost the war--oops, excuse me! I meant to say lost the last election! Holy shit, what was I thinking? Anyway, it was because of spending so much money losing the war."

Later, he told reporters that he is "guardedly optimistic" that the United States will prevail in Iraq if we can just stay there until there's no one else left, and didn't mean to imply that the war was lost. "I'm sorry if I misspoke and accidentally told the truth."

National polls aside, McCain and Giuliani are in a competitive race in Iowa. A half dozen other Republican candidates competing in the state are in low single digits in the polls, probably because they're even worse pieces of shit than the front-runners.

Giuliani won't visit Iowa until next month and he has only a few staff members organizing in the state, prompting speculation that he may bypass Iowa the way McCain did in 2000, with similar results.

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