On the Sunday night before the last debate, McCain’s core group of advisers—Steve Schmidt, Rick Davis, adman Fred Davis, strategist Greg Strimple, pollster Bill McInturff and strategy director Sarah Simmons—met to decide whether to tell McCain that the race was effectively over, that he no longer had a chance to win. The consensus in the room was no, not yet, not while he still had “a pulse.”
Here is an excerpt from a phone call made by John McCain three days later – the morning of the big day …
When: October 15, 2:00 a.m. John McCain unable to sleep before his final debate with Obama dials his good ol’ buddy Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator of South Carolina …
J.M.: Lindsey, hey sorry to call so late I couldn’t sleep …
L.G.: No problem buddy. I’m just watching last season’s Dancin’ with the Stars on the ol’ TIVO.
J.M.: Did you figure out that VIVO thing yourself? You are good with the ol’ techno my friend. I’m going to make you my cyber czar. Look, Cindy helped me go on the Google and she found this interesting clip from an Obama rally: this plumber guy asked Obama how he’d do under his economic plan …
L.G.: He’d do friggen great, what else is new …
J.M.: No – get this, when he asks Obama how’d he do if he earned more than $250K – chicken scratch for us and from the look of this guy, not gonna happen, but anyway – Obama tells this Joe the Plumber that he might pay higher taxes but that it was okay because if he makes more he should “spread the wealth around.”
L.G.: Makes sense. We’ve supported that progressive tax stance since way before that asshole W. started on his tax cutting spree for those schmucks at Exxon and put the economy in the toilet.
J.M.: Yea, but don’t you see. Obama said “spread the wealth.” We could use that. I was thinking of dropping that on him at the debate: “Senator, why would you want to spread the wealth, sounds like Socialism to me!”
L.G.: Wow! That’s so cool – we’ve been looking for a way to get those corn pones in the “real America” to vote against their own interests. We lost guns, we’re losing on God even with Palin’s evident hotness, abortion is a wash. Maybe we could use this Plumber guy.
J.M.: Hold on. Let’s not make too big a deal about the guy, I’d rather focus on the words. Besides, we don’t have time to vet him. He could be a real nut job.
L.G.: Who cares? He can’t be worse than anything else we got. This Ayers thing has got no legs except among the racist wackos showing up at our puny events. And they probably’ll be too drunk on election day to even cast a vote.
J.M.: You’re right. I’m making the maverick decision. Let’s put this Joe character on every channel. Let Sarah tongue kiss him on the stump. Fuck it! We got nothing to lose at this point.
L.G.: Damn straight, brother … hey John …
J.M.: Yea, Lin.
L.G.: Between this Palin pick, the racist taunts, the suspension of the campaign so you can go to D.C. with no real economic plan, and you looking like a ghost of your former centrist self – it looks like we’re gonna lose this thing aren’t we?
J.M.: Put the fork in it, my friend. But, at least I got to piss off those Bush and Cheney assholes and sink his fuckin’ party into a shit hole that we probably won’t be able to crawl out of for at least 20 years.
L.G.: Ha! Revenge is sweet, my friend. Especially when served cold – you ol’ maverick! I haven’t had this much fun since I led the effort in Congress to impeach Clinton.
J.M.: Speaking of cold – is that Kristi Yamaguchi babe the hottest queen on ice or what! Forget Palin. Forget DWTS. I’d let her skate over me in all 7 of my houses! I’m gonna have a lot of time for entertaining once I get to cut loose again from the ol’ Cind-erella.