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Festivities are underway at the Arizona Biltmore hotel, the same spot where John McCain celebrated his Super Tuesday victories that led to his party’s nomination.

McCain 2008
Supporters watch early returns as they attend an election night rally for John McCain in Phoenix on Tuesday. (AP)

As of 9 p.m. EST, the Arizona senator remained at his condominium in Phoenix. The sprawling hotel was flooded with thousands of well-dressed supporters from all over the country.

With Obama’s electoral vote count widening, McCain’s supporters remained faithful. “We’re confident the `Mac is Back,’ as they say,” supporter Don Baker told the Associated Press.

It’s not hard to find where the speech will be delivered. Massive flood lights from the lawn beam up into the sky. The campaign’s signature star and “Country First” logo adorn everything in sight.

The location has particular significant for McCain–it is where he celebrated his marriage to wife, Cindy, 28 years ago.

But even the people who are here won’t necessarily get to see the speech in person. The majority of the audience will be in a huge ballroom, watching McCain’s remarks on a massive television screen. In the interim, a band is playing and the drinks are flowing.

McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, arrived in Arizona later than scheduled. Her staff and traveling press arrived around 8 p.m. EST, looking worn from the long flight to and from Alaska. Palin has returned to her home state to cast her ballot before joining McCain in Arizona.

Source: WSJ

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 Laughing it up - good old boys iron out the wrinkles in their relationship - after all wasn't it Rove who help defeat McCain's earlier bid for presidency - with the same tactics he's now trying to get McCain to use against Obama/Biden - you just get that feeling something is going to go wrong with this plan. It's that whole universe thing.

Laughing it up - good old boys iron out the wrinkles in their relationship - after all wasn't it Rove who help defeat McCain - with the same tactics he's now trying to get McCain to use against Obama/Biden - you just get that feeling something is going to go wrong with this plan. It's that whole universe thing. (AP Photo/CBS Face the Nation, Karin Cooper)

The half decent and (relatively) factual part of Rove’s speech/article was left out – that’s the way they always start – the following is where he thinks the McCain campaign should go – and how they should get there.

So much riding on Palin….I just had my own Rovian thought !!

Achilles was only as strong as his heel !!

>…>

McCain-Palin must deepen those doubts by pounding away on questions about Obama’s character, judgment and values. Drawing on Obama’s own record and statements, they need to paint him as a big spender, class warrior and cultural elitist; they need to say he’s never worked across party lines or gotten his hands dirty solving big issues. But the duo must also give voters reasons to support them. They must crystallize a positive, forward-looking vision so people who see Obama as unqualified have something to hang on to. It can’t be a laundry list of positions. McCain-Palin must offer a narrative about what they will do to help America see better days, especially on kitchen-table concerns.

McCain must launch these themes in the two remaining debates. Knockouts are welcome but unlikely and unnecessary. Introducing a theme and sticking to it day after day worked this past July, when McCain successfully depicted Obama as a celebrity taken with his own press notices. The GOP nominee did it right in the first debate when his assaults were formal and indirect (“Senator Obama has the most liberal voting record …”) while Obama was personal and direct (“John, 10 days ago you said …”).

McCain and Palin should also respond to key misstatements by Obama-Biden, but only to flip the discussion back to Obama’s own deficits. They should not chase rabbits: that would only occupy time better devoted to who can fix the big stuff broken in Washington and reach across the aisle to work for the American people by putting country first.

The election still favors Obama. But Sarah Palin’s debate performance, and the passage of the economic-rescue plan, may bookend a bad couple of weeks for McCain. He has a month to turn things around. It’s doable; but it won’t be easy.

Source: Newsweek