In case you didn’t read the news on-line, John McCain did what everybody expected.
He smiled, boarded a plane, and headed to Mississippi after all.
His altruistic publicity stunt didn’t help legislators complete the bailout, but it did help his campaign–sort of.
It portrayed McCain as a man (a Leader if you will) so indebted to his country, he’d let his own future go in jeopardy.
Though the story is no story—“Make no mistake: John McCain did not ‘suspend’ his campaign,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton—it was the lead everywhere—the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN and NPR to name a few.
McCain said he suspended his campaign—mind you not off-the-cuff, out-of-breath running to a helicopter, but rather from a carefully penned script off a teleprompter aimed to squeeze as much sweaty drama from his political socks as possible—but really what did he suspended?
He took 84 million in public financing and the Republic National Committee donates money to his campaign. Not a big sacrifice there.
Is there any better advertising than free advertising? Some news stories even hinted at ideas his commercials trumpet: John McCain: Patriotic, Unselfish, Great Leader.
(I’ll add: Politician).
But you have to give it to him. He snagged a great campaign manager: both stunts—this one and the Sarah Palin hiring—really wooed voters. Or at least tried to.