2007 was a lousy year for John McCain, who lost his status as the Republican presidential front-runner and saw huge chunks of his campaign staff walk out the door. But in 2008, his campaign manager Rick Davis points out, he's "the luckiest guy in American politics."
Let us count the ways: his chief rivals Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson all flamed out in the early primaries, leaving under-funded Mike Huckabee as McCain's last competitor. Huckabee has since quit the race--while Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continue to rip each other up in the Democratic nomination race that never ends. That gives McCain time to build his campaign staff, raise money, and reintroduce himself to the American people this spring.
Davis was smiling at his good fortune when I spoke to him this afternoon at the campaign's relatively spare headquarters in Arlington Virginia. He seemed little perturbed by McCain's gaffe in the Mideast, when the senator confused Sunni and Shia extremists on a trip meant to burnish his foreign policy credentials; McCain dismissed it as a slip of the tongue.
The most important advantage he's reaping right now is that his better-funded Democratic rivals are depleting their financial advantage on an internal fight. We discussed that and other issues--from Obama's "race speech" to the new electoral map--in our interview.
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